Food for a Transforming Society - Global Food Summit November 2017 in Berlin
The Global Food Summit takes place on November 29 and 30, 2017 in Berlin, in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley, and Wageningen University, and invites numerous experts from research, business, and politics to discuss solutions for future challenges facing the global food economy.
“There are many examples which impressively prove that scientists in German public and private researchinstitutions are pioneers of Life Sciences. In contrast, the use of novel technologies in Germany’s Biotechindustry is often hampered by excessive regulative hurdles and lack of public acceptance. Transparency inwhat is going on in Biotech laboratories; understandable communication and early engagement of societyare therefore an urgent need to bring Germany’s and Europe’s Biotech industry into the forefront”, explains Dr. Michael Metzlaff, Vice President Science Relations at Bayer AG, in his presentation at the Global Food Summit in Berlin, November 29 and 30, 2017.
That Germany does not have to hide in research, but is overregulated in the food sector, with this message, the participants of the Global Food Summit meet the Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Maria Flachsbarth, on the evening of November 29 in the Parliamentary Society in Berlin.
In her greeting speech, Dr. Maria Flachsbarth underlines the importance of innovation and sustainable agriculture in order to feed a growing world population, around 10 billion by 2050, in the long term.
Kostas Stamoulis, assistant director of the FAO, emphasizes in his speech the central role of a more effective and modern agriculture, which is necessary to establish food security especially in the Global South.
Samuel Sternberg from the USA and Mahmoud El-Solh from Lebanon present two possible solutions: Samuel Sternberg, a biochemist from Columbia University, illustrates the advantages and disadvantages of the gene scissor CRISPR / Cas-9 as a very simple and cost-effective solution. This method also gives the Global South access to effective research and implementation in the agricultural sector. Mahmoud El-Solh, former director of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Syria, shows how agricultural yields can increase by up to 70 percent when farmers draw on the diversity of the ICARDA gene database. The consensus on the closing podium is that politics plays a key role in addressing the challenges of the global food economy in a sustainable way.
Thorsten König, head of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT Food) in Brussels, gives the keynote speech at the beginning of the second day of the Global Food Summit on 30 November 2017. He calls on the food industry to be more transparent and society to be more open to innovation. Only an open dialogue between politics, business and society enables start-ups and new research results to be connected to the market and thus guarantees the future viability of the European food industry.
In his speech, Professor Michael Hüther, director of the Cologne Institute for Economic Research, emphasizes that Germany is well-placed in the digitalisation field. "We do not have Google, but are wonderfully digitized in the B2B business. That's our Industry 4.0. "
This afternoon, speakers such as Chinese Jingang Shi from EPC, Timo Bongartz from Osram, Fabian Riedel from Crusta Nova, as well as Baris Özel and Max Kultscher from Bugfoundation will introduce innovative projects and products.
Clean Meat, CRISPR, Personalized Food or Nutriceutical - these are key technologies of the future. While US biotech companies are constantly setting new records in stock market launches and financing volumes, the German biotech industry marks time for more than a decade. For comparison, Germany was happy about 505 million euros in funding in 2016 while at the same time in the USA around 7.7 billion dollars of venture capital was invested.
Europe and Germany need to rethink to keep pace: Innovations in the food sector can no longer be borne by individual companies alone, but need networks of research institutions, scientist and cooperating companies along the entire process chain.
This global, socio-technological transformation process has to be accompanied by a public discourse in order to guarantee the acceptance and implementation of the research results. This is the only way to feed nine billion people sustainably in the future.