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Food Security, Food Chains and Bioenergy Challenges for a Sustainable Development Environment

Listed author(s):
  • Carvalho, Pacheco de
  • Bernardo, M.T.
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    Food system dynamics worldwide are under a new paradigm. Energy supply based on renewable natural resources is now a necessary solution, where agri-business can play an important role, and food systems will have to interact worldwide with new competitors for land and agriculture activity. The argument in this paper is based on the evidence that innovation and technology changes in food production (agricultural production) can offer a sustainable supply of grain and biomass, when demand behaviour is consistent and very flexible (demand elasticity above 1). The main argument is based on the hypothesis that demand behaviour is the main driver in food systems, which can be observed looking at technical and technological changes in production systems in Europe and elsewhere, such as Latin America, and more specifically Brazil. Economic surplus distribution across the food chain is another key factor for the induced innovation process to occur dynamically in food and agricultural production, based on well functioning markets such as the international markets (elastic demand for most countries). Science will face a new industry demand for solutions on the production side that are able to provide sustainability and supply increases that have to support empowerment of the primary sector to help producers capture surplus created by new technology possibilities, and “new demands”. Technological changes will occur quickly enough to avoid strong changes in prices if, and only if, producers are able to look at new opportunities with conditions (and sufficient time) to improve their business (and share on economic surplus). Institutional innovation is another key factor in the food system, and should also provide capability to create value to a set of intangible goods provided by the primary sector, giving space for a multi-functionality perspective on the primary sector activity, such as environment and sustainability considerations. The first factor to be considered is certainly the market functioning, because food production traditionally suffers from market problems, which began with the characteristics of the products, space diversity, conservation problems, and production seasonality (to mention only the most obvious). Other considerations related with the environment, and non tangible goods, such as the landscape dimension (and other dimensions on man’s relationship with nature), will continue to deserve new initiatives to improve the Quality of Life.

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    Paper provided by European Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 110th Seminar, February 18-22, 2008, Innsbruck-Igls, Austria with number 49884.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2008
    Handle: RePEc:ags:eea110:49884
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