The EU Ranks as the World's Biggest Net Importer of Agricultural Produce While Neglecting Critical Investment in Agricultural Research

By Humboldt Forum For Food And Agriculture E. V., PRNE
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

International Competition for Agricultural Production Land is Rising Dramatically

BERLIN, October 13, 2010 - The food situation in poor countries continues to deteriorate. On World
Food Day, October 16th, the number of starving people worldwide will have
reached a staggering 925 million.

"Even assuming the very best possible scenario, the poorest nations will
fail by a wide margin to produce enough food to feed their own populations
over the coming decades," says Harald von Witzke, President of the Humboldt
Forum for Food and Agriculture. "This rapidly growing shortfall can only be
met if richer nations are able to produce and export more food. So far, the
EU has turned a blind eye to this looming crisis. Despite the urgent need for
immediate action, this important issue has received little or no publicity."

Von Witzke believes that the EU has neglected critical investment in
agricultural research for far too long. In the meantime, it has become the
world's biggest net importer of agricultural produce. This means that in
order to meet its own demand for food, natural fibres, bio-energy and other
agricultural products, the EU uses a virtual land area in other countries of
about 35 million hectares, equivalent to the size of Germany. The last ten
years alone have seen net EU imports from virtual agricultural land increase
by 10 million hectares.

"The EU has become a huge virtual land-user outside of its own
territory," says von Witzke. He points out that this expansion of land by the
EU overseas is leading to deforestation and contributing to climate change.

"We must collectively demand that the EU fully commits to innovation and
high productivity in agriculture. This is vital if we are to eradicate
hunger, make a stand against climate change, and maintain natural habitats."

About HFFA

The Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture is a leading Berlin-based
think tank in global agriculture, bringing together a unique group of
internationally recognised experts from science, civil society and industry.
Its goal is to develop scientific-based policy recommendations for the future
of global food and agriculture.

    Prof. h. c. Harald von Witzke
    Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture e. V.
    Phone: +49-30-2093-6233
    Mobile: +49-177-400-1187

Contact: Prof. h. c. Harald von Witzke, Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture e. V., hvwitzke at, Phone: +49-30-2093-6233, Mobile: +49-177-400-1187

will not be displayed