Agriculture is the most fundamental and ancient activity that propelled human civilization as we know it today.
Before agriculture, there were modern humans, but they formed groups of hunters and gatherers, and they didn’t build cities or empires. Agriculture is perceived by many as a very conservative activity. However, it has been over time characterized by a rate of innovation that was necessary in order to be able to feed the populations. And of course, the population was statistically speaking exactly equal to the amount of calories that the level of technology could produce at a given time. Because if you had more people, and not enough calories, there would be starvation and death. This kind of cycle of overshooting population that will then go back to sustainable levels has characterized human civilization for thousands of years.
During the 20th century agriculture advanced to the point of being able to feed everyone on the planet. The next challenge is to do so sustainably and with an increasing biodiversity.
A few days ago I keynote and moderated the opening meeting of the new Think Tank Farm To Fork, that aims to spread the knowledge about advanced technologies in agriculture, especially in view of the new Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union, that embodies those two goals.
The EU is one of the largest markets in the world, and its policies influence technologies, and practices that go well beyond its borders. Getting the incentives right has a profound impact on all of the uses, the environment, and the planet.