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World Ag Congress : World Ag Congress
20 World Agricultural Forum 2009 Congress Q: Food production depends on nature, but nature depends heavily on the managers who are managing the countryside. To ensure management of natural resources, food and environment securities have to be integrated. Is this achievable? A (Kuklierius): Regarding land management, it is essential for countries to implement different policies and to overcome obstacles along the way to reach the goals of the Millennium Summit 2000 that was held by the United Nations. Implementation of good land policy in my country is the basic instrument for initiating economic growth, to help overcome hunger and poverty, to enable the security of Lithuania and to introduce formal land ownership structures. Growing environmental concern calls for economy of scope involving new products, new concepts of production and new services. Unfortunately, a big number of farmers have not been able to adapt sufficiently and on time to this rapidly changing economic environment. As a result, large areas of agricultural land have no longer been cultivated or managed in recent years, a process generally referred to as land abandonment. The results include degradation of land and landscapes, loss of biodiversity, loss of capital and increased risk of wildfires. This further increases emigration and marginalization of rural areas, potentially degrading in a vicious cycle.In my country of Lithuania, for example, we recently introduced a new tax system of land taxes so the owner of abandoned land has to pay increased tax and, parallel to this measure, we are establishing a land fund or land bank, as we call it. In many countries, land consolidation is seen as a relevant instrument to solve this problem. The output of land consolidation can be improved substantially when combined with the land fund or the land bank. The input in the exchange process will increase the speed of the projects. It will help farmers to develop viable farm sites, and it will ensure that land is available for public purposes. This land bank or land fund will be combined very well with other world development measures just to diminish the amount of that land that we have, especially in Central and Eastern European countries. Q: You were leading the policy where the European Union has introduced the coupling --- the support from production and giving freedom to react to the mar- kets to the farmers. You have introduced the first environment and concerns with cross-complaints. What is your position? A (Pirzio Biroli): The objective of sustainable food is to be reached primarily through environmental regulation, and the environmental regulation involves costs to farmers. That is a problem. Without some support or extra support, how are they going to pay for the costs? Either the market pays for them, or there is support from the public sector. Farmer 's have an interest, I think, not to oppose, but to accompany the shift of attention towards the back of finishing the public goods, in particular, the ecosystem services they produce, and demand payment for the related bene- fits if the market doesn't pay for them. There are two ways out. Either one finds a method to attach an attractive price to these public resources, so that we operate the market and have them developed by farmers. Or, if one does not know how to do it, or want to do it, or cannot do it, then they should provide for payments for public goods in the context of the various agricultural policies. WAF LAND MANAGMENT AND FOOD SECURITY --- AN ESSENTIAL LINK Mindaugas Kuklierius, Vice-Minister of Agriculture, Republic of Lithuania and Corrado Pirzio Biroli, Former Head of Cabinet, European Commission on Agriculture Q & A SESSION WITH THEIRRY de L'ESCAILLE, ELO, BRUSSELS, MODERATOR TAKE-AWAY INSIGHTS FROM ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION "Land grab is an issue and when you have investors coming in the name of free trade, taking everything out, and there is no one who benefits locally from it, it is a time bomb." "On the one hand, we want to commercialize agriculture on a chief scale and employ the best technology and the best knowledge to make serious agribusiness and improve productivity gigantically versus develop the existing farm structure, which is a small, older structure, but moderate the rate of outflow. What is the balance of those two things that we are seeking?" Theirry de L'Escaille