10 years of agroecology to save Europe, the IDDRI study


Balanced diets and sustainable food supply chains, dream or reality? Europe’s transition to agroecology and organic could actually be achieved in about ten years, according to IDDRI(Institut pour le Développement Durable et les Relations Internationales).

Protecting human health and the environment, save climate and biodiversity. Neither politics nor petitions or ‘‘Fridays For Future’, you have to eat differently. More fiber, more seasonal vegetables and fruits, less animal protein. ConsumAtors, as always, are the main characters. Dietary evolution may allow for a reduction in plant protein imports (e.g. soybean, legumes) and feed the entire population of Europe. To ‘sustain sustainability

, increasingly


, #IoVotocolPortfolio.

Agroecology in Europe in 2050, a possible scenario

An Agroecological Europe

In 2050: multifunctional agriculture for healthy food.‘. The study by the independent IDDRI institute presents a scenario showing how it is possible to convert the entire European agriculture to the organic method. Thanks to ‘

Ten Years For Agroecology In Europe

. (1)

It takes 10 years’

, the researchers explain, ‘
not to fully achieve agroecology in Europe in this time frame, but to launch a movement that will make this a credible prospect
‘. The study therefore shows how this transition ‘is not only desirable but also credible. A debate and a new strategic area are opened, [anche] in the policy‘.

Phasing out

of pesticides

and synthetic fertilizers, extension of agro-ecological infrastructure (ex. Hedges, trees, ponds, strips of wildlife) and healthier food diets underlie the transition. Production may reduce in quantity but improve, in nutritional quality and socio-environmental performance.

Despite a decrease

in production by 35% compared to 2010 (in kcal), this scenario
meets the food needs of all Europeans while maintaining the ability to export grains, dairy products and wine. Reduces agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent compared to 2010, restores biodiversity, and protects natural resources‘.

The transition of the agricultural and food system can thus respond to the most concrete and current needs:

– nourish health, with a reversal of ‘increasingly unbalanced diets‘ driving the advance of obesity even childish, diabetes and cardiovascular disease,

– preserving biodiversity

, to which the FAO recently devoted an extensive report.

, and natural resources,

Mitigating climate change.

, with respect to which large-scale industrialized agriculture remains a major factor.

IDDRI study, the focal points

The agribusiness system

is not sustainable in the medium term, even in the Old Continent. ‘

Although we produce a lot in Europe, we eat too much and our diets are unbalanced in relation to the nutritional recommendations of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the World Health Organization (WHO)’

. Hyper-production, systemic waste And unbalanced consumption.

An Agro-Ecological Europe

Can meet the balanced food needs of 530 million Europeans by 2050‘. No risk to Europeans’ nutritional needs if they switch to a healthy diet in line with Efsa and WHO recommendations. Nor any renunciation of traditional foods related to the land, including meat and wine. Only, the consumption of foods of animal origin should be reduced, giving priority to quality. And especially less added sugar, more fiber, generally more vegetables and fruits in season.

The ‘

food security

‘ – that is, the security of the food supply and thus the availability of healthy and nutritious food for all – was in turn the subject of a recent FAO report

. And it can even better come from agro-ecology, with a view to, among other things, reducing imports of non-EU legumes and grains (and thus, demand for products that come from often unsustainable supply chains). Reserves can then be built up, which are very useful in situations of extreme volatility of prices and/or food crises.

Health and environment, a possible utopia. The tasks of policy

The scenario proposed by IDDRI

is certainly consistent with the needs shown in the UN report ‘

The State of the World In 2050

‘. I ‘Sustainable Development Goals‘ (SDGs) set for 2030 are a long way off and getting further and further away, particularly with regard to eliminating extreme poverty and undernutrition That goes with it.

An ideal archetypal vision

for 2050

‘ can therefore be translated into reality provided that the synergies essential to promote equitable and sustainable supply chains are activated from the outset

. With pressure from below consumers and policy input.

Policy European must free itself from the burden of the lobby by Big Food and the Big 4, to work seriously on three fronts:

1) stimulate #change

of nutritional profiles

of junk food

With cogent measures. The ultra-processed foods

, when they qualify as HFSS (

High Fats, Sugar and Sodium

), they must be subjected to:

  • taxes on sugar (as well as sodium, in products that contain it) and fat. The sure effect of such a measure is to force operators to improve the recipe, as seen with sugary drinks England,

  • Bans on sales in places frequented by minors and young people, and in their proximity (e.g., schools

    , sports and recreational facilities),

  • Drastic supply limits in vending machines

    (e.g., no more than 5 percent) than healthy foods,

  • drastic ban on advertising and all forms of ‘marketing to kids‘, including on ‘social media‘, in relation to HFSS foods,

2) establish a summary nutrition information scheme on the label, with color codes to help consumAtors distinguish ‘good everyday’ foods from those to be consumed in exceptional circumstances and homeopathic quantities. The NutriScore model, already adopted in neighboring France and Spain, turns out to be ideal for Italy as well,

3) intervene in the value chain in the agri-food supply chain and the socio-economic issues involved. Through measures to promote:

  • fair remuneration

    of farmers engaged in sustainable production,

  • incentives to conversion to the organic method, given its distinctive and essential role in mitigating climate change is preserving ecosystems. Instead of polluting groundwater and endangering public health with agrotoxics,
  • access to food healthy and natural to those sections of the population living in disadvantaged conditions through appropriate social assistance and welfare measures. Such measures must be secured throughout the European Union to reaffirm the basic human right to food. A right already enshrined by the United Nations, which has even dedicated a Special Rapporteur to it, which, however, allegedly ‘civilized’ countries continue to ignore.

Aligning policies agricultural, commercial, food, health and environmental will not be easy. Ma ‘This is the challenge of the Common Agricultural Policy.‘, recalls the IDDRI study. Emphasizing how already in the past decades agricultural production has undergone major transformations that were at first not even imaginable.

The assumed scenario moreover does not ‘rain from the sky’ but rather expresses the resultant, vector sum of all forces of thought and social movements oriented toward the common good. Those who object to the use of GMOs and pesticides are concerned about food health, climate change, and animal welfare. Just like us and most of our readers.


Dario Dongo and Sabrina Bergamini


(1) ‘IDDRI, ‘An agroecological Europe in 2050: multifunctional agriculture for healthy eating. Findings from the Ten Years For Agroecology (TYFA) modelling exercise.

(2) FAO, ‘
The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture.


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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.