In February, the association PeaceBread (Friedensbrot e. V.) received an invitation of the Ministry of Agriculture to join the 3rd International Agroforum Mare Balticum as an observer. Following a decision of the association’s board, members of the PeaceBread office Marion and Gibfried Schenk travelled to Tartu.
The objective of the Agroforum is to unite efforts of decision makers on political, administrative, research and producers associations’ levels of the Baltic Sea region, as well as the EU Eastern Partnership and the Eurasian Customs Union countries in order to address central issues of strategic development, to draw public attention to issues of greatest relevance and to enhance cooperation between policy makers, scientists and sector representatives of the region.
Keynote speakers represented FAO, OECD, European Commission, Council of the Baltic Sea States, Eurasian Customs Union and China. Presentations from Germany were given by Dr Gaby-Fleur Böl (Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, Berlin) about “Risks with Food” and Prof Dr Dr Harald von Witzke (Humboldt University, Berlin) on “The Value of Modern Agriculture to Society”. The presentation of the Minister of Agriculture of Ukraine Mr Aleksei Pavlenko about “Main Elements of the Reform Made by the New Government of Ukraine in the Agro-Food Sector, Including Strengthening of International Co-operation” was one of the highlights of the conference.
Presentations given by representatives of the Estonian University of Life Sciences Prof David R. Arney (Animal Welfare and Food Quality) and Prof Mait Kriipsalu (Wasting of Food; Extremely Strict “External” Quality Requirements for the Food and Feed Industries) were equally impressive.
The event included discussions on the keynote topics as well as round table discussions in different groups: for ministers and senior officials (efficiency on food and energy sustainability), for researchers (contribution of research to food and energy sustainability), and for sector representatives (efficient use of agricultural resources).
Presentations are available at http://agroforum.emu.ee/program/video-recording.
The programme was completed by receptions of the Mayor of the City of Tartu, and of the Principal of the University of Life Sciences, Tartu, as well as an excellent guided tour at night-time by the A.Le Coq Brewery, Tartu.
At the end of the conference, participants were able to participate in the opening of the Maamess Agricultural Fair.
The high-quality conference and the appealing supporting programme were a worthy contribution to international understanding in a politically tense situation.