G7 Agriculture: Marc Fesneau’s Trip To Japan

From April 22 to 23, 2023, Marc Fesneau, Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty took part in the meeting of G7 agricultural ministers which was held in Miyazaki in Japan, an agricultural region, known in particular for its beef and mangoes from quality. The G7 summit brings together Germany, Canada, the United States, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the European Commission each year with a rotating presidency, held by Japan in 2023.

In a context still marked by the war in Ukraine and the more structural crisis linked to climate change which have a strong impact on food systems, Japan organized the exchanges around five sequences relating respectively to a dialogue with young people, a dialogue with the sector privacy, food security, sustainability and innovation.

During the sequence on food security, the ministers, in the virtual presence of the Ukrainian minister, once again strongly condemned the illegal, unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression waged by Russia against Ukraine, reaffirmed their solidarity with Ukraine, and are committed to the reconstruction of this country. Considering the impact of this conflict for global food security affecting in particular the most vulnerable countries, they recognized the importance of the agreement concluded under the aegis of the United Nations which secures the export of Ukrainian cereals via several Black Sea ports (Black Sea Grains Initiative) and called for the renewal and full implementation of this agreement. They also recalled the importance of the land solidarity corridors set up by the European Union.

Three Priorities to Meet Current Challenges And Issues

Ministers agreed that all countries face the same challenges, namely reconciling food security, the fight against climate change and the preservation of resources and biodiversity. They also shared their visions and the solutions implemented to meet the challenges of food insecurity and the necessary transition towards more resilient and sustainable food systems. Their interventions echoed the three priorities of the presidency:

Promote resilient and sustainable food supply chains that meet country needs in the short, medium and long term. Ministers recognized the importance of maintaining/promoting i) local production, which does not, however, dispense with the necessary commercial exchanges ii) diversification of production and supplies, while respecting available natural resources and within the framework of an open, fair, transparent, predictable market based on the rules of the WTO (World Trade Organization).
Put in place operational solutions to reinforce the sustainable growth of productivity and production. Ministers recalled the international commitments made to foster the transformation towards more resilient and sustainable food systems, thus contributing to the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss. They stressed the importance of the “One Health” approach and the need to produce more, in a sustainable way, to respond to food insecurity through i) the implementation of innovations (see below), subject to that they are adapted to local contexts and to the issue of sustainability, ii) the promotion of sustainable agricultural practices, respectful of resources such as agroecology and iii) the fight against losses and waste. The ministers recognize the need to support farmers in this regard through agricultural policies and appropriate measures to ensure income from their activities. They also stress the importance of properly informing the consumer about how food is produced, processed and distributed.
Promote innovation in all these forms and the necessary inclusion of the private sector to achieve the objectives and achieve these transformations. Ministers recalled the importance of innovation, both through the development of new technologies and the operational implementation of new and existing sustainable technologies and practices. They highlighted the role of innovation as an attractive factor for young people and any stakeholder wishing to get involved in agriculture. In this context, they highlighted the role of the private sector as a factor in the dissemination and acceleration of sustainable innovation.
The ministers recalled the major role of farmers in feeding the population and facing climate challenges, and the need to support them, through agricultural policies adapted to meet these challenges, which requires strengthening cooperation between G7 members. and with relevant international organizations.

Marc Fesneau Recalled The Strategic Nature of Agriculture

Marc Fesneau expressed France’s strongest condemnation of Russian aggression in Ukraine and reiterated our full support for the reconstruction of this country. He called for strengthening the exit routes for cereals from Ukraine, especially on land. He highlighted the objective of producing enough and better, that is to say ensuring access for all to healthy, diversified, balanced food, in sufficient quantity and at an affordable price, by allowing farmers to earn a decent income from their work. Marc Fesneau recalled the necessary transition towards more resilient and sustainable food systems, which can only be achieved by ensuring fair remuneration for farmers and by supporting them. He also highlighted the geopolitical strategic nature of agriculture and the need for strong and responsive agricultural policies as well as open and rules-based trade. All of this makes it possible to ensure a country’s food sovereignty, which is not about turning in on itself but about controlling its dependencies.

Marc Fesneau also highlighted the need for innovation in all its forms, including technology, digitization, varietal selection, particularly through NGT (New Genomic Techniques), agroecological practices, as well as social innovation. He indicated that the innovation approach, serving the sustainability of food systems, is an important part of the law on agricultural orientation and future in preparation in France. It also highlighted the training/research/transfer continuum which is a key element in the dynamics of innovation and transformation of production systems. All these elements are levers of attractiveness that must be used to ensure the renewal of generations. In this sense, he congratulated the Japanese high school students for their commitment and the three proposals they made: act to no longer impact the environment, communicate to promote the link between producers and consumers, and promote the link between food and culture. . Marc Fesneau underlined that dialogue with young people is more necessary than ever to inform the choice of policies and give young people the desire to work in this sector.

Finally, throughout this G7, he highlighted the importance of international cooperation in agriculture by meeting the leaders of the World Food Program – WFP, the FAO (United Nations Food Food and Agriculture), the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development – IFAD.

A Joint Communiqué From The G7 Agricultural Ministers

At the end of this meeting, and echoing the exchanges, the ministers adopted a press release with an appendix entitled “Miyazaki Actions” which presents the main work to which the ministers are committed (see documents to download below). This press release carries an ambitious message which, according to the Japanese presidency, will feed into the declaration of the heads of state and government of the G7, whose meeting is scheduled for mid-April in Hiroshima.

This article is originally published on agriculture.gouv.fr

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.