The seminar ‘Feeding the future’, hosted by Yara, was arranged in Finland to discuss how global challenges such as food security and climate change affect the entire food chain.
"In addition to bringing a global point of view into the local discussion, the target of the seminar was to increase awareness of how agriculture can be part of the solution to global challenges. Yara is making this a key part of its strategy," says Yara Finland Country Manager Tero Hemmilä, the host of the event.
Helsinki, traditionally a historical crossroad between East and West, became a global focal point, embracing topics covering South and North as well.
Finlandia Hall was crowded with 140 participants representing farmers, food industry, authorities, political decision makers, environmental organizations, distributors, various interest groups, research institutes and media. The day’s agenda was divided into three parts - starting with a global and European view on how megatrends affect the food chain. The second part focused on Finnish agriculture as part of the global food chain, and the final part concentrated on future visions and solutions.
Yara’s President and CEO, Jørgen Ole Haslestad, alongside Joachim Lammel, Yara’s R&D Director, were speakers at the event. Jørgen Ole Haslestad addressed the gathering on the subject of 'Making local solutions supporting global challenges ' while Joachim Lammel took on the topic of 'Solutions and visions for a productive and sustainable agriculture'.
Other prominent speakers and attendees at the seminar were Senior Rabobank Analyst Harry Smit, Pekka Pesonen, Secretary General of the European farmers interest organization Copa Cogeca, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Director General Veli-Pekka Talvela, President of the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners Juha Marttila, and Matti Rihko, CEO of major Finnish food industry company Raisio.
The seminar was marked by active participation, with many questions from the floor and interesting discussions between audience and speakers. The seminar had a Twitter feed, with the hashtag #feedingthefuture, resulting in numerous tweets discussing and sharing the subjects presented on stage in Helsinki.
"Even if we have heard many different angles during the day, the presentations have had some main points in common," said Tero Hemmilä in closing. "Whether we talk from a global, European or local view, we all agree that agriculture needs to be productive, environmentally sustainable and cost-effective. Also, many of the solutions mentioned were agreed upon: we need to focus on research and development, innovations, best farming practices as well as a deeper cooperation within the food chain and between the public and private sector."