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International Food and Agribusiness Management Association

IFAMA Europe

The European contribution to solving sustainability challenges in a changing agrifood landscape: a strategic role in bringing together research, business and policy makers


Context

Agrifood is an important contributor to European wellbeing as well as to its social and cultural heritage. Food is vital to human health and wellbeing in a way that the products of other industries are not. As such, this remains the quintessential reason why we attach such profound significance to it. The sector represents a breeding ground for regional stakeholders and business investments. It attracts large sums from private financial actors, commercial banks and private foundations that search continuously for new investment opportunities. New actors are also increasingly involved in the emerging agrifood value chains: new farmers’ organizations, new cooperatives, start-up companies as well as multinational enterprises and state-owned companies. However, the food landscape is changing fast.

Sustainability issues combined with rapid technological developments greatly influence the agrifood sector. Collaboration and innovation in the agrifood value chains are essential in facing global challenges, maintaining a strong global market position and contributing to a healthy and sustainable world population.

IFAMA Europe: a strategic and integrative approach of sustainability issues in agrifood sectors

IFAMA is a multistakeholder organization that brings together academia, government and enterprises in a dedicated triple helix approach to enable the European agrifood sector to provide the world with adequate and nutritious food and related technologies by stimulating research and creating cross-over connections with other industries. IFAMA Europe is to formulate a strategic and integrative approach, a Triple Helix of: Research — Business — Institution grounded with an innovation agenda to help solve the sustainability challenges facing agrifood sectors.

IFAMA Europe highlights four European challenges to which an integrative approach of sustainability could make a valuable contribution to finding solutions:

  • Agrifood product as an essential prerequisite for vitality and healthy living.
  • Sustainable agrifood systems and closing the loop in a circular economy.
  • The power of big data to fuel efficient agrifood value chains.
  • Human capital, indispensable in a changing world.

IFAMA Europe and its challenges for business leaders and policy makers

Agriculture and the food business are mayor employers worldwide and are important pillars of social communities. They influence our well-being by producing, trading, preparing and sharing food. The tension between the fast growth of the world population and the current limits of sustainable food production to guarantee food security around the world is a real challenge. Rapid technological developments and research offer multiple solutions. IFAMA Europe can play a significant role in the development of solutions for these global challenges. This also offers an opportunity to retain a stable share in the global food market.

The ‘jobs of the future’ in sustainable agrifood value chains are related to themes like robotics, big data, 3D printing and new logistic solutions in the circular economy. Innovation and technology are key, so highly educated technological employees are required. Presumably companies in agrifood value chains will demand ‘21st century skills and knowledge’.

Main objectives of IFAMA Europe for training: links with academia and young professionals
  • Development, transfer and accessibility of new and advanced knowledge and solutions for the provision of skilled staff with updated, relevant competences.
  • Enhancing the attractiveness of working in agrifood business for (young) professionals.
  • Enhancing the attractiveness of technology-based education and stimulating schools through to universities to develop education programmes fitting the ‘21st century skills and knowledge’ for sustainable agrifood businesses.
  • Identifying and overcoming the barriers that influence the appeal of the food and agribusiness industry to young people in various regions, from primary school through to university.
  • Identifying the educational changes required to enhance the flow of high quality talent into a sustainable agrifood industry. 


    IFAMA EUROPE TEAM: Click on photo to read full bio

       
      Xavier F.S.M. Gellynck
      Ghent University
    BELIGIUM
                     
    Karen Hamann  
    IFAU
    DENMARK
          
    Maryem Cherni-Aloui    
    Institut Polytechnique UniLaSalle
    FRANCE
     

     Constantine Iliopoulos
     University of Athens
    GREECE


    Maeve Henchion
    Teagasc
    IRELAND

        
       Joanna Wiśniewska-Paluszak
       Poznan University of Life Sciences
    POLAND

         

    Ana Costa
    Universidade Católica Portuguesa
    PORTUGAL


    Mirela-Adriana Rusali 
    Romanian Academy
    ROMANIA

            
         
Contact

Loïc Sauvée, Chair and head of InTerACT Research Unit, UniLaSalle, FRANCE loic.sauvee@unilasalle.fr

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