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Extensive plantations, GMOs and bio-fuels in Eastern Europe: food security and safety at stake

by Michele Tempera

Abstract

Food security and food safety are two concepts, both taken into growing consideration by all governments of the world, especially in sight of rising food prices and increasingly unpredictable weather events. Eastern Europe is no exception along this pattern and the political representatives of the area are committed to face the challenge represented by the consequences of the two concepts.
In fact eastern Europe is a region that enjoys large allotments of fertile land and is traditionally tied to agriculture. These are characteristics that are able to bring the nations in the area considered to the forefront of the upcoming economic opportunities which are clearly visible in the short term in the agricultural sector. We will analyze three of them: the GM crops, the intensive and industrialized plantations and the production of bio-fuels.
All of them are generally supported by the national governments, even though exist significant differences in the willingness to give the green light to such projects among the east European executives and civil societies. On one hand, food security can be understood as the need of a nation to have a sufficient amount of commodities to feed its population in every season of the year and under all weather conditions.
This has been one of the major worries experienced by humankind throughout its history and has been overcome for only in the last forty years in western Europe. On the other hand, food safety can be intended as the qualitative, nourishing properties and healthiness of the food at hand for the people living in a country or a region.
This notion is of particular importance nowadays more than in the past because of the progressive depletion of food quality experienced by the European society after the industrialization of food-production and the rising level of pollution in the environment as a whole. Both of these ideas must be inscribed in a long-run time-line: they must be valid in the present as well as in the future, with a realistic certainty that they will be reliable with improved or unchanged characteristics regardless of unplanned social and natural phenomenon.
Food security and safety will be at risk in eastern Europe if some of the latest developments in finance and international economy will prevail over health and environment oriented agriculture.
Eastern Europe is facing some essential challenges inside this framework, which are tightly connected to the agricultural sector and the new tendencies it is facing.
The three components highlighted (GMOs, extensive plantations and bio-fuels) can greatly weaken east European food security and food safety in the medium and long term. What is more climate change and its increasingly hard consequences on weather and thus on the environment and human life, is accelerating the destructive impact of the elements cited above.

Original title: Extensive plantations, GMOs and bio-fuels in Eastern Europe: food security and safety at stake

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