The 2017 GFFA was dedicated to the issue of water, a particularly vital resource for the agricultural sector. Because it is only if agriculture has sufficient clean water that it will be able to fulfil its role as a major supplier of food and ensure food supplies for the growing world population. However, the competition over this unique resource is becoming increasingly fierce. There are many reasons for this: rapid economic development, steady growth of the world population, climate change and also changes in lifestyles and eating habits.
The GFFA discussions therefore focused on what contribution agriculture could make to the sustainable stewardship of water. For while on the one hand agriculture requires adequate access to water, agriculture is on the other hand the largest user of water and therefore has a responsibility to manage this resource sustainably. This includes, for example, both the cultivation of drought-resistant crops and the international exchange about watersaving agricultural production methods such as precision farming.
GFFA again succeeded in being a platform both for discussion and above all for information, facilitating the sharing and development of knowledge.
The political highlight of the GFFA was the 9th Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Conference, which was attended by 83 Ministers of Agriculture – a record high. Together with high-level representatives from the European Commission, FAO and other international organisations, the Ministers agreed on a Communiqué that put equal emphasis on the responsibility and needs of the agricultural sector, whilst reflecting the outcome of the previous days’ discussions.
At the same time, the Communiqué served the G20 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting, which was hosted under the German presidency on the day after the GFFA, as a basis for the jointly adopted Action Plan. At the G20 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting, we succeeded in further specifying the recommendations for action formulated in the GFFA Communiqué.
As in previous years, the proactive support and committed cooperation of many actors were once again absolutely central in ensuring the GFFA’s success. This includes, above all, the international organisations, the panel members, the organisers of the expert panels and also the exhibitors at the Cooperation Market. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all of them.
I hope you find this website a stimulating read and would be delighted to welcome you again to the GFFA in 2018.
With best regards,
Christian Schmidt, Member of the German Bundestag
Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture