sProfessor Decuypere believes it is important to philosophize in time to look at things differently. During the poultry seminar, he philosophized over the past 50 years in the agricultural sector and what the future of the sector could look like if we moved away from a free market system in food supply.
Change of production model
Decuypers are convinced that poultry and other livestock could live longer if today’s production model were different. He is also convinced that it is possible to practice sustainable agriculture and get an equal income as a farmer.
“To achieve these goals, we need to enter a whole new era,” Decuypere explains. “Specialization, mechanization and upscaling have a greater impact on the environment than we originally thought.
Sustainable agriculture is now more important than ever because we must be able to continue to produce high-quality and sufficient food for Flanders and, by extension, Europe. Caring for the environment starts with agriculture, because the environment for the most part consists of agriculture.
With today’s production model, agriculture will not be able to continue for long because a farmer must have a full, equal income. That income has only declined in recent years, making it even harder to invest in sustainable agriculture.
He places the solutions on 3 pillars: 1) technology, 2) the awareness of producers and consumers and 3) a better and more government. “We need to start by putting people less centrally,” Decuypere explains. “Never before has one species been so crucial in the long run with regard to all plant and animal species in the world, with regard to all ecosystems and with regard to the use of raw materials. This dominance will ultimately be harmful and a change is therefore needed.
All 3 pillars must work together, because all too often the responsibility is placed with the technology, or with consciousness. Too few people have high expectations of the government, even though it is also very important. So there is a need for a synergy between the 3. ”
Stop the free market system
“30% of food worldwide is wasted. In third world countries it is lost in the fields, with us it happens at the end of the chain, with the consumer or the department stores. We are too quick to label products as ‘expired’, but the government can certainly contribute to that. It must again find a balance between food security and food security.
I think maybe we all eat too much meat and we should still think about producing less. Of course not just like that: we need to produce less and still earn more. Is it possible? Absolutely, but not with a free market system where supermarkets set prices.
I think it is logical that there is a free market for travel and cars, for example. If you can only afford 1 trip a year, you should stick to it. If you can not afford an expensive car, do not buy it. If we look at the food supply, I think that’s a different story. Everyone has the right to adequate food at an affordable price.
In my opinion, we can equate the right to food at an affordable price with the right to education and health care. There is no free market, so the government is intervening.
I am convinced that we can make a transition to a new era of food at all affordable prices, where every farmer gets the right price for his products, and at the same time we take good care of the environment. It will, of course, require an effort from all levels of society. In addition to a different way of thinking on the part of the government, we must also make the best possible use of the available technology and make producers and consumers more aware of their food consumption. ”