Agriculture, food security and climate change pose key challenges for the world. The 2007-2008 world food crisis was a stark reminder that all countries need to build more resilient food systems in the light of expected (and unexpected) changes ahead. Research must play a leading role in bringing solutions. Europe has and continues to develop knowledge and technologies to underpin sustainable and competitive food production systems.
Agriculture (including forestry and aquaculture) are highly exposed to climate change – the variability of crop yields has already increased as a consequence of extreme climate events, such as the summer heat of 2003 and the spring drought of 2007 in Europe. However the agriculture and forestry sectors also offer the potential of mitigation of nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) emissions, while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with indirect land use change and the development of verifiable GHG mitigation and carbon sequestration measures. Agriculture has to meet a demand for food which is estimated to rise globally by 50% by 2030 and to double by 2050, due to population growth, urbanisation and increased affluence in many societies.