Garmisch-P (Germany) – 10 – 14 February, 2020

Adrienn Molnár from UGENT attended the 14th International European Forum on System Dynamics and Innovation in Food Networks. The theme and background of the IGLS Forum was on the production and marketing of food taking place in an interdependent dynamic system, the food system, involving activities of enterprises in chains and networks in agriculture, food processing, and retail and consumers, media, and an institutional environment for policy, marketing, and management support. Among the actors of the food system and between the food system and the political, economic, technical, socio-cultural, and natural environment, dynamic interactions and interdependencies occur. These dynamics cause a constant challenge for actors in the food system towards the development of strategies that ensure sustainability and competitiveness for themselves and for the food sector as a whole. Key success factors for meeting this challenge are, among others, innovations and the system’s capability for innovations that aim at sustainable dynamics of food system developments. Innovations for the food system regard production, organization, technology, and management including the flexibility and speed to adapt to changing conditions and scenarios. System innovations and dynamics in food chains and networks could focus on such diverse elements as inter-company quality systems and quality standards, inter-organizational information systems (e.g. for chain management or tracking and tracing), risk management, regional or global logistics systems chain governance structures, new business-to-business relationships that are highly responsive to dynamic consumer and market demands, etc. They require coordination of actors and the acceptance of risk, elements that are themselves up for innovative developments.  The food system’s dynamic interdependencies need a multidisciplinary view; research is required to cross the boundaries of traditional research lines.

Given that eTOMATO aims at creating an educational offer for easing the uptake of new business practices respecting the Multifuntional Agriculture (MA) framework in general, and in the domains of Short Food Supply Chains in particular, IGLS Forum and eTOMATO share their passion and commitment to participate in discussions on the global challenge for innovation and system dynamics in food systems.

Adrienn Molnár from UGENT contributed to a presentation entitled the „Impact of subsidies on maintaining labour force in the agricultural sector” and investigated the impact of subsidies in conventional agricultural farms, and discussed whether or not subsidies would have similar impact in multifunctional agricultural farms. Further, she also helped organizing the session on “Policy developments and the food system” that has of relevance for eTOMATO. In this session, Geert Maesmans, Director Research and Development, Cargill Food Ingredients and BioIndustrials, Starches, Sweeteners and Texturizers discussed the „Impact of the CAP reform on the food system” while Jan Ingelbeen, CEO, Greenyard Frozen Flanders, Belgium dealt with the „The impact of the new EU Common Agricultural Policy on the fruit and vegetables industry. Last, Johann Költringer, President, Austrian Association of Milk Processing Companies focused on „Impacts of the CAP reform on the Austrian dairy sector”, while Jannes Maes, President European Young Farmers’ Organization, Brussels raised issues with regard to the CAP with a presentation entitled „Post 2020 CAP- supporting change, changing support”. Given that in the latest CAP reform, the EU took a clear step towards maintaining and improving the multifunctional role of agriculture, participants of the session had lively discussion on how well the current CAP responds to objectives set for multifunctionality. The participants of the session, and the eTOMATO project mutually benefitied from exchanging views, which will result in better tailoring the needs of the eTOMATO project to the actors of the food system.