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Foresight for plant oils and proteins 2030
At the end of 2013, Terres Inovia launched a foresight exercise with a 15-year horizon (2030), to encourage professionals of the French plant oil and protein sectors to consider the following issues: tomorrow’s end uses for French plant oil and protein production, areas of growth for the oil-protein sector in France and Europe, and the possible consequences of these developments for the actors of the French oil-protein sector, from the breeding of new varieties of crop plants to the transformation of crop products and their marketing.
A foresight exercice over 15 years
A group of 18 experts from companies, interprofessional organisations and institutions involved in research and development was established. This group met 13 times between September 2013 and October 2014, and its deliberations led to the development of a prospective vision in the form of four contrasting scenarios. At a 14th meeting in December 2015, the working group debated the results collated and presented in this document.
The first part of this report will describe the approach used to develop the scenarios for the perspectives of the European plant oil and protein production system in its world context in 2030, with the opening of new markets and the heavy impact of agricultural policy making it indispensable to consider these two aspects simultaneously. These scenarios are presented and discussed in terms of their consistency and likelihood, assessed through a numerical evaluation approach, in particular. The preliminary elements of interpretation emerging from the discussions are also presented.
The four scenarios illustrate different rationales for changes in context and the major issues confronting the decision-makers in this sector. An analysis of these scenarios can be used to identify possible pre- or proactive courses of action:
« Descent into chaos »: Economic and political crises, food security issues leading to tensions, competition and growing inequality
« Bloc power »: Regional policies and bilateralism
« Confidence »: International co-operation to prevent climate change
« Climate change »: Economic measures and forced co-operation due to climatic and food tensions
The numerical evaluation of these scenarios revealed the importance attributed to hypotheses about demographic changes, dietary transitions and yield increases. It also highlighted potential dead-ends, resulting in an extrapolation of trends, and even the consideration of over-optimistic changes in direction.
Among the key elements
The key elements to come out of this analysis were as follows:
- Increasing agricultural production in a sustainable manner remains a priority worldwide, and is dependent largely on increases in average yield. The effects of climate change may be determinant, radically altering conditions;
- The “oil lake” scenario is a trend, but not a certainty;
- By contrast, tensions relating to proteins are almost certain at the global scale. The importance of plant proteins for human nutrition, in their natural state or after transformation, differs between the scenarios, as do the conditions for the valorisation of these proteins and their markets. The protein yields of different crops will determine their competitiveness for mass use, particularly in animal feed;
- Net self-sufficiency in proteins is possible towards 2030 in Europe;
- The exhaustion of marine resources should lead to the development of fi sh farming and tensions in omega-3 fatty acid production, for which different responses are possible.
This set of four prospective scenarios was used as a framework for discussions between stakeholders from this sector about the best way to defi ne pre-active actions preparing for change, or proactive actions to influence the future, with each player exercising total freedom within the limits of their capacities.
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