Importance of locally-produced food stressed at conference

Novo mesto – An international online conference featuring Agriculture Minister Jože Podgoršek discussed on Thursday climate change and its impact on logistics in agriculture. The importance of locally-produced food was highlighted in this context.

Podgoršek said that agriculture and the countryside in general felt the impact of climate change, as usual agricultural practices are changing and trends in agriculture demand a different way of work.

Machinery needs to be adjusted and new varieties and new methods of cultivation, growing and processing are required, the minister said, adding that young farmers, who were motivated to introduce innovations, were key in fighting climate change.

Podgoršek noted that the European Commission would, in order to improve the resilience of regional and local food supply systems and to shorten the supply chain, support efforts to reduce dependence on long-distance transportation.

The ministry is also paying attention to the production of local food and its promotion through the concept of the development of family farms, he added.

Borut Florjančič, the head of the Association of Cooperatives, noted that cooperatives were by far the largest supplier of the countryside, and that they remained in places which large retailers were leaving, while also being the main buyer of local food.

What is good in the system of cooperatives is that they have strong connections with retailers, public institutes and the hospitality industry, while also having potential in logistics, which has not been fully utilised, he added.

Tone Hrovat, the director of the Grm biotechnology and tourism centre from Novo Mesto also stressed the importance of cooperatives, in particular for small farms, adding that effort should be made to keep them afloat so that they did stop producing.

Sevnica Mayor Srečko Ocvirk said that Slovenia was facing new approaches in agriculture, not only because of the coronavirus epidemic, but also because of climate change and digitalisation.

He assessed that the development gap between the countryside and large urban centres has been narrowed recently, while the competences of producers and farmers still greatly differed, calling on competent institutions to address this problem.

Tomaž Kramberger of the Maribor Faculty of Logistics wondered whether logistics should bring agricultural products from the other side of the world to our plates as soon as possible, or help organise supply channels to that produce travels only a few hours from field to plate.

With the latter, money and profit would stay with Slovenian farmers and the processing industry, the food would be healthier, and the rate of self-sufficiency would increase, he added.Tags: agriculture, Logistics, climate, conference