The Second Mediterranean Agricultural Forum AGROMED

Mediterranean Agricultural Policy and Demography

Šibenik, June 10th, 2022 Municipal library “Juraj Šižgorić”, Poljana 6

Institute of European and Globalization Studies, Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Croatia, City of Šibenik, Šibenik-Knin County

Forum's Concept

  • The Mediterranean Agricultural Forum supports the European Green Deal and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2030)
  • The Mediterranean Agricultural Forum is a place of professional and scientific discussion
  • The ideas, proposals and conclusions of the Forum are the backbone of new agricultural policies based on the idea of ​​self-sustainability and self-sufficiency
  • The idea of ​​self-sustainability and self-sufficiency is based on the concept of Mediterranean agricultural culture, Mediterranean lifestyle, and Mediterranean diet
  • The Mediterranean Agricultural Forum stems from the premise of Mediterranean culture, but with special emphasis on agricultural crops. The focus is on the semiotics of space, which refers to Croatia, the Mediterranean, but also the entire EU
  • The forum is taking place in Šibenik, the city of the Croatian part of the Mediterranean
  • The Mediterranean Agricultural Forum is a meeting place for theory and practice in the field of agriculture. Croatian, but also farmers from other countries, will have the opportunity to present products, i.e., Mediterranean agricultural crops, but also the production specific to Mediterranean agriculture

Orientation

  • The Forum was established in September 2020 as the backbone of a new social paradigm
  • Agriculture based on self-sustainability, circular economy and bio-eco-production is a strategic activity of the new social paradigm
  • Contemporary challenges, climate change, pandemics, economic crises indicate all the challenges agriculture is facing
  • Food production in the entire European Union, including Croatia, should be economically and ecologically adjusted to the European Green Deal and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2030)
  • Mediterranean Agricultural Forum emphasizes the agricultural symbols of the Mediterranean: grapes, wine, figs, olives, olive oil, etc., but also fisheries and specific livestock production

Goals

  • The Mediterranean Agricultural Forum supports the European Green Deal and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2030)
  • The Mediterranean Agricultural Forum is a place of professional and scientific discussion
  • The ideas, proposals and conclusions of the Forum are the backbone of new agricultural policies based on the idea of ​​self-sustainability and self-sufficiency
  • The idea of ​​self-sustainability and self-sufficiency is based on the concept of Mediterranean agricultural culture, Mediterranean lifestyle, and Mediterranean diet
  • The Mediterranean Agricultural Forum stems from the premise of Mediterranean culture, but with special emphasis on agricultural crops. The focus is on the semiotics of space, which refers to Croatia, the Mediterranean, but also the entire EU
  • The forum is taking place in Šibenik, the city of the Croatian part of the Mediterranean
  • The Mediterranean Agricultural Forum is a meeting place for theory and practice in the field of agriculture. Croatian, but also farmers from other countries, will have the opportunity to present products, i.e., Mediterranean agricultural crops, but also the production specific to Mediterranean agriculture

Identity and self-sustainability

  • In the global risk society, significantly marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for a new social paradigm is emphasized
  • Among the policies that determine it is (self) sustainable agricultural policy
  • Mediterranean agricultural policy stands out as one of the important components at the level of macro-regions. It will be promoted and studied through the Mediterranean Agricultural Forum (AGROMED)

Forum's three
panels

The first panel

Deagrarization and depopulation in the Mediterranean The panel brings together the reflections of leading rural sociologists, agricultural economists and demographers dealing with general trends of deagrarization and depopulation in the Mediterranean area. It brings a variety of views and offers sustainable solutions specific to southern Europe, northern Africa, and the Levant region.

The second panel

Policies and solutions for the Croatian Mediterranean facing deagrarization and depopulation The panel presents the main trends of deagrarization and depopulation in Adriatic Croatia and gives new and fresh views and offers solutions in the form of policies to be put into practice. The panel is focused on finding solutions to the difficulties of population decline in rural areas, as well as on holistic findings on the sustainability of Mediterranean agriculture.

The third panel

Specifics of agricultural production on the Adriatic islands and in the hinterland in the context of deagrarization and depopulation The panel is dedicated to very specific local problems of Croatian islands and the Dalmatian hinterland, in the context of demographic trends, sustainability of olive groves, vineyards, karst agriculture. The panel also strives to find policies that can guide us in the self-sustainability of local Mediterranean agriculture.

Vedran Obućina, Forum's director

About the Mediterranean Agricultural Forum

One of the biggest structural development problems of the Mediterranean today is the rapid decline of the rural population (rural depopulation) which goes beyond the trend of declining agricultural population (deagrarization). This challenge is not only present in the Mediterranean but is also one of the burning issues at European level when it comes to the role of agriculture and related movement and life of people in rural and remote areas, such as islands and hinterlands of coastal tourist centers. The depopulation of villages is also manifested as the senilization and devastation of agriculture and of all rural areas distant from the main communication lines, larger cities and centers without industrial plants, communal and social infrastructure and without a development perspective.
It is important to provide expert answers to these questions that will help shape sustainable policies. The population policy pursued by the state should be based on appropriate economic, agricultural, regional development and cultural policies – significantly different from the previous ones. In this regard, it is very important to improve the still unfavourable position of agriculture in relation to industry and services, to move to a decentralized model of carefully selected industrialization and urbanization, to invest much more in transport and communal infrastructure of rural areas. It would be a program that would stop deagrarization and depopulation. When deciding on measures that will enable the stay and return of young people, the key question is how to make food production and complementary activities attractive and desirable for work and life in rural areas throughout the year. Rapid and excessive deagrarization, instead of earlier agrarian overpopulation, has caused another extreme – industrial and urban overpopulation. The first is the old and the second the big new problem of Mediterranean society. City life is expensive, the housing shortage is great, factories are full of redundant workers, and in the villages many fields of these same people are uncultivated. In the new social paradigm, the senilization of agriculture also means dependence in food production on someone else, while one’s own resources (water, soil, and knowledge) are neglected. The climate, financial and political crises that have marked the last decade have exacerbated a situation that was already quite strained for Mediterranean rural areas and communities. Territorial polarization that accompanied the modernization of the agricultural sector materialized by increasing agricultural intensification in areas with greater potential for agricultural productivity (i.e., low plains, coastal areas), in parallel with the progressive abandonment of marginal environments such as mountainous areas, arid zones and islands where there is limited potential for intensifying agriculture, but where experts can offer solutions. The Croatian Mediterranean area and food production face a number of threats caused by climate, natural, demographic and developmental impacts. Although the tourism sector has enabled respectable development over the past 50 years, we must also be aware of the negative aspects of tourism. This is primarily manifested in the reduction of the number of people who produce food for their own needs or for the market. Consequently, we can also see a reduction of the agricultural area and the number of animals in breeding in the function of food production. In addition, there are infrastructural challenges such as water supply, fertile soil, retaining skilled labour, and investing in a critical structure. Therefore, the solutions that need to be offered in order for further development to be sustainable must be based on a holistic and systematic approach that will take into account all aspects of sustainability – economic, social and environmental. This will increase the resilience, adaptability and attractiveness of the agricultural sector, food production and rural areas.

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