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November 06, 2015

Green Week 2016: 8th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture

International conference on “How to feed our cities – agriculture and rural areas in the age of urbanisation“ from 14 to 16 January 2016 in Berlin

Berlin, 5 November 2015 – Taking as its slogan “How to feed our cities – agriculture and rural areas in the age of urbanisation“, the 8th Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) will be gathering key international players representing industry, politics, science and society. From 14 to 16 January 2016, parallel with the International Green Week (15 to 24 Jan.), the world’s leading agricultural policy conference will be taking place which is organised by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL).

Shift towards urban areas

The facts speak for themselves: over half of the world’s population already live in urban areas. According to projections, by 2050 some seven billion people, around three-quarters of the world’s population, will be living in cities. Along with globalisation, urbanisation is without doubt one of the main trends of our age.

Everywhere, urgent discussions are taking place on how to provide people in cities with housing, water, energy, education, healthcare and employment opportunities. Worldwide, the key issues are the economic, ecological and social development of a fast-growing population, and consequently political participation, governability, security and maintaining stability.

But what is the impact of urbanisation on food security? Urbanisation affects urban and rural structures in all kinds of ways. In Europe and industrialised countries the migration of people to cities has gradually depopulated rural areas, the result being a significant change in the demographic structure and the lives of those living there.

By contrast, in emerging and developing countries we see that, despite urban growth, large parts of the population continue to live in rural areas where they look for employment and a worthwhile future. In many countries urbanisation also means areas where poverty and hunger take hold. Hunger follows people as they move to the cities, with the potential to spark political unrest. How does this development affect agriculture and rural areas in different regions around the world and what role do they play as a result? How can we ensure our expanding cities receive an adequate supply of safe and healthy foods? How can we maintain and create viable rural areas, now and in the future?

Securing global food supplies

Securing global food supplies in the age of urbanisation is one of the challenges facing mankind. It is also a task facing agricultural policymakers. In that context it is important to have a modern, sustainable farming industry, thriving rural areas and a spirit of partnership that allows development in urban and rural areas to go hand in hand. What we need are wide-ranging political concepts that regard urban and rural structural change as an interconnected process.

Various events at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture will debate the many aspects of this topic at a number of levels. In 2016 the focus will again be on the International GFFA Panel and the 8th Berlin Agriculture Ministers' Summit, now the world’s biggest conference of its kind. On Saturday, 16 January 2016, high-ranking representatives from around the world will gather in the ’Weltsaal’ room of the German Foreign Office in order to discuss a joint agricultural policymaking approach to aspects of urbanisation. The agriculture ministers’ decisions will be taken into account in international political processes such as the G7 and G20 conferences and in meetings of the United Nations.

On Saturday morning at Messe Berlin’s CityCube the International GFFA Panel will gather senior figures from politics, business, science and society who will also be examining the topics discussed by the agriculture ministers. This is where vital aspects regarding urban food security will be discussed from an agricultural policymaking point of view. Modern and sustainable agricultural production secures adequate supplies of a wide range of healthy foods. Efficient supply chains make sure that they reach people living in cities. In order to ensure the long-term continuation of this process It is imperative to have thriving rural areas.

Companies, investors and associations will be able to present their food security projects at a Joint Venture Exchange, and the business lounge will provide a retreat for holding in-depth talks in a relaxed atmosphere. On Thursday and Friday (14 and 15 Jan.) expert panels hosted by various organisers and open to the public will be held in the CityCube Berlin, where discussions will take place on various aspects of the above topics and where projects and approaches will be highlighted.

On Friday afternoon, as at previous GFFA events, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture will be extending an invitation to attend its international working sessions, which this year will be supervised by the FAO and the European Commission. Their purpose is to discuss topics in depth and to work out recommendations advising the Berlin Agriculture Ministers' Summit. Afterwards, the GFFA Berlin will be holding its high-level International Business Panel as well as the evening reception of the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries which for the first time will be taking place in the CityCube Berlin this year.

About the GFFA

The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) is an international conference that deals with tomorrow’s key issues concerning the world’s food and farming industries and in 2016 will be taking place for the eighth time at the International Green Week in Berlin. This forum offers representatives of politics, business, science and society an opportunity to exchange views on a current agricultural policy topic and find common political ground. The GFFA is organised by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in cooperation with the GFFA Berlin e.V., the Senate of Berlin and Messe Berlin GmbH.

For more information on the GFFA 2016 and how to register online (as of 16. Nov. 2015) please visit:

For more information on the GFFA:

Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft,

Jens Urban, press spokesman, Wilhelmstrasse 54, 10117 Berlin

tel.: +4930 / 18529 - 3170,