Opening Report - Debut for IGW Digital
This year the International Green Week celebrates its 95th anniversary. Due to the current situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic it will take place as an entirely virtual event. Be it political discussions, cooking shows or specialist contributions – on 20 and 21 January a wide-ranging programme featuring the latest topics on the farming and food industries and horticulture awaits viewers. After registration, around 100 contributions can be either live-streamed or downloaded from www.gruenewoche.com as videos on demand free of charge. IGW Digital is organised by Messe Berlin. Its non-commercial sponsors are the German Farmers’ Union (DBV) and the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE).
Martin Ecknig, chief executive officer of Messe Berlin GmbH: ”The International Green Week traditionally kicks off our trade fair year – and so too in this year. Naturally, we would have liked to welcome 400,000 visitors to the exhibition grounds again. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic that is not possible. Yet people still want to exchange ideas. With IGW Digital we have created a platform for dialogue and information that caters to the trade and general public. Whether the subject is environmentally friendly foods, food production in times of the coronavirus, or digitalisation in the farming industry – the International Green Week is more topical than ever.”
Joachim Rukwied, president of the German Farmers’ Union (DBV): “We as a farming family not only feed our society but are also strongly committed to protecting the climate, wildlife and nature. However, the economic situation our businesses are facing is extremely difficult. Furthermore, bans that are currently in the pipeline, as well as legal requirements and political uncertainty are holding back urgently needed investment. One of the major challenges in the years to come will be to resolve the conflicting demands of a society that wants greater action on environmental and animal welfare matters but is unwilling to pay more in the shops. Food needs to be appreciated more. Securing good all-round conditions is not only important for the success of the farming industry, but also for offering a wide range of domestic products that meet high standards.“
“We deeply regret that this year’s International Green Week can only take place in a virtual format. For us, the Green Week is the highlight of the start of the year’s agricultural policy events. There is no better opportunity to make contact with 400,000 people and talk about food and food production than the Green Week Berlin. This year – in a virtual format – there will be numerous high-level discussion rounds debating important agricultural policy developments. Topics will include the future of common agricultural policy, animal welfare, climate protection, wolves, and startups in the farming industry.“
Christoph Minhoff, chief executive of the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE): ”Despite a solid annual result of 184.7 billion euros, food producers have been confronted with enormous challenges: the drop in takeaway sales, sluggish consumer activity, weak global export demand, high sickness rates and not least the pressure put on supply chains by last year’s lockdown measures. Nevertheless, they will continue to work towards the goal of sustainable food production, and it is this commitment that we want to demonstrate at IGW Digital. We are presenting companies whose production processes are climate-friendly, who successfully minimise food losses or replace plastic packaging with paper alternatives. We are also highlighting the latest food diet trends, including newly formulated recipes, the question as to whether there really is no substitute for meat substitute, and the role that meat and cultured meat will play in the future.“
Full programme of events at IGW Digital: highlights on 20 January
Four channels will be offering a wide-ranging programme for trade visitors and the general public. IGW Digital will kick off on 20 January with an opening press conference (9.30 – 10.30 a.m.). President of the German Farmers’ Union Joachim Rukwied and BVE Chief Executive Christoph Minhoff will talk about the current situation in the industry and the economic importance of their sectors.
Another highlight on day one will be the IGW Startup Days, at which six agTech and food startups will present their innovative ideas. Their pitches will be followed by a keynote speech from tech investor and startup expert Frank Thelen. Members of the general public will be fascinated by the cooking and chat show #ZukunftSchmeckt. At the Cook&Talks event on day one, topics will include food waste, the latest food trends and climate-friendly food choices. The programme will also feature numerous talks, documentaries and specialist contributions – with topics ranging from sustainability and animal welfare, the benefits of local production and biodiversity, to presentations of specialities from the federal States and Germany’s neighbours.
Highlights on 21 January: IGW-Talk with Julia Klöckner
The high point on day two will be the IGW-Talk event moderated by Judith Rakers and featuring Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner, President of the German Farmers’ Union Joachim Rukwied and BVE President Dr. Christian von Boetticher as her guests. Under the heading ’Rooting for Tomorrow – IGW 2050’, the participants will discuss the future of the food and farming industries.
The focus of the first agricultural policy event of the German Farmers’ Union to take place this year will also be on political issues. Afterwards, IGW Digital viewers will be able to watch a 20-minute summary of the most important points. Taking part in the debate will be politicians from every parliamentary group in the Bundestag, who will present their political goals for the upcoming legislative period. Discussion will focus not only on farming and food policies, but also on issues to do with the economy, taxes and SMEs.
In addition to the IGW Startup Awards another presentation will also be taking place. The presentation of the Regional-Star by the trade magazine Lebensmittel Praxis and International Green Week recognises outstanding local food industry concepts supporting sustainable production.
On 21 January at the Cook&Talks event by #ZukunftSchmeckt, the focus will be on bakeries, a trade that combines past and present, as well as meat and dairy substitutes. The German federal states and other partners will hold presentations on topics such as biodiversity, organic farming, the canteen of the future and local specialities. The Federation of German Consumer Organisations will debate topics including ’Labelling chaos at the supermarket: do we need more transparency for sustainable consumption?’ and ‘Sustainability at all costs: how much does my shopping really cost?’
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