Global implications of the European food system: A food systems approach
This report (PDF) by Wageningen Economic Research enhances the knowledge on the global implications of the EU food system. A trade analysis shows that the majority of EU-trade is internal. Regarding extra-EU trade, Latin-America and Asia are the main exporters, while the Asia and Northern and Central America are the main destination of EU exports. The share of low-income and lower-middle-income countries in total trade with the EU is small and fairly stable from 2000-2016. The three major imported products from the EU are fish and coca from lower-middle and low-income countries, and soy from high-income countries. This trade has negative impacts on land use, deforestation, and loss of landscape value, water scarcity, farm worker welfare and curtailed agricultural development potential. Benefits include export revenues, rising wage income, increased human capital and food availability. The ranking of these goals will define the outcome of food systems. How trade relations of the EU with LMIC may evolve in the future, depends on major trends in consumption and production in the EU. Regarding consumption, trends in the EU food system are flexitarianism, locavorism and conscious consumerism. For production, a continued sustainable intensification of production and an increasing role of non-tariff restrictions (NTM) is expected. Therefore, exports from LMIC to the EU will be faced with an increasing role of sustainability and NTM. Recommended is to use telecoupling as a tool for global system analysis to understand EU’s trade impact on global food systems and give input to EU governance. Furthermore, it is recommended to invest in data linking and data access to understand the multiple interactions of food systems with the SDGs. Lastly, partnerships are required. With recognition of the cultural context the commonalities and shared interests between the EU and its global partners in addressing food security provide a platform for mutually beneficial international collaboration in food systems science and innovation.