A volcanic eruption or an animal disease can badly hit the European agriculture sector too, says a report this week. But there is no reason to panic, says Rudy Rabbinge, and the proposed measures are not necessary.
Rudy Rabbinge, professor in Wageningen University:
'There isn't any reason for worry or cause for alarm, although it is good that such analyses are done regularly. But the proposed measures are not necessary. One of these is to maintain more fallow land which can be used to raise food production when a crisis happens. But the costs of such a measure are out of proportion to the risks which such calamities would bring. The maintenance of huge stocks of soya to sustain livestock in the event of an import stop is also not necessary. It's good to have food strategically stocked up, but it's an illusion that prizes can be stabilized. Even planting more albuminous crops to reduce the dependence on soya imports should only be done if it is profitable, which is not so at present. Europe should not try to increase its own protein production artificially with, for example, import tariffs on soya, as proposed in the report. We should be able to rely on market forces.'