Towards a more sustainable agri-food sector

01 May 2021 ·

The 'Green Deal' and the 'Farm to Fork Strategy' of the European Union have the ambition to achieve efficient production and food chain through green policies to tackle the impact of climate change and by promoting the conservation of the environment. These strategies aim to achieve more sustainability of the food value chain, from the producer to the consumer.

In view of the support of the European Commission to the organic sector towards the achievement of the  25% target of agricultural land under organic farming by 2030 with the appropriate policy and legal framework, the panel will discuss the relevance of organic farming in Europe, and the impact that different types of measures and initiatives may have on the sustainable development of the rural areas as well as on the conservation of related components of the environment i.e., soil, water.

The panel discussion will provide a forum for sharing information and opinions on organic farming actions and initiatives towards a more sustainable agri-food sector and better protection of our environment.


18:00 - 18:05 Presentation of the organisers: Spanish Scientists in Belgium and the Spanish Cultural Circle "Antonio Machado" of Luxembourg
18:05 - 18:10 Presentation of the panellists
18:10 - 19:30 Panel discussion - 80min
19:30 - 19:45 Questions and answers with the audience - 15 minutes
19:45 - 20:00 Wrap-up and concluding remarks

Meet the moderator and the panelists :

Lourdes Llorens Abando is Senior Sector Economist Regional Development Division - European Investment Bank

Graduate studies in Economics, speciality in Mathematical Economics, and post-graduate in Econometrics at the London School of Economics. Researcher at the Centre for Labour Economics (LSE) and lecturer in Econometrics and Regional and Urban Economics (1981-1986). Public servant at the Basque Government working in the calibration of spatial models and in CBA for regional and urban land use and transport projects. (1983-1991). Senior consultant in Marcial Echenique and Compañía in charge of spatial model calibration and projects and programmes evaluation, with the responsibility of implementing EU projects. (1991-1998). Head of the Statistical Office in Basque Country with the objective of the development new statistics on Knowledge Economy and Information Society. (1998-2002) and transparency in the statistics construction process. Civil servant in the Basque Intermediate Body for the implementation of Structural Funds. (2002-03). National Seconded Expert in Eurostat working in rural development and food safety statistics. (2003-2007)

As a sector specialist in the Bank, she was involved in the appraisal and monitoring of multi-sector Framework Loans, regional, municipal, and national. In particular, she dedicated some time to develop a standardised process to monitor and close Structural Programme loans and other framework loans. This has provided a wide vision of territorial aspects of all sectors. The regional and urban development policies permeate most sectors in the Bank but in particular, her interests are with policy and land, including rural development as a complementary area of urban activities.

Mr Gunther Wolff Gunther Wolff holds a Master's Degree in Industrial Engineering and Management from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and has a long experience in environmental affairs. He started his career at the environmental department of a Swiss consultancy. Later on, he worked as a project manager at a German Development Bank, being responsible for water infrastructure projects in Latin America.

Mr Wolff joined the European Commission in 2006, where he has been holding different positions. Since 2009, he has been working as a Policy Officer in the Commission’s Directorate-General for the Environment. He was initially in charge of recycling policies before joining the agricultural team in the ‘Land Use and Management Unit’. His priorities are to contribute to a sustainable implementation of the current CAP and to prepare the new CAP. One of his key dossiers is Organic Farming, which shall play a key role in the EU’s transition towards sustainable agriculture.

Eduardo Aguilera holds a PhD in Biology and he is currently working as a post-doc researcher at CEIGRAM, Research Centre for the Management of Agricultural and Environmental Risks, Technical University of Madrid. Additionally, he is a teacher of Organic farming and Agroecology in graduate and MSc courses at the Technical University of Madrid and the International University of Andalusia.

His research covers many topics related to agricultural and agri-food system sustainability, with a special focus on the quantification of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sinks in soils and biomass. He is interested in studying historical trends as well as alternative scenarios to increase the sustainability of food production and consumption.

Kurt Sannen is the Chair of the Organics Europe Farmers Interest Group bringing together representatives from organic farmer associations across Europe. He organises and leads meetings of Organics Europe farmers and ensures the link between the Brussels office and members. 

Working in the agri-food and environmental protection sectors for over 20 years, Kurt was successively advisor for the Cabinet of the Flemish Minister of Environment and Agriculture, Project Manager at the Government Agency for Nature and Forest (Agentschap voor Natuur en Bos) and organic farmer. Currently based in Diest, Belgium, his organic farm Bolhuis counts cattle of local breed (Kempisch Roodbont) and sheep, which play an important role in the maintenance of natural grasslands. Since 2012, Kurt is active within Bioforum Vlaanderen vzw, the umbrella organization for organic agriculture and food in Flanders. He also works as a consultant on projects on the convergence of agriculture and biodiversity. He has extensive experience of working with farmers and other stakeholders, as well as EU and national policymakers on biodiversity, agriculture and rural development policies.

Miguel Ángel de Porras Acuña is the Director of FiBL Europe, the umbrella organization of the 6 FiBL centers, based in Brussels. He is an Economist and Anthropologist with a MsC in Agroecology. Currently, he is doing his PhD in Agroecology at the Pablo de Olivade University, Spain.

He has professional experience at European institutions and is specialized in Agricultural policies and governance. He has been involved in several H2020 and other European projects in the field of organic agriculture and agroecology. Additionally, he is also a member of the Steering Committee of TPOrganics and the Board of Directors of Agrinatura.