Matteo Bartolini a farmer from Citta di Castello and the current president of CEJA (European Council of Young Farmers) is often at Expo 2015 in Milan. In his inaugural speech at the summit he spoke strongly “of the need for a generational change in agriculture.”
CEJA includes national organizations of young farmers in the European Union: 31 to be precise, from 24 Member States. A body that represents the interests of about 2 million entrepreneurs in the European institutions. “As president I have the opportunity to participate in high-level events including the Informal Councils of Ministers of Agriculture, and provide my contribution by highlighting the need to invest in European policies favourable to the new generation.”
What are your commitments at Expo?
«My main commitment is to make the voice of the young European farmers that I represent heard, participating in the various initiatives that are promoted during these months. The themes are various, but the common thread in each is the need to have more young people in agriculture to ensure a sustainable future for the industry and to be able respond to global challenges».
The Ceja also has its own project is that correct?
«Yes, based on a ‘Road Map verso Expo 2015’, it is drawing up a manifesto that responds to the central theme of ‘Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life ‘, sponsored by Expo spa. Among the topics covered is the agri-food chain and how to increase the power of farmers within it, international agreements, access to land and credit. For each theme a final document has been elaborated».
It will have its own importance?
«The different positions will be used both in Brussels and in our relations with the European institutions and to contribute to the drafting of the Manifesto for Expo 2015».
What is the most interesting initiative you have participated at so far at Expo?
«All the initiatives were interesting and of high technical-scientific importance. As a representative of young farmers in Europe and as a farmer I found the conference on the theme of ‘Start-Up youth in agriculture’ ‘ very interesting».
What is the most beautiful pavilion?
«Each pavilion has its own peculiarities, and references to the cultural traditions and culture of their country and I think everyone should be visited».
What do you think are the advantages of this event?
«The most important advantage is that it has focused attention on global challenges that lie ahead, starting from the need to feed the world with our agriculture. It is therefore merit of Italy. It has grasped the importance of this issue before anyone else, which has then been adopted by the UN».
«The flaw in my opinion is the lack of communication within the event: a lack of information for visitors (not directly involved in the work of seminars and conferences) or the initiatives of debate that are held in the various pavilions, with the risk that these visits being turned into nice walks without enrichment and reflection on the themes of Expo».
Many people have spoken of the excessive cost: the exponential rise of even a simple coffee within a few kilometres from the event, is this true?
«Prices have definitely increased significantly. Probably more control and programming would have avoided this. But it is also true that, any event of this nature results in distortions of the market and prices».
What potential has the food industry in Umbria?
«The food industry in Umbria is varied and ranges from Nestlé-Perugina to the small producer. Both these brands are in great difficulty albeit for different reasons. Umbria has huge potential to the point that it affects other sectors. It needs, however collaboration and a radical change; trade unions, politicians and entrepreneurs should work together so that we can embark on a new journey that will lead to greater economic sustainability between the sectors».