According to estimates by experts world population would reach a staggering 9 billion in the next 40 years and food demand would increase by 50% much before that by year 2030. The strain on land as a resource on account of good portions of cultivable land being taken up to provide living space and shelter to the swelling population would only compound the problem. Given the bleak scenario the formation of the EU joint Programming Initiative (JPI) on agriculture could not have come a day later.
The JPI constitutes 20 European countries which work together and synergise their efforts and knowledge in defining, developing and implementing a common strategy to address all issues that concern the well being of its citizens. It would help in strengthening research collaboration and coordinate effort to avoid duplication and make the best use of the national funding of EUR 1 billion Marks made available per year for the initiative. The JPI will eliminate fragmented research efforts that could pull in opposite directions and bring about a coherent and coordinated research initiative which would play a crucial role in the European 2020 strategy.
The fact that less than 15% of civil research is currently coordinated at the European level and the EU budget covers only 5% of public research funding is not something to be happy about and it is this anomaly that the EU Commission plans to correct. The JPI will not only try to find means for a stable, safe and sustainable food supply but will also tackle the impact that climate change has on agriculture. The JPI is led by the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INEA) in France and the Biotechnology and Biological Research Council (BBSRC) in the UK other member nations being Austria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.