Corona has an unmistakable health, social and economic impact, worldwide. But how will we move forward and behave in the `New Normal` situation after Corona?
This will differ between countries and cultures, but already we see a few trends related to food. Awareness arises about the role of food for prevention and eradication of pandemics. At consumer level, people start to pay attention for eating more healthy and fresh produced food. At government level, the national programs in Food Safety and Food Security become more important.
Healthy food is fresh thus local
Why in developed countries we consume imitation milk products from imported soya while there is a surplus of fresh and locally produced milk? Why import avocados or blackberries while there are plenty of locally produced legumes, vegetables and fruits? Fresh means produced locally and stimulates the local economy.
It is clearly a luxury position to ignore your own surplus and being able to import those fashionable foods, regardless of its consequences on environment and impact of the carbon food print.
How different it is for developing countries. Of course there is also attention for the need to stimulate local production. Aside from the direct and harsh consequences of the Corona measures pushing many people under the poverty line leading unavoidably to hunger, those countries also look for ways to achieve this. Perhaps the biggest challenge is knowhow. Assuming that there are sufficient resources, there is a lack of practical skills and knowledge for sufficient and efficient local food production.
A new approach to aid
I consider it as our mission to not only review our own consumer patterns, but also to have a critical eye on our contribution to the development of food production in those developing countries. It led to an undeniable dependence of donations and aid, export and free trade agreements, now the situation deserves a more sustainable way of contributing. A new, more sustainable approach is needed. With a higher impact on the development.
Knowledge transfer and skills development in agricultural production through blended learning, a combination of distant learning and practical trainings is such a sustainable approach. Indispensable is practical training, and this can be implemented in a much more efficient way. Not only can physical trainings focus entirely on the practise in the field, also local human resources can get involved. Professionals in dairy farming should always continue learning, so-called lifelong learning. A digitalized world facilitates it and we should apply it in our methodology.
Through Triple Dairy b.v. Bles Dairies initiated recently a unique consortium with Wageningen University and Research and Aeres Group to unroll and implement the mission of Bles Dairies namely, contribute to a sustainable development of local dairy production worldwide.