The “International Forum on Innovative Cross-Sectoral Linkage for Circular Agriculture,” co-hosted by Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (COA), the Netherlands Trade and Investment Office in Taiwan, and the Trade Council of Denmark, Taipei, successfully concluded on November 1, 2019. Agricultural scholars and experts from Taiwan, the Netherlands, and Denmark shared their respective countries’ latest technology and development trends, and discussed the benefits of circular agriculture for balanced development mindful of environmental sustainability, crop safety, and economic efficiency.
The COA states that the Forum, by providing a platform for the exchange of ideas among experts from Asia and Europe, brought out concrete plans for the implementation of the “31 Initiatives,” which are “Innovation” (innovative business models), “Intelligence” (smart agricultural technology), and “Implementation” (policy implementation). The Forum broadly disseminated the ideals of circular agriculture and provided energy for industrial innovation. It also drove cross-sectoral cooperation between business, government, and academia. Finally, the Forum offered guidance to farmers, businesses, and consumers on how to reduce loss and waste all the way from the farm to the dining table, and how to put circular agriculture into practice.
Participants from the Netherlands emphasized that the key to success for circular agriculture lies in ensuring that all levels of society accept responsibility for the environment. This means that businesses should sell products that are compatible with a sustainable environment, and should not saddle consumers with the responsibility for creating negative environmental impacts. Producers, meanwhile, should model their thinking on corporate style management, and continually innovate and develop linkages. Finally, consumers should allow producers of superior products to earn a reasonable profit, as this is the only way to encourage the emergence of even more eco-friendly products and business operating models, which in turn will be positive for the environment.
Participants from Denmark, meanwhile, noted that the foundation of circular agriculture lies in innovation and reform from the very outset. It is necessary to educate Danes from a young age in the concepts of waste reduction, plastic reduction, and circular reuse of resources. It is also necessary for the government and business sectors in Denmark to employ smart technology and to internalize the idea of the circular economy in their DNA, so that everything from daily life to design of the production system can conform to sustainability. Only this way may the goal of being carbon-neutral all the way from farm to dining table by 2050 be achieved. This requires the commitment of many business, government, and academic resources, cross-sectoral cooperation, and development of innovative technologies and business models, as well as joint efforts with international partners.
Taiwan, the Netherlands, and Denmark all believe that this Forum, which was a response to the call for 3I Initiatives for circular agriculture, is only the start of international linkages. It is hoped that in the future it will be possible to promote even more transnational and cross-sectoral cooperation in circular agriculture, so that continued interactions will lead to the realization of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 17: to “Revitalize Global Partnerships.”