Editorial: Identifying agri-food research priorities for Spain - 2017 results

Marta García, Ángeles Alonso, María Luisa Tello, Marta de la Poza, Natalia Villalobos, Rocío Lansac, Paloma Melgarejo, Manuel Laínez


Among other functions, the INIA is involved in national and international cooperation in the field of agri-food research. The process of identifying and classifying gaps in our knowledge forms an essential part of this effort. This article describes that process, the tools and the materials used to achieve the final objective, namely, the identification of research priorities in the Spanish agri-food sector in order to deal with the societal challenges posed by society and the stakeholders involved. These challenges, within the context of the bioeconomy, are the sustainability of primary and forestry production systems, the safety and quality of food and bioproducts as well as the competitiveness of farmers and companies in this sector. It is necessary to optimize resource management and means of production along with improved efficiency to guarantee sustainability throughout the value chain process. The main goal, under the current scenario of climate change, is to develop models which lead to a balance between food quality and production costs (competitiveness and economic sustainability), ecosystem conservation and mitigation of the environmental impacts (environmental sustainability) while maintaining the population in rural areas (social sustainability). These models will be based on new technology in both intensive and extensive production systems. They should support the improvement and valuation of traditional products together with the formulation and development of foods with new functionalities and quality while at the same time ensuring safety. As well as satisfying consumer demand, improved knowledge must lead to a more efficient use of our own resources and by-products within the framework of a circular economy, including the development of bioproducts, eco-innovation and eco-design.


foresight, sustainability, efficiency, competitiveness, climate change

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2018163-13587