Distressed persons being transferred from the 'USS San Antonio' (LPD 17) to the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) offshore patrol vessel P52, off the coast of Malta, Mediterranean Sea. (Credit: EPA/Navy Media Content Service/U.S. Navy)
Distressed persons being transferred from the 'USS San Antonio' (LPD 17) to the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) offshore patrol vessel P52, off the coast of Malta, Mediterranean Sea. (Credit: EPA/Navy Media Content Service/U.S. Navy)

Migrants coming to countries in the Mediterranean Sea rather flee hunger than war. A forum organized by Fondazione Barilla in Brussels on food and migration looked at current patterns of migration.

The people who arrive in and migrate from the Mediterranean come there mostly due to a lack of food security, with soil erosion, climate change and population growth making hunger a more serious reason to leave their homes than war. 

The Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN) International Forum confirmed the findings in Brussels on Wednesday.

Food security and migration linked

The link between food security, climate change and migration and the need to promote a rural development model for the Mediterranean were the main issues focused on during the forum. "Over the past 10 years, the Sahara grew by 10 percent and erosion has become a problem in some of our southern regions as well," said Lucio Caracciolo from MacroGeo. 

This means that there is less arable land, posing new risks for food production. An analysis by the Economist Intelligence Unit meanwhile noted that European agriculture also faces similar challenged in the future: About 12 percent of EU agricultural terrain is at risk of erosion due to intensive agricultural activities. 

Solutions in the Mediterranean

"We should be frightened by the situation that we are facing but also fascinated by the solutions," BCFN vice president Paolo Barilla said in opening the conference. The conference supported the idea that the Mediterranean can be a laboratory for solutions, such as one by the entrepreneur Faris Farrag. The Egyptian national raises fish and grows vegetables in the desert a few kilometers from Cairo using aquaponics.

EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan took part in the conference, who last week presented a draft reform of EU agricultural policy, which BCFN said was one of the areas in which the EU can contribute to sustainable development of the Mediterranean and the world.

Among the proposals that BCFN brought to Brussels is support for a "new vision" for EU agricultural policy focused on sustainability, which promotes a Mediterranean model of rural development for all countries in the area and that takes migration and food security into account. 
 

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