Grains Research and Development

Date: 03.11.2014

World Expo to put global focus on agriculture ... and pasta

Architect Stefano Boeri's concept illustration of the Milan Expo 2015 lake area

Architect Stefano Boeri’s concepts for the Milan Expo 2015 lake arena. The rooftop ‘fields’ reflect the strong agricultural science theme.

PHOTO: Consulate-General of Italy

The theme for the next World Exposition, to be held next year in Milan, Italy, centres on food production. Italian Consul-General Marco Maria Cerbo is hoping Australian grains industry professionals will use the opportunity to strengthen the already strong bonds between Italian food manufacturers and Australian grain growers.

Order a pasta dish in Italy and chances are the iconic noodles were made using Australian-grown durum wheat. This is because Italy – the poster child for the Mediterranean diet and the world’s largest exporter of pasta – has acquired a taste for Australian durum and on average buys 58 per cent of the durum grain Australia exports each year.

For growers there is a premium (on average $28 per tonne over ‘prime hard’ bread wheat), while for the breeders who assist growers to achieve the desired quality, there are deep bonds forged with both Italian scientists and the pasta industry.

Italy now seeks to broaden its connections with Australian food producers with an invitation to visit in 2015, a year when Italy is making the world’s food production systems the centre of global attention.

Milan was awarded the honour of organising the 2015 World Exposition and Italy’s chosen theme is ‘Feeding the planet, energy for life’.

In addition to the possible partnership with the State of Victoria, having already hit the target of 130 official participants agreed with the Bureau International des Expositions – representing a large part of the world population, and including international organisations such as the United Nations and the European Union – Expo Milan 2015 will offer the visitors a multifaceted experience.

Photo of Italian Consul-General Marco Maria Cerbo

Italian Consul-General Marco Maria Cerbo hopes to see the the Australian grains industry at next year’s World Expo focusing on global agriculture.

PHOTO: Consulate-General of Italy

To explore issues of importance to contemporary food production, Milan Expo 2015 will show how cities can be shaped to better suit the need of food supply. A master-plan grid comprising two axes overlaid on Milan will symbolise food’s contemporary itinerary. The first one leads from Milan’s city centre towards its periphery, metaphorically joining the place where food is consumed (the city) with where it is produced (the countryside). The second axis represents the conjunction with suburban areas.

At the crossroads of these two lines, the Italian Pavilion (named ‘Palazzo Italia’) will be welcoming foreign guests and guiding them towards an exploration of Italian food culture and traditions.

After the expo, the plan is to transform the Palazzo Italia into a space for technological research, training and education. 

Food is part of every culture’s traditions and telling stories about its food is a way to explore a society’s historical roots.

Many such stories will be told during the Milan Expo 2015 – stories from the past and stories from the present; stories from the rich world and from developing and emerging countries; stories made of flavours and tastes; stories made of images and suggestions; and stories made of sensations and feelings.

Visitors to the expo will also have the opportunity to learn about the combined work within international agriculture to help millions of people escape hunger, thanks to the coordination of bodies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations whose seat was established in Rome in 1951.

Food economics

Then there is the economic activity generated by the demand and supply of food. Since the beginning of human history, the engine behind economic, scientific and technological development has been the quest for resources. And the most important resources of all are those that can feed us and sustain our communities.

Throughout the centuries, innovation has changed the way we produce, transport, store and consume food and the way we ensure food safety. Today the economics of food are a complex and variegated network that needs knowledge from diverse scientific disciplines.

Central to contemporary food production systems is innovation in research, technology and business practices along the entire food supply chain to improve the nutritional value, conservation and distribution of foods, or in preserving biodiversity and protecting the environment. The key role played by nutrition issues in our daily life has created an entire world of businesses.

These businesses, based on global agriculture, will be on show in Milan in 2015. 

For everyone involved in the business of food and agriculture, Milan Expo 2015 will be a stimulating experience. We will be showcasing modern agriculture and showcasing modern Italy.

More information:

Milan Expo 2015
www.expo2015.org/en

Marco Maria Cerbo has served as Consul-General at the Consulate-General of Italy in Melbourne since 2013. He joined the Diplomatic Service at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1999 and has held numerous posts since, including First Secretary (Embassy of Italy) in Addis Ababa. In 2012 he was awarded the title of Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.

Note: The information and views set out in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the Italian Government.

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