Flemish Platform for Agricultural Research
Philippe Vandenbroeck

A long-term agricultural research agenda (Witboek Landbouwonderzoek)

A project commissioned by the Flemish Platform for Agricultural Research (2009), uniting key research institutes and funders, to identify long-term priorities for agricultural research. The participatory process was designed, researched and facilitated by shiftN, in collaboration with staff from the Administration Monitoring & Studies (AMS) of the Agriculture and Fisheries Department of the Flemish Government.

The resulting White Paper (Witboek) takes its cue from the three key driving forces to which the Flemish agriculture is exposed: competitive pressure, volatility and the requirement to reduce environmental pressures. A participatory process resulted in 5 key areas for research intended to make the Flemish agriculture more resilient to these forces: genetics and biodiversity, optimisation of growth and production factors, quality of food products and societal role of food, chain management, and multifunctionality of agriculture. These research areas are framed in a transversal transition perspective that rests on three key dimensions of integration: between primary and secondary flows, material and immaterial benefits, and between rural and urban areas.