Towards a codevelopment of territorialised agribusiness industries

The worrying food insecurity in the Mediterranean region comes from a polysemous crisis, that is worsened by the current climate change. This situation requires a shift of paradigm that could be based on the rehabilitation of the Mediterranean diet and the codevelopment of territorialised production and commercialisation industries.

To do so, in 2009-2010, IPEMED started working in partnership with the CIHEAM to highlight the benefits of the creation of a collective brand of “Mediterranean Food Products”. Indeed, this label would highlight the economic, ecological, social, territorial and health-related benefits of key Mediterranean products such as olives, durum wheat, dates, etc.

The Institute then developed an original approach that combines two innovative concepts: “territorialised sectors” and “coproduction”, in a thorough 2014-study on cereal and oil protein crops in North Africa. The idea was to come up with progressive actions with a vertical and horizontal vision. The vertical vision applies to industries that need to be organised and coordinated between the two shores of the Mediterranean in order to get quality products and to share equally the added value that was created. The horizontal vision is spatial and it must aim to produce synergies between agribusiness industries on the one hand (by simultaneously improving biodiversity and resource productivity) and between agribusiness and non-agribusiness industries (eco-tourism, rural craftsmanship and services), with a triple objective of social, economic and environmental territorial development. The space in question must be national and regional (North African and Euro-Mediterranean), thus giving sense to the notion of “codevelopment through activities co-location”.

In all these countries, the emergence of “territorialised food systems” is an alternative to the dominant agribusiness model. Their objective is to reduce negative externalities and to highlight positive social, environmental and economic consequences (Rastoin, 2015). These systems reinstate “local food channels” in the face of globalised channels, thus changing the production, commercialisation and consumption modes by favouring proximity and sustainability. Territorialised food systems promote local products and regional expertise, but they also have a multi-function vision of agriculture and rural spaces, in the Mediterranean and in Europe.