Stupidity Has No Limits

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The current capitalist model has been in place for around forty years now, leading most people to prosperity and giving us countless resources and opportunities, but it has also been the cause of great social inequalities, and a huge environmental crisis we still haven’t managed to leave behind.

It’s not hard to see who’s behind this crisis: Those who have so tirelessly promoted business models that are harmful to humankind and the environment just to fill their own pockets.

A savage, implacable capitalism that chases after economic profit at any price, plaguing our society and the planet.

But… is there a way to escape the claws of this pack of Wall Street wolves?

Social capitalism might help with its responsible model and variables: Human, that is, people’s health; social, for example job creation, and environmental, such as the preservation of indispensable natural resources while ensuring economic sustainability if we want to keep going.

14 years ago we foresaw the shortcomings of such an insatiable capitalism and began to do what we do best, biotechnology, to develop natural solutions capable of casting out, once and for all, toxic chemicals from food production. And that really fires me up, as does the ability to create jobs in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis or our MAAVi Foundation, which promotes the cultural exchange and the integration of children of different nationalities through sports, nutrition and the labor market insertion of their parents.

Employers must be aware of their impact on society. This new type of socially responsible capitalism humanizes the classic model, which has been preying on global population and the planet long enough.

In the new model, human beings, society and the environment are no longer marketing tools, but a key piece of the company’s heart.

However, limiting the system with those three variables makes management much more complex.

Aiming to Change the World

Because… how does responsibility fit into this management model? Having a clear purpose is undoubtedly the key to make it fit. And we have one: To change the world by changing the way food is produced, because we strongly believe that “not everything goes”.

But let’s go back to the environmental crisis. Europe is finally decided to become the first climatologically neutral continent by 2050

But such a purpose requires trained, skillful and active leaders, who are more sophisticated, complex and courageous. Leaders who would do anything to change the rules and “would never sell themselves” to the system.

We should start preparing those leaders, from their very first days at school up to the university, if we want to drive the change and “make things happen.” Projects such as the Farm to Fork Chair, organized in collaboration with the University of Almeria, the tutoring program at Kimitec’s MAAVi Foundation, and Weboost, our business incubator, are initiatives aimed at the development of this type of managers. This is really a hot topic for me, and I could write a full article on it.

A Climatologically Neutral Continent by 2050

But let’s go back to the environmental crisis. Europe is finally decided to become the first climatologically neutral continent by 2050.

Neutral: That’s the key word in Europe’s Green Deal. The European Commission’s choice of words for this long-term political program is everything but accidental. They call it “deal”, the same word the US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt chose for his successful recovery program after the Great Depression that followed the Crash of 1929. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” marked the origin of the “welfare state” concept, and saved American economy. But the European Commission has changed the first part of that name, to give their plan its own identity. The program also aims for Europe’s recovery after the last economic depression, though focusing this time on the environment (hence the green in this Green Deal).

Just as Roosevelt’s New Deal didn’t focus on economy or industry in general, but on the improvement of the living conditions of all citizens, and particularly of those in need, this European Green Deal is not aimed (despite its name) at improving nature in general, but the lives of all Europeans and Europe’s economy. The current president of the committee, Ursula von der Leyen, has made it cristal clear: “The European Green Deal is our new growth strategy, which will help to cut emissions and create jobs.”

But the Green Deal cannot be reduced to just a couple of words, to really understand what it means we need to consider the context. The program was conceived at the end of the last economic crisis, which left Europe quite damaged and other global leaders, such as China and the United States, way ahead of us, in the prominent position in which our continent once stood. A position that our old continent lost mainly due to its inherent lack of raw materials.

The Neuronal Revolution

For me, what we’ll try to do with this program is maximize the raw material Europe really brims with, and on which the Green Deal is based: NEURONS.

But what’s the reason for that excess of neurons in Europe? Precisely because of the scarcity we mentioned before, no doubt. When resources are scarce, other things start to flourish. Amancio Ortega or Jeff Bezos could easily attest to that!

The neuronal revolution stems from an imbalance or lack of resources, which has forced the European Commission to develop a new model called Green Deal… though it could indeed have been called neuronal revolution, because that’s what it is.

This smart positioning strategy acknowledges the fact that Europe has neither raw materials nor enough industrial capacity to compete against China and the US. And considering the ravaged planet we live in, which, inevitably, will remain here once we’re gone (the truth is that it doesn’t need us, but we DO need its resources), it is a much needed strategy.

European Commission moves towards organic farming with the European Green Deal's Farm to Fork programme

It’s, in short, a macroeconomic strategy aimed at the decarbonization, reduction of pollution and revaluation of by-products, so that we ultimately become the most climate-neutral continent by 2050.

Our revolution recognizes the need to preserve ecosystems, and the uselessness of economic profit without social welfare, proposing a shift towards a more responsible type of capitalism. But the whole strategy is doomed, destined to fail, as long as it doesn’t allow a realistic transition in one of our most strategic sectors: The agrifood industry.

European Food Supply at Risk

Don’t get me wrong, we do celebrate European policies supporting the type of responsible capitalism we’ve been leading since our inception, but the truth is that the European Commission’s roadmap towards organic farming and the reduction in the use of chemical pesticides and nitrogen fertilizers, set up in the Green Deal’s Farm to Fork program, will mean a 25% to 40% cut in the yield per hectare, jeopardizing food supply in Europe.

Why, you ask? Because if we grew just 50% of the available agricultural land under today’s “eco” regulations and with the current tools, in a few years, global agrifood prices would rise by 6% to 10%. A rise that would, consequently, have a significant impact on global inflation and family economy, bombarding our shopping basket right at its core: potatoes, carrots, peppers, etc.

The current organic farming model has proven uncompetitive, because no tools are available to make it as productive as the conventional model.

The motto is, therefore: “Pay the toll if you want to eat.” Apparently, the losses of the chemical industry must be suffered by consumers as well. Such a situation confirms that “stupidity has no limits”, because we can promote organic farming as much as we

want with public procurement measures; but, if we don’t encourage, at the same time, the development of new tools as effective as chemicals, productivity will fall and the price of food will rise.

Furthermore, the goal of reducing active chemical substances by 50% and nitrogen fertilizers by 20% should be accompanied by a change in the regulations, allowing to register natural solutions based on scientific advances, which are already present on the market, faster and according to specific requirements, different from those applied to chemical plant protection products. These natural solutions (biopesticides, bioinputs… whatever you call them) follow now the same registration procedure as other solutions based on the petrochemical or the agro-industry, which have been polluting our foods for 50 years.

The Real Alternative to Synthetic Chemicals in Agriculture

Thus, Europe is still trapped in a transparent cage, which prevents us from reaching a real alternative to synthetic chemistry in agriculture.

If the system does not come with a new set of regulatory measures, like those applied by other countries, to accelerate and alleviate the cost of the registration of bioinputs, we’ll be condemning European agriculture to inefficiency and making society still poorer… But hey, we’ll be “neutral” and “better fed”!

This scenario, so well thought-out for the sake of “this planet, which will remain here once we’re gone” is everything but convincing.

Nobody is wondering, apparently, what farmers will do after banning glyphosate, or how will they face the drop of crop productivity and the rising prices for daily consumers of bread or cooking oil.

Since agriculture has experienced its own dark age, invaded by chemicals, and needs to go back to greener times, we should really commit our neurons to facilitate registration from a regulatory point of view.

We completely support EU’s Farm to Fork strategy, but we are really missing a plan to accelerate the transition. In short, for us, the strategy still needs some sitting-upon if we want to make things happen.

“Food production should definitely be greener, more sustainable, and more profitable, but registration requirements should be lightened to reach the happy ending this story deserves.”

So let’s focus on the important things: If we are to promote agriculture’s transformation beyond a purely ecological model, that is, into a conventional model based on highly-effective natural inputs against pests, diseases and environmental stresses affecting crops, we need to develop natural solutions, which are also environmentally friendly and harmless to human health.

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