"The challenge ahead involves both fighting climate change and providing nutrition for a planet that will soon be home to 10 billion people. The bioeconomy, which encompasses the production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food, feed and bio-based products, can play a major role in achieving both," said Mindaugas Maciulevičius and Udo Hemmerling, rapporteurs of the EESC opinion Updating of the Bioeconomy Strategy, adopted on 15 May. 

Sustainability principles are essential for a 'new' bioeconomy and natural resources have to be preserved in order to remain productive.

SMEs play a major role in the bioeconomy. In order to increase their contribution, they need better advice and access to finance. It is essential to set up individual and flexible advisory services to help agri-food SMEs launch long-term, innovative projects. In addition, public-private cooperation could play a major role in enhancing efficiency and triggering the exchange of knowledge, expertise and best practices.

Linkages between different areas – urban-rural, rural-rural, land-sea – could contribute to sustainable bioeconomy value chains and clusters, and would particularly help central and eastern European countries increase their output and thus boost growth and jobs, especially in rural areas. This region is rich in biomass due to extensive activities in the fields of agriculture, forestry and fishery, with high, but under-utilised, biomass capacity. (sma)