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The EFARD meeting from a Hungarian YPARDian’s point of view

It is always a challenge to be an invited delegate at an event and actively participate in the event because you feel the responsibility for learning the best practices, for representing your sending community, as well as for sharing something straightforward from your work with the hosting community. 

The lessons learnt from this years' EFARD technical and business meeting showed me clearly that promising steps appear towards a compromise solution for the apparent contradiction between local user’s led short-term development and the global sustainability driven long-term issues.

To begin with, the results of PAEPARD demonstrated how the successful solutions of some actual African problems was promoted by the Africa-Europe partnership. This effort helps to produce secure food for the local needs on one hand, as well as contribute to balanced, sustainable development against the conflicts, on the other. Another good sign is that EFARD tends to engage more with Eastern and Central European stakeholders from agricultural research for development (AR4D) and practice. This part of Europe has a quite good agro-environmental potential, but in a certain period the economy did not support the exploitation of these resources that led to importing against the local production. Considering the increasing need for the healthy food products, these countries must intensify production. In addition to the local supply of everyday goods with importing and exporting of specialties, in a longer time horizon we must export well elaborated end products to the countries of worse agro-environmental position. 

I participated partly as YPARD Hungary representative and partly as a researcher of Kaposvar University. Considering my dual role, as well as the above main focus of the meeting, my presentation focused on those topics of my work that represent actually developing applications with the involvement of young professionals something evident of the title of my presentation "Process model based decision support for multi-stakeholder water-food-energy-ecosystem networks - harmonization of local interests with global sustainability”. 

First, I introduced our general purpose quantitative modeling toolkit, which originally was developed for other fields, but according to the increasing demands, recently we have implemented and used it also for the computational model based support of agricultural and environmental decision making. Then I presented, four successfully implemented and ‘under development’ case studies from various levels of problem solving. In detail, I introduced a catchment basin level environmental management system, an interoperability level tracing and tracking application for trans-sectorial food chains, a complex process level ongoing design tool for Recirculating Aquaculture Systems and a plant level ongoing scheduling tool for dairy industry.Finally, in the outlook I showed a framework of how the systemic balance modeling of the individually developed mosaic elements can support the complex evaluation and development of food-water-energy-ecosystem processes for the more efficient decision making.

The additional outcomes of such meetings used to be the new contacts originated not only from the official parts, but also from coffee breaks and social events. However, in this case, the participation gave even more possibility to introduce our activity for the acknowledged professional community of EFARD. Furthermore, various people from various backgrounds presented their work, and sometimes the apparently irrelevant information flow can induce new thoughts and directions in our personal work after the meeting.