Lucio Caracciolo: geopolitics, migrations and agri-food systems

Food and society

Lucio Caracciolo: geopolitics, migrations and agri-food systems

Lucio Caracciolo: geopolitics, migrations and agri-food systems

Geopolitics is in constant flux, due in part to the increasingly pressing issues of climate change and agri-food systems which are no longer able to ensure fair and sustainable development


Economic, environmental and social crises and the mass migrations arising from them are becoming commonplace in an increasingly complex global arena where effective collaboration among peoples can bring about the balance necessary to achieve sustainable development and peaceful coexistence. 

The BCFN spoke about these issues with Lucio Caracciolo, geopolitics expert, journalist and Head of Geopolitics at MacroGeo, an independent research body providing global geopolitical analysis and, as of this year, a scientific partner of the BCFN Foundation. Lucio Caracciolo, who will be taking part in the 8th edition of the BCFN Forum on food and nutrition in December 2017, analyses migrations from Africa, highlighting the close connection between displacement and sustainable development of the environment and agri-food systems.

How would you explain the “migrations emergency” which we have been hearing so much about in recent years?

Given the masses of people who are migrating, the first thing to point out is that migrations are a structural phenomenon and not the emergency that we are seeing played out in newspapers, blogs or on TV. It is something we need to tackle now, but it will undoubtedly be with us for the rest of our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren too. 


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Lucio Caracciolo, do food and the environment play a role in the migrations we are currently seeing, or are the causes simply linked to social instability?

They definitely play a role, because without the sustainable development of agri-food systems, we will be faced with increasingly serious food crises. There is a close and direct connection between food and migrations: many people are fleeing Africa and heading to Europe due to climate change and agricultural factors. The climate is changing, especially in central Africa: the deserts are expanding, the rainforests are in a state of crisis, and the sea levels are rising. All of this is forcing people to abandon their homeland where their ancestors have lived for generations to search for something better. 


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So, could the development of more efficient agri-food systems be a tool for stemming migrations?

In the African economy, agriculture is a relatively neglected sector in terms of investment. If China was not in such desperate need of African agri-food resources, there would be an even more serious shortage of investment in the sector. Europe should therefore be focusing much more on the agricultural sector, working to transform what is usually subsistence agriculture into an export sector, and above all to support supply chain production within these countries. We cannot continue importing raw materials from these countries to produce food here in the west. It would be much better to produce food where the raw materials are grown, thus boosting employment and stemming migrations to create more balanced and sustainable development. This would be advantageous for local communities, but would also benefit Europe by regulating and controlling flows of migration which are now commonly described as something we should be afraid of. 

Lucio Caracciolo, what strategies can be taken to best manage such a complex situation?

Communication plays a key role. The western media overexaggerates migration, describing it as an “invasion” or an “emergency”, but the numbers tell a different story. Migrations can be managed providing we all work together to achieve a common goal. 


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