Paolo De Castro is 58 years old and is currently Professor of Agricultural Economics and Policy at the University of Bologna. After having obtained the university degree in Agriculture and Food Sciences at the University of Bologna, he completed a period of specialization in food systems economics at the Washington State University in Pullman (US). His academic career has been full of awards, both nationally and internationally. These include two honorary degrees (in Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cluj-Napoca (RO), and in Nutritional Sciences and Technologies at the University of Basilicata (IT)) and the Titulo de Gran Cruz de la Orden al Mérito Agrario y Pesquero Alimentario received from the King of Spain Juan Carlos I.
Professor Paolo De Castro is author of over 150 scientific publications: particularly mentioned are his scientific contributions on the issue of food security and the role of international trade in the development of modern society. On these topics he has published various essays, some of which are translated in several languages, such as “The European agriculture and new global challenges” (Donzelli, 2010), “The politics of land and food scarcity” (Hearthscan Routledge, 2012 ), “Comida, el desafio global” (Eumedia, 2015).
The scientific career of Professor Paolo De Castro has been further enriched not only by the participation in numerous international scientific committees, such as the Chairmaship of the Scientific Committee of the International Center for Advanced Studies on Agriculture Mediterranean (CIHEAM), but also by managerial roles, among which the presidency of the Institute of Economic Studies Nomisma.
Paolo De Castro served for three times as Minister of Agriculture of his country, and was vice- president of the Committee on Agriculture and Agri-food Production of the Senate of the Italian Republic. Between 2000 and 2002 he was also special adviser to the president of the European Commission, Prof. Romano Prodi.
Paolo De Castro is a member of the European Parliament since July 2009. He chaired the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development from 2009 to 2014, leading the European Parliament’s negotiating team during the whole reform process of the Common Agricultural Policy for the 2014/2020 period. Re-elected in July 2014, Paolo De Castro is now Vice-Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. In 2014 he was designated permanent rapporteur for EXPO Milano 2015; in this role, Paolo De Castro has encouraged the establishment of the European Union steering committee that coordinated the EU activities for the Universal Exhibition and contributed to the drafting of the Charter of Milan. His commitment to the issues of food security and agricultural development is shown not only through the many contributions made in the legislative work of the European Union, but also by the recent initiative that he inspired and coordinates: the Parliamentary Alliance “Fight against Hunger”, established in collaboration with FAO and with other parliaments in the world, which engages a group of Members of the European Parliament to develop proposals and actions to raise awareness and sharing on the theme of food security. Paolo De Castro was also designated standing rapporteur for the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the United States (TTIP).
The combination of scientific, managerial and political experiences, coupled with a deep knowledge of the international relations, has allowed Prof. Paolo De Castro to gain a detailed understanding of the functioning of food systems and on the issues of agricultural development. His competence is internationally recognized and attested by the many contributions made, both as a speaker and as an author, within the highest international institutions dealing with food and agriculture.