Tag: research

The need for science in food security

In this video blog, Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Simon Coveney makes a case for research from the Oxford Farming Conference.

Simon Coveney

“My name is Simon Coveney, I am the Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine and I am here at the Oxford Farming Conference today with a very clear message about the importance of the linkage between science and agriculture and the agri-food industry generally.

The reality is that we have an enormous challenge, but also an enormous opportunity for this sector over the next 10-50 years, because globally we have to find a way of producing significantly more food from the same, in fact less, natural resources as we see the availability of agricultural land shrink by about a percentage a year.

And at the same time we see the consumption demand for food dramatically increasing.


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Linking and clever thinking

Innovation is a critical part of solving global food security challenges, and presents business opportunities too, says Calum Murray.

Calum Murray

But, if the UK economy is to maintain its own food security and  benefit from the potential  global commercial opportunities that will prevail, we need to ensure that the business base both exists and is adequately supported.

As the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board understands that breaking down the barriers to innovation can be hard; these might include a traditional mind set, policy and regulatory hurdles, available expertise or adequate funding.

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Food insecurity and nutrition

New insights are needed for an age-old problem, says Sara Kirk.

Sara Kirk

A recent survey (PDF) undertaken for the Global Food Security programme has revealed that more than half the UK population felt that ‘food security is not an issue that affects me, rather it’s more a problem for people in developing countries’.

This finding is notable when considered in the light of comments by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier de Schutter, who condemned Canada over what he saw as unacceptable rates of food insecurity in that country, where one in ten families with a child under six is unable to meet their daily food (PDF) needs.
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A paper that details the scope of the food security challenge provides useful insights, says Janet Allen.

An interesting and potentially very useful contribution to the thinking and discussion around food security has appeared in the form of an open access paper The top 100 questions of importance to the future of global agriculture.

It is too easy to be sceptical and say what we need are 100 answers, but if you start with good questions you are more likely to generate good answers. The questions in this paper were produced by a wide consultation process involving 45 institutions and finally 55 authors based in 21 countries.
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