Securing the world’s food supply at the center of the international conference on agriculture – UQ News

Feeding the world’s growing population amid the ravages of climate change will be the focus of a major agriculture conference which kicks off today in Brisbane.

More than 1000 delegates from 53 countries gathered for this year TropAg International Conference being hosted by the University of Queensland.

UQ Professor of Protected Crops Paul PG Gauthier is one of six plenary speakers and will discuss the science of sheltered agriculture as a solution to mitigating the impact of climate change and supply chain disruption.

“Building a sustainable and reliable food production system is one of the greatest challenges facing the world,” said Professor Gauthier.

“Climate change, natural disasters, digital disruption, population growth and the pandemic all reinforce the need for agribusiness innovation in a rapidly changing landscape.”

Professor Gauthier said there were huge opportunities for Australia if, for example, it was able to produce off-season tropical and subtropical crops for the rest of the world.

“It’s really exciting and that’s what sheltered cultivation and vertical farming can deliver,” he said.

“My priority is to empower the next generation of farmers with a focus on tropical and subtropical crops, which is an emerging industry with a high growth rate.”

UQ Professor Henrietta Marrie AM will discuss his work on the development of traditional foods through the ARC Training Center for Unique Australian Foods.

Professor Marrie will tell delegates that while Australia has a growing bush food industry, not enough has been done to attract indigenous peoples to this market.

“In Australia, we need to cherish the indigenous peoples’ knowledge system and work on how to bring their food to the table in a way that exposes the varieties we have in Australia and how it can be part of the diet of everyone,” the professor said. said Mary.

“Traditional Australian foods were expected to be a million dollar market in the 1980s, and while those expectations were exceeded, it was mainly non-Aboriginal people who benefited.

Professor Marrie recently received a Discovery Grant from ARC to study Indigenous ethnobotanical knowledge to help support and promote First Nations economic self-reliance and sustainability.

The packed three-day conference schedule includes 240 presentations on four key themes: agribusiness, value chains and the bioeconomy, predictive farming, sustainable agrifood systems, healthy agriculture and food for healthy communities.

conference chairman and director of the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation Professor Matthew Morell said TropAg was a rare opportunity to hear from world-class scientists and industry experts.

“What we face is grim, but we have the skills, the technology and the science to face it head on,” Prof Morell said.

“Our scientists are at the forefront of world-changing technologies and making the most of game-changing changes in plant breeding, protected environments, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, all of which will be needed to address to the changing world and increasing demand for food.

The University of Queensland hosts TropAg in partnership with the Queensland Government through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

The conference will take place from October 31 to November 2, 2022 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

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Media: Natalie MacGregor, [email protected]; +61 (0)409 135651, Caroline Martin, [email protected]+61 (0)439 399 886.

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