Expert urges worldwide rethink on food supplies

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The global food industry faces a number of problems
Dr Shenggen Fan ... small farmers need to be linked with markets and value chains

Global food systems can no longer rely on “business as usual”, according to an internationally renowned economist visiting The University of Queensland this week.

Dr Shenggen Fan, Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute, will speak at a UQ School of Economics seminar tomorrow on the increasing challenge of feeding the world at a time of rising food demand and global interconnectedness.

Food price volatility, natural resource constraints, rising agriculture and food diseases, food-fuel competition and climate change were some of the problems facing the global food industry, Dr Fan said.

“A rethinking of the global food system is imperative to build resilience and sustainability into the system,” he said.

“Moreover, the coexistence of hunger and under-nutrition alongside the increasing problem of too many people who are overweight and obese signifies the widening gap between food systems and best-practice nutrition and health. “

Dr Fan said his seminar would encourage a focus on nutrition and on a transformation of smallholder agriculture by linking small farmers to markets and value chains.

“Now is the time to plan for the future,” he said.

“Investing in resource-efficient agricultural technologies; facilitating open, transparent and fair agricultural trade; supporting resource rights; addressing food loss and waste; and promoting healthy diets will promote a global food system that improves food security and nutrition and ensures environmental sustainability.”

Dr Fan has been IFPRI Director General since 2009 and also serves as Vice-Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Food and Nutrition Security. 

This year, he received the Hunger Hero Award from the World Food Programme in recognition of his commitment to and leadership in fighting hunger worldwide.

The UQ School of Economics will host Dr Fan’s free seminar, Rethinking the Global Food System.

EVENT DETAILS: Tuesday 19 August, 2014; 10am – 11am (arrive by 9.45am). Auditorium, Level 2 (Room 212), Sir Llew Edwards Building (14). Admission is free, but please reserve your place here.

Contact: UQ School of Economics, Alysha Hilevuo, 07 3365 4959, a.hilevuo @uq.edu.au, Louise West, louise.west@uq.edu.au ph +61 3365 4482.

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