27 September 2010

The future of the world's food supplies will be on the table tomorrow when the Global Change Institute hosts a public forum at Customs House.

The event opens a three-day Food Security Summit which sets out to define Australia’s role in feeding the global population, which is set to pass 9 billion by 2050.

Forum chair and GCI agri-food expert Professor Geoffrey Lawrence said food security was on the top of national and international agenda.

“As food prices over the next decade are expected to remain up to 45% higher than in the previous one, addressing the root cause of hunger – poverty – will be as important as finding technical solutions,” Professor Lawrence said.

GCI Food Security research focal area co-leader Professor Michael D’Ochhio said improved methods for growing cops and raising livestock would play an important role in securing the world's future food supplies, particularly in Australia.

“Currently Australia makes an important contribution to global food security and our exports feed about 40 million people outside Australia; the question is will it be able to continue to do so?” Professor D'Ochhio said.

Speakers at the forum include Malcolm Duthie, Gambia’s United Nations World Food Programme country director; David Crombie, National Farmers’ Federation president; Jagjit Plahe, an international political economist from Monash University, and science commentator and author Julian Cribb.

Based on the discussions at the Food Security Summit, GCI will forward recommendations for action to the Federal Government’s national reviews of food security. The document will also be widely circulated nationally and globally, and will form the basis of future food security-based research at the GCI.

The Global Food Futures Forum takes place at Customs House on September 28 from 5:30-7.00pm.

Media: Rob Mackay-Wood at the GCI (07 3346 9041, r.mackaywood@uq.edu.au)