Food security – How will we feed 9 billion people in 2050?

Global food supply will have to double by the middle of the century to feed the world’s burgeoning population, and less arable land and water will be available for agricultural production. At the same time, crop yields may drop by up to 27 percent over the same period due to climate change, making achieving this goal that much more difficult.

What are the key issues the world faces in boosting agricultural production and what are the main areas of innovation that will be crucial to sustainable agriculture in a hotter, dryer, andmore crowded world?

What role is New Zealand best suited to play in agricultural development as we attempt to feed more people with fewer resources?

The Science Media Centre hosted a media briefing on-site and online from the Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference (ABIC) in Rotorua today,to explore these and other questions around food security and the role of biotechnology.

The ABIC conference brings together international visiting speakers and local experts to exchange ideas about the latest advances in agbiotech and discuss how technologies can be applied to global issues such as climate change, sustainability, food production and health and nutrition.

ABIC 2012 Conference – Food security – Science Media Centre (NZ) briefing from Science Media Centre NZ on Vimeo

Briefing Participants:

Dr Clive James, founded the not-for-profit charitable organisation International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAA) to facilitate knowledge sharing and the transfer of crop biotechnology applications from developed nations to benefit farmers in the developing world. Dr James holds a PhD from Cambridge University in the UK. He has spent the last 25 years living and working in the developing countries of Asia, Latin America and Africa with a focus on agricultural research and development issues and crop biotechnology.

Dr John Bedbrook, Vice President of DuPont Agricultural Biotechnology. Dr Bedbrook received his PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Auckland. He has been a Fulbright Scholar to Harvard Medical School and received fellowships Harvard University and the Plant Breeding Institute in Cambridge, England. Dr Bedbrook has published over 100 scientific papers and authored multiple issued U.S. patents.

Jack Bobo Senior Advisor for Biotechnology in the United States Department of State, with global responsibilities for the US in areas of trade policy, food security, climate change and development issues related to agricultural science and technology.

Dr Roger Beachy, former Chief Scientist in the US Department of Agriculture and Laureate of the Wolf Prize in Agriculture. Dr Beachy is an internationally respected expert in plant virology and biotechnology of plants who is known for groundbreaking research into virus-resistant plants.

Dr Tony Conner,  Science Group Leader – Forage Improvement, AgResearch. Dr Conner’s research career has focused on the applications of plant biotechnology and genomics  to crop improvement and the integration of these emerging technologies into plant
breeding programmes. He is a member of the Royal Society of New Zealand and the International Society for Biosafety Research and held previous positions as a senior scientist at Crop & Food Research and as a professor at Lincoln University.