Food science needs support, Tory meeting will hear

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food security

The government must address food security by strengthening support for scientific innovation, experts will argue at a forthcoming Conservative Party...

The government must address food security by strengthening support for scientific innovation, experts will argue at a forthcoming Conservative Party conference event in Manchester on October 8.

fGareth Edwards-Jones, Professor of Agriculture and Land-use Studies at the University of Wales, Bangor, and one of the panel speakers at the event, The Perfect Storm: tackling the global food security crisis​, said: “If you want food security you have to have good food science.
“The policies of the 1980s have led to a loss of capacity in agriculture and food science. Further cuts seem inevitable, so by 2050, which is when the worst-case climate change scenario is expected to hit, there won’t be any capacity.”
Professor Edwards-Jones said funding for applied research in areas such as food science and agriculture had been severely weakened by successive governments in the past 30 years. Yet this was now desperately needed to develop new technologies and practices to help tackle climate change.
Dominic Dyer, panel chair and chief executive of the Crop Protection Association, said: “We can’t shut our eyes to the issues surrounding crop protection, biodiversity, food security and climate change. Science must influence the decision-making process.
“Manufacturers have a huge challenge. We have lived in an era of cheap, surplus food. This is going to change. Supermarkets still offer a massive choice in food variety. From this point, prices will increase and choice will go down.
“The government is trying to think ahead. We need to model what the world’s resources are going to look like in terms of energy, land and resources. Certain areas of the world won’t be as productive as they are now. The food chain needs to work with government to look at how it works in these sorts of climates.”