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World Food Day: our actions are our future

World Food Day: our actions are our future
Intelligent Growth Solutions
“The UK production system is a legacy of the shift in the second half of the 20th century to strive for greater food productivity. Along with this progression and massive uplift in food production, there has been an increasing gulf developed between primary agriculture and the consumer, and people have become very disconnected from how their food is produced"

Our actions are our future. That is the theme of this year’s World Food Day, which highlights the global goal of zero hunger by 2030. With over 820 million people suffering chronic undernourishment and with that number on the rise, the world needs everyone now more than ever to join forces to eradicate hunger.

While much of the world struggles with food security, here in the UK the food we consume is the cheapest in Western Europe – and we spend the third lowest proportion of our income on food of anyone in the world. Considering changing global climate and the changing face of global trade post-Brexit we may also soon need to consider where our food comes from and how we can lead more sustainable lifestyles.

Professor Derek Stewart, agri-food sector leader at the James Hutton Institute, said: “The UK production system is a legacy of the shift in the second half of the 20th century to strive for greater food productivity.  Along with this progression and massive uplift in food production, there has been an increasing gulf developed between primary agriculture and the consumer, and people have become very disconnected from how their food is produced.

“Food has become a commodity to be bought and eaten based on cost. This has seen a prolonged undervaluation of food that gets us to where we are today. The consequences of Brexit could be that cheap importation could end and that UK-sourced raw materials and primary produce may be relatively more expensive with a knock-on effect of more expensive processed food from bread through to ready meals.”

At the James Hutton Institute, we are working to increase food security both globally and at home in the UK. Our scientists are undertaking potato genetics research to breed new cultivars that maximise yield, quality and nutritional value. With the potato being the world’s fourth largest food crop, this research is incredibly valuable for increasing food security across the world.

We also work extensively with barley, the dominant arable crop in Scotland, which is increasingly important as we come to rely more on UK based primary produce. The James Hutton Institute is working with the University of Dundee and industry leaders to develop the International Barley Hub, to be hosted at the Institute’s Dundee site. The Hub will be an internationally recognised centre for the training and development of skills in barley research, as well as a platform to translate research into practical commercial benefits for industry.

The James Hutton Institute’s Dundee site is the location of Scotland’s first state-of-the-art vertical indoor farm, unveiled by agritech business Intelligent Growth Solutions. The demonstration facility utilises ground-breaking, patented power and communications technologies to address key challenges facing the indoor farming industry. The collaboration between Intelligent Growth Solutions and the James Hutton will enable the indoor farming industry to benefit from a greater level of research, bringing knowledge and understanding in digitising crop growth.

Vertical farming offers huge reductions in water wastage, the elimination of the use of pesticides and a huge reduction in food miles. It allows produce to be grown locally and on demand, which could reduce fresh food waste by up to 90 per cent.

World Food Day is an opportunity for us to step back and look at how we produce and process food. It isn’t just about providing food to those in developing countries; it is also about making ourselves more sustainable and productive at home. 

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


Printed from /news/world-food-day-our-actions-are-our-future on 20/11/18 01:47:00 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.