Professor Shashi Sharma said commitment was essential to ensure that a human population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050 could be adequately fed for generations.
“Over the next 40 years, we will need an amount of food equivalent to all the food produced by the human race in the previous 10,000 years. Adding to this challenge is the fact that the majority of arable land is already in use and many of our practices are environmentally unsustainable,” Professor Sharma said.
“At the same time, we must be conscious of not losing what we have produced, which is a major and often overlooked area of concern.”
Professor Sharma said he was pulling together the research capabilities within Murdoch University while reaching out to potential global collaborators in order to develop strategies, tools and technologies to address food security along the entire food value chain.
He said research at Murdoch would take a ‘3-P’ approach: how to produce food in a sustainable manner; how to protect it from loss; and how to provide food for regions and communities in a bio-secure manner.
“The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations reports food lost or wasted globally to be around 1.3 billion tonnes of food per annum, which includes about four million tonnes wasted in Australia. Clearly this is indefensible from an environmental, economic and moral point of view,” Professor Sharma said.
“There is a compelling need to develop innovative approaches to ensure that improvements in yields are supported by strategies to minimise pre and post harvest food destruction caused by pests and diseases and food waste by the global community.
“I’m extremely encouraged by the dynamic research currently being done at Murdoch and believe the University is well placed to continue making a real difference to people’s lives in both the developed and developing worlds.
“Together we can build innovations to biosecurity and food security around the globe, from paddock to plate – including farming, storage, transportation, processing and attitudes in the kitchen – and I am looking forward to taking part in this journey.
“We have a great challenge ahead of us, but by drawing together local, national and global collaborators, we can accomplish great strides in food security for all and forever.”
For more on Professor Sharma, please go here.