Second Murdoch Commission visits India for food security forums

April 2, 2015

Dr Ravinder Kaur, Director Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Professor John Edwards, Co-Chair of the Second Murdoch Commission

Dr Ravinder Kaur, Director Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Professor John Edwards, Co-Chair of the Second Murdoch Commission

Key stakeholders with power and interest in India’s food and agriculture sectors came together in March as part of the Second Murdoch Commission on food security.

The Second Commission – Food Security, Trade and Partnerships: Western Australia in regional food systems – was launched in Perth last October at the first of five regional Asian meeting rounds.

The Commission met with senior Indian representatives of multinational food and agricultural businesses, the Indian government, a range of Non Government Organisations (NGOs) active in the region, university and think tank delegates.

Leading the second regional series of meetings in Delhi from March 1-5 were Commission Co-Chairs Professor Mely Caballero Anthony, a renowned regional security and Asian politics expert who heads up the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore; and Murdoch Emeritus Professor John Edwards, an animal sciences expert now based in China as Coordinator of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases.

The Co-Chairs were supported throughout the meetings by Indian Commission member Dr Rajeev Malhotra, Executive Director, Centre for Development and Finance, OP Jindal Global University, who helped secure high level attendees at the forums over five days.

Speaking on their return from the India, the Co-Chairs said the meetings provided the Commission with a good understanding of the unique challenges and strategies being deployed in India around food security, with impacts on both the economy and poverty.

“Our experience in India was very positive with delegates to the meetings very open and eager to share their views,” Professor Caballero Anthony said.

“We were fortunate to meet with some very senior people with a great deal of experience and direct influence on the sectors essential to food security, and their input will be most important for the Commission’s final report.”

Professor Edwards said that a particularly exciting part of the hectic meeting schedule was the time devoted to round-table forums for young professionals in agriculture.

“Discussions with these young leaders were really useful and lively, with a free exchange of views on a range of issues from self-sufficiency, farm production and food supply chains to trade and investment and agricultural research and development,” he said.

“They were very optimistic and seemed a bit more adventurous and open to the use of new technologies and advancements for food production.”

Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Taggart said he looked forward to reading the Commission’s final report and recommendations.

“As Murdoch positions itself as a key international research hub for agriculture, food production and security, the Second Murdoch Commission’s findings will be particularly relevant to our world renowned researchers.”

The next regional meeting round will take place in China in April.

Second Murdoch Commission Background:

  • The Commission will run until October this year and will produce, by the end of the year, an independent, evidence-based analysis report of key food security challenges in the region, with policy recommendations to address these challenges.
  • Key Commission themes include regional and global food security systems, farm production and food supply chains, trade and investment, agricultural research and development, and WA’s role in regional food systems.
  • Membership of the Commission comprises 12 leading figures in the food security space with expertise in agriculture, economics, policy, government and business from Singapore, China, Vietnam, Japan, India and Australia.
  • The Commission combines Murdoch University’s research strengths with the international expertise of its Commissioners and is a practical demonstration of the University’s commitment to apply scholarly research to significant real-world problems.

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