Agricultural research is key to tackling the global food crisis

As the global community grapples with climate change, rising hunger and poverty, water scarcity, conflict, and zoonotic diseases like COVID-19, the role of research and Agricultural innovation has never been more critical.

This year’s largest gathering of global food safety experts, hosted by the Australian Center for

International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), is underway in Brisbane with over 100 leaders working together to address the worsening food crisis.

The chair of the Australian Commission for International Agricultural Research and president of the National Farmers Federation, Ms Fiona Simson, said Australia had a key role to play.

“Food security exists when all people have physical and economic access to sufficient and nutritious food. Climate change, conflict and COVID-19 have reversed gains made over the past decades, leaving 690 million people going hungry every day.

“With our agricultural innovation systems and long experience of climate extremes and volatility, Australia has strong and diverse expertise that can help address these challenges, many of which we share with our neighboring countries.

“For this reason, the Commission is organizing a series of dialogues focusing on transformative food system options that require urgent global support through international research and development collaboration,” said Ms Simson.

Among the participating leaders are the Chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Sunny Verghese; Vice President for Sustainable Development, World Bank, Dr. Juergen Voegele; CGIAR Executive Director Dr. Claudia Sadoff; Australian Agriculture Special Representative Su McCluskey and icipe Director General Dr Segenet Kelemu.

Australia is also hosting for the first time a meeting of the supreme body of the CGIAR, the world’s largest agricultural innovation network.

Since 1982, ACIAR has managed the government’s investment, which currently amounts to A$20-25 million per year and helps support the 9,000 CGIAR scientists, including many Australian scientists, in nearly 90 countries. .

CGIAR Director General Dr Claudia Sadoff is in Australia for the 17th CGIAR System Council

Meet.

“Across the Asia-Pacific region, Australian investments have been critical in supporting innovations that have led to large-scale improvements in livelihood food and nutrition security.

“Our partnership with Australia brings significant benefits to both parties, as lessons learned from our work around the world can bring benefits at home while also providing an important opportunity to contribute globally to the Sustainable Development Goals. “, said Dr. Sadoff.

Improving food security and alleviating poverty among smallholder farmers and rural communities in the Indo-Pacific region is the primary objective of ACIAR, the Australian government agency specializing in agricultural research for the development.

ACIAR CEO, Professor Andrew Campbell, says we have no shortage of ideas and inventions to meet the challenges ahead.

“We need to change our practices to achieve large-scale impact faster.

“Collaborative research and co-invested capacity building will be key to addressing the food crisis. We hope to see many opportunities to strengthen partnerships and transform agri-food systems emerge from this week’s discussions,” said Professor Campbell.

Parallel meetings of the Australian Commission for International Agricultural Research and the Policy Advisory Council, which advise the Foreign Secretary on food security issues, are also underway, alongside the TropAg International Agricultural Conference.

Learn more about ACIAR’s investment in CGIAR.

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Lana T. Arthur