5 March 2015
SCI's Thames and Kennet Regional Group
Godalming, Charterhouse School
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This talk will be delivered by Dr David Evans Former Head of R&D Syngenta.
For over a century in wealthy countries, food has been increasingly plentiful. Both its quality and variety have increased in terms of nutrition and appearance. At the same time the proportion of income required to pay for it has declined. The availability of good, wholesome food has contributed to a very significant increase in life expectancy. This success has been possible only through many innovations in science and technology. However, everything that has been achieved is at risk over the next decades.
The relentless increase in global population coupled with increases in living standards and food preferences, particularly in emerging economies, means that we shall need to produce roughly twice as much food in the next fifty years. However, the additional land area available for agriculture is far less. There are several challenges that will require major investment in order to provide the crop yields that food security demands. These include the emergence of new pests and diseases, and particularly the development of resistance to existing crop protection treatments. The regulatory framework that provides the licence to apply new treatments is frequently influenced by public perceptions, often fuelled by uninformed sensationalist media, rather than by good science and data.
So shall we go hungry? Food security is a formidable challenge - "a perfect storm" in the view of the UK Government's last Chief Scientist. So...... maybe!
Tel: +44 (0) 1483 291713
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