Great opportunities ahead

Knowledgeable man: Professor Paul Moughan, director of the Riddet Institute in New Zealand and director of the Gardiner Foundation.

OVER the next 30 years there will be an unprecedented demand for food, fuelled by rapid world population growth.

There is a huge opportunity for Australia to supply more food and especially more protein to the world.

It is estimated that by 2050 the world will need 80 per cent more food than today. Most of the increased demand will come from Asia with a dramatic shift to higher-protein foods.

In delivering an address to industry leaders recently on The global competitive advantage of the Australian Dairy Industry, Distinguished Professor Paul Moughan said the future will be led by science and of great significance will be its application to agriculture.

He is a director of the Riddet Institute in New Zealand and director of the Gardiner Foundation, and spoke at a reception in Queen’s Hall, Parliament House, hosted by the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, Peter Walsh MP.

Professor Moughan said the Victorian dairy industry, the state’s largest rural industry with a gross value of raw milk production of around $2.5 billion per year, accounting for two thirds of national milk production, can be a significant beneficiary of these opportunities to supply high protein foods to world markets.

Production of the extra food the world requires will not be automatic, nor will it be easy, particularly in the face of dwindling world farmland, water, fertiliser and fossil fuel reserves, a warming climate and environmental degradation, he said.  This is where science and technology will be crucial.

Professor Moughan said: “I have a vision of a science-led industry adding value to its unique raw material to produce specialised food ingredients and premium branded food products targeted particularly to our Asian neighbours, many of these products addressing nutrition and health.

”We do not need re-structures, just as we do not need more plans.  What we do need is to create incentives to achieve critical masses of interdisciplinary research.”

Demand for protein – particularly milk-sourced protein – will soar as Asia becomes home to “the biggest middle class the world has ever known.

“Farming needs to perceive itself as a high-tech industrialised biological economy.  It needs to support science and embrace science for what is going to be a very bright future,” Professor Paul Moughan said.

That future needs more talent, Professor Moughan warned.

“The new order is doing to need more agricultural science, food technology, food engineering and nutrition and health graduates, reversing a steady decline in enrolments in those disciplines over the last decade,” he said.



Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=7152

Posted by on May 14 2013. Filed under Rural News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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