Producing strategies to help feed the world

Friday, 28 June 2013

University of Adelaide economics and food policy experts are leading a push to develop effective policy and strategies for food security.

The University has been hosting a meeting in Medan, Indonesia, of delegates from developing economy members of APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), debating one of the big questions of the decade: 'how to feed the world?'

Organised together with Bogor Agricultural University, one of the University of Adelaide's key partners in Indonesia, the meeting was sponsored by AusAid, the Australian Government's overseas aid program.

Today delegates agreed a number of key recommendations to be reported to APEC officials and policymakers, including reference to nutrition, trade policy and value chains.

"This meeting was designed to challenge thinking about food security" says Professor Christopher Findlay, Executive Dean of the University of Adelaide's Faculty of the Professions, and meeting Chair.

"It is important to break down the goal of food security into more specific objectives, and design policies and strategies for each one. In this way, we will get a better result."

The meeting is part of the University's growing program of work on food security and its outcomes are expected to have a significant impact. Presenters were drawn from the University's extensive collaborator network of think tanks and research centres in East Asia.

Key recommendations include the value of focussing not just on the volume of food produced but also on its nutritional value. Delegates agreed that too many policies are based on a narrow view of food security, and end up supporting production of food which is now less valuable to consumers.

"Good policy in this area is important for South Australia," says Professor Findlay. "Australia wants to help meet the growth in demand for clean and green food in East Asia and that depends on good policy leading to open markets for food and free flows of investment. That also contributes to food security."

Another of the big issues in this topic is the design of the chains linking farmers with consumers.

Associate Professor Wendy Umberger, Director of the University's Global Food Studies, says the contribution of a more efficient system to food security is not given enough attention. "Some estimates are that at least 20% of food is wasted between farmgate and the consumer in developing economies," she says.


Contact Details

Professor Christopher Findlay
Executive Dean
Faculty of the Professions
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3986

Professor Wendy Umberger
Executive Director, Centre for Global Food and Resources
Faculty of the Professions
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 7263
Mobile: 0405 990 465

Ms Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084