Global Travel Media » Blog Archive » Man from Mars races to save Earth from malnutrition – Day 2 Global Table

Home » Conferences » Currently Reading:

Man from Mars races to save Earth from malnutrition – Day 2 Global Table

September 5, 2019 Conferences No Comments Email Email

THE pace of climate change is much faster than our response, warned celebrated American agricultural scientist Dr Howard-Yana Shapiro in Melbourne yesterday.

Current agricultural practices were destroying ecosystems throughout the world yet failing to feed an ever-growing global population, said Dr Shapiro.

Dr Shapiro made the remarks in his keynote address on the second day of the inaugural Global Table conference, a three-day food innovation and agribusiness summit bringing global industry leaders and innovators from the Asia-Pacific, America, Europe and the Middle East together in Melbourne to discuss the future of food.

“I’m not sure we have that much time any more,” said Dr Shapiro. The chief agricultural officer of food company Mars Incorporated, Dr Shapiro is a globally recognised expert on sustainable agricultural and agroforestry systems, plant breeding, molecular biology and genetics. “We use so much land for agriculture but we are not even close to feeding the planet.”

He painted a grim picture of the toll of unsustainable agriculture.

“Food production is the biggest threat to our planet – 70 per cent of the biodiversity loss, 70 per cent of the fresh water use, 25 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions come directly from that. Eighty-five per cent of the marine stocks are exploited.”

Agriculture was also responsible for the most chemical use, while 50 per cent of the topsoil had been lost. “People say it takes 200 years to make an inch of topsoil,” he added.

The data he referenced on food waste were equally alarming with 1.5 quadrillion kilocalories lost in food that is wasted every year and 45 trillion gallons of water.

“It’s unconscionable to waste that much of anything,” he said.

Dr Shapiro warned food needed to be urgently improved for nutrition to feed the planet while minimising the impact on climate change.

“Let’s breed plants that are more nutritious, that are higher-yielding, that are resilient to climate change, resistant to pests and disease and water and nutrient sufficient,” he said.

The levels of stunting due to malnutrition in 37 per cent of children under five in rural Africa (the rate in rural India is 48 per cent, and 7 per cent in the US) inspired Dr Shapiro to form the African Orphan Crops Consortium to sequence, assemble and annotate 101 of the key African food crops in order to breed more nutritious plants.

One of the most popular sessions at the Global Table conference today examined the future of Australia’s budding plant-based food market.

Thinktank for alternative proteins, Food Frontier, released a Deloitte Access Economics report it had commissioned on the promising opportunities for plant-based foods, which could contribute up to $3 billion to Australia’s economy and generate thousands of jobs by 2030.

The report revealed Australia’s plant-based meat sector currently generates almost $30 million in economic value, $150 million a year in consumer expenditure and supports 265 jobs.

It forecast that by 2030 the sector could grow to generate $1.1 billion in economic value, almost $3 billion in consumer expenditure and create more than 6,000 jobs, under a moderate forecast model.

Food Frontier CEO Thomas King said if Australia acted quickly it had the opportunity to be at the forefront of a booming global industry driven by consumers seeking healthier and sustainable alternatives to meat.

“As Australia heads into an economically uncertain period and with the government seeking to stimulate growth in high-value sectors in addition to their commitment to make food and fibre a $100 billion business by 2030, plant-based proteins offer an incredible opportunity to boost the economy,” Mr King said to a packed crowd of food and agriculture industry leaders.

“Australia has an opportunity to lead in this new and growing global food sector,“  he said. “Our nation can and must leverage our strengths, our intellectual capital, our infrastructure to create value for farmers and businesses and to create more locally produced, delicious and nutritious products for consumers.”

Comment on this Article:

Platinium Partnership



Premier Partnership Sponsors


Official Media Event Partner


Global travel media endorses the following travel Publication




%d bloggers like this:
%d bloggers like this: