A food secure world: challenging choices for our north
6 April 2011
Queensland Parliament House, Brisbane
The Hon John Kerin, Chair of the Crawford Fund:
This conference will help provide pointers for decision-makers, researchers and farmers to good science. Supported by strong policy, this will help provide sufficient food for Australia’s growing population as well as for many millions of others around the world.”
The Hon Sallyanne Atkinson, Chair of the Queensland Committee:
At a time of significant devastation in Queensland, the resilience and strength of our farmers comes to the fore. This conference will show how Queensland is involved in international agricultural research and how we respond to change, innovation and to disaster.”
We hope you were able to join us at the Crawford Fund’s inaugural State Parliamentary Conference “A Food Secure World: Challenging Choices for our North” which was held in Parliament House, Brisbane on 6 April 2011.
It provided an opportunity to hear world and Australian specialists discuss issues around food security of particular relevance and topicality to Queensland and to learn, network and discuss key issues related to international agricultural research, development and training in the tropics.
- Conference speakers and presentations (biographies and presentations available soon)
- 2011 Queensland state parliamentary conference summary
by Professor Michael D’Occhio, Professor for Food Security, University of Queensland
Australia is the only developed country with extensive tropical regions, much of which is found in Queensland. While the rural industries in Queensland’s tropics are globally competitive, farmers in similar environments but in poorer nations are trying to eke out a living from agriculture as they overcome poverty, hunger and a degraded environment. Queensland researchers in tropical agriculture have much to offer our neighbours to assist them improve their livelihoods and, in so doing, much to gain through collaboration. There are opportunities and obligations as we all seek to make effective use of tropical lands for a food secure, sustainable and bio-diverse future. To what extent are these opportunities being seized, obligations met and what more needs to be done for positive outcomes for both Australia and our tropical neighbours?
The inaugural Crawford Fund State Parliamentary Conference was held in Parliament House, Brisbane on 6 April 2011. The title of the conference was A Food Secure World – Challenging Choices for our North.
It provided an opportunity to hear world and Australian specialists discuss issues around food security of particular relevance and topicality to Queensland as well as an opportunity to learn, network and discuss key issues and developments related to international agricultural research, development and training in the tropics.
In focusing on how Queensland and many developing countries are grappling with food production in the tropics, questions were raised of science, policy and production, some of them fraught and difficult. However, it was important at a time when Queensland and much of Australia faced a time of reconstruction after devastating droughts and then floods, that we celebrated the many achievements already brought through collaboration and also decided on the best way forward in the development of food and fibre production in northern Australia and in countries to Australia’s north.
Some of the issues addressed included:
- To what extent will food security be a problem in the tropics within the next 30 years and what will this mean for Australian industries and development?
- Can we afford to lock up northern Australia, or are sustainable opportunities available for a renewed northern food bowl?
- What contributions have Queensland scientists made in the past in tropical agriculture at home and internationally, across crops, livestock, NRM, fisheries, biosecurity, marketing and education, and what contributions can they make in the future?
- What is the latest R&D underway internationally that would complement work in Queensland and, like Queensland efforts, bring win-win results for Australia and the developing world?