Rothamsted Research (RRes) will continue to play a major role in the provision of Food Security, contributing its full range of research. This includes improving crop protection, identifying and reducing environmental impacts, sustaining and enhancing soil quality, using conventional and GM technologies to improve quality and exploiting advances in mathematical modelling.
The current world population of 7 billion is projected to reach 9.3 billion by 2050, an average increase of over 160,000 people every day (1). Coupled with other factors, particularly people moving from rural livelihoods to cities, rising global temperatures and extreme weather events becoming more frequent, an enormous stress will be placed on our natural resources and therefore our ability to provide adequate nutritious food and to safeguard our environment through clean air, soil and water.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) forecasts that global food production will need to increase by over 40% by 2030, and 70% by 2050 (2). In addition, global demand for energy and water could double by 2050 (3). Even now in the second decade of the 21st century nearly one billion people are undernourished and food prices are at an all time high, with price volatility leading to socio-economic impacts, such as civil unrest.
Increased food production must be achieved whilst ensuring agricultural systems are sustainable with a reduced environmental impact. Agriculture already currently consumes 70% of total 'blue water' withdrawals from rivers and aquifers; has caused the degradation of about 24% of the 11.5 billion hectares of vegetated land on earth; and is estimated to contribute to 10 to 12% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser has concluded “The challenge for global agriculture is to grow more food on not much more land, using less water, fertiliser and pesticides than we have historically done”. We therefore need to conduct the necessary scientific research to be able to deliver “Climate-Smart” agriculture and “sustainable intensification” (4,5).
The Universities of Exeter and Bristol, in partnership with Rothamsted Research's North wyke Farm Platform have joined forces to tackle one of the biggest challenges facing humanity: how can we feed a growing population? www.fslra.ac.uk
Our strategy is closely aligned with the BBSRC's recently published Strategic Plan,, dovetailing into all three of its strategic research priorities on “Food security”; “Bioenergy and industrial biotechnology”; and “Basic bioscience underpinning health”. Consequentially our strategy also complements the UK Government's national policies on food and farming and the United Nations' strategic priorities.
Rothamsted Research works closely with the cross-Resaerch Council Programme on Food Security Global Food Security
1. World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division, 2011.
2. OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2009-2018. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 2009.
3. Foresight. The Future of Food and Farming: Final Project Report. Government Office for Science, 2011.
4. “Climate-Smart” Agriculture: Policies, Practices and Financing for Food Security, Adaptation and Mitigation. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 2010.
5. Reaping the Benefits: Science and the Sustainable Intensification of Global Agriculture. The Royal Society, 2009.
Operates two national networks for monitoring insect populations in the UK. More...
Provides the research community access to a range of in situ state-of-the-art instrumentation in hydrologically isolated fields and farms to better address key issues in sustainable agriculture. More...
A database of interactions between pathogens and their hosts maintained at Rothamsted Research with international input. More...
These have been running since the mid 19th Century, provide a unique experimental system and archive of soil and plant samples. More...
Rothamsted Research receives
strategic funding from the BBSRC
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