NETHERLANDS - To meet the challenge of supplying the food needs of a growing world population, we are going to have to be smart and use all the tools we can. Some successful examples using partnerships and innovations were presented during Nutreco's AgriVision 2015 conference, reports Jackie Linden.
Bridging the gap in global food security through partnerships and innovation was the theme of the final session of the recent AgriVision 2015 conference.
The event, which addressed the challenges of meeting sustainably the future needs for animal proteins, was held in June in the Dutch coastal resort of Noordwijk aan Zee, organised by Nutreco and co-sponsored by DuPont, Evonik and Rabobank.
In his concluding remarks, Harm de Wildt, Managing Director of Nutreco’s Business Unit for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, confirmed his company’s commitment to technology as a solution to sustainable food security.
At the same time, he said, there is sometimes distrust between food producers and food consumers and so the conference theme – Bridging the Gap – can also be applied to the distance between science and society, business and consumers.
According to Mr de Wildt, the world is facing huge food security challenges and that could provide the spark to ignite conflicts.
“Without sustainable development, there is no progress. When you are poor, you use your skills to avoid hunger and people who are hungry cannot make progress,” he said.
Keynote speaker at AgriVision was Dr Madeleine Albright spoke on economy and security in the 21st century. She was the first woman to be appointed Secretary of State in the United States in 1997, serving until 2001.
Strategic Partnerships That Share Values Can Bring Trust
Andrew Saunders, Agricultural Director and Board Member of Tulip UK outlined the partnerships that exist between Dalehead Foods, ForFarmers and Waitrose, which have been operating for more than 30 years in a very challenging market.
The market conditions he described may not be applicable to all countries but these working relationships demonstrate the importance of partnership, mutual trust and shared values.
Without trust commitment and transparency, there is no true and productive partnership, he said.
Nature Conservation Can Open Markets
Marc Diaz, Director of Naturevest for The Nature Conservancy, described how his organisation
works together with companies to build business cases for conservation projects that ultimately benefit the company, the environment and society at large.
The Nature Conservancy is one of the world’s oldest and largest environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Mutual trust and insights into the values and opportunities for business are among the most important ingredients in successful partnerships, according to Mr Diaz.
Using Science to Optimise Business
Partnerships are also an indispensable part of technology development, said Viggo Halseth, Chief Innovation Officer for Nutreco. Using LifeStart as an example, he presented the Company’s way of working – namely a shift from a product focus to providing total nutritional-based solutions.
Progress is being accelerated through science-based solutions to bridge the gap between science and industry as well as between different industry partners, he said.
Mr Halseth emphasised the need to think ahead to grasp the opportunities. If we are to tackle the challenges we face 10 years from today, we need to start to innovate today, he said.
Precision Livestock Farming Can Create Value
Professor Daniel Berckmans of the University of Leuven in Belgium presented a number of
examples of the opportunities Precision Livestock Farming offers to the livestock sector.
He showed how sensor technology can be used to monitor biological responses. This is already applied in fields as diverse as football and racing drivers as well as livestock production.
There were promising examples of how technology can help us make livestock production more sustainable, for example, through the early detection of health problems.
How to Build a Smarter Planet
Last but not least on the AgriVision 2015 programme, Djeevan Schiferli, Practice Leader at IBM Interactive Experience and Digital Strategy, showed how information technology can contribute to global food security.
He described a number of game-changing developments in the handling of Big Data from recent years.
Top image via Shutterstock