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Have your say on world food shortage

 

By Chris Elliott

Bad things are happening across the global food supply system. Some of them by accident, but some deliberately.

It's no longer any secret that food production in many places has been penetrated by criminals. Food fraud is costing the global economy billions of pounds every year - but there is another, more insidious cost, and that is to our health, both human and environmental.

One of the other, urgent problems facing agriculture is a rapidly growing population. If we keep doing things the way we are doing, we won't have enough food to feed the world by 2050.

Throw in complicating factors like climate change, chemical contaminants and Brexit ... and the problems can seem insurmountable.

But they're not. As a scientist, I see problems as things requiring solutions. These issues can't be tackled alone, however; they need concerted, international efforts.

This is why the Belfast Summit on Global Food Integrity is so important. From May 28 to 31, scientists, regulators, NGOs and folk from the food industry will fly into Belfast from all over the world to grapple with the serious challenges outlined above.

Opening the Belfast Summit will be Dr John Bell, a Dublin-born Oxford graduate (who, incidentally, did his PhD on the subject of Northern Ireland) who's now head of bioeconomy at the European Commission. He has some really exciting ideas about how we could be feeding ourselves by 2030.

Northern Ireland has one of the safest and most authentic food supply chains in the world.

This is something we can all be proud of and showcase to our many hundreds of foreign visitors. But it also means we have a responsibility not only to listen but to lead the debate.

I really want our local farmers, food producers/suppliers to be a part of the Belfast Summit. From knowing and working with so many of you, I believe you have a huge contribution to make. We have created a special reduced rate for local farm/food industry. Please join us for the big debate.

Professor Chris Elliott is Chair of the Belfast Summit on Global Food Integrity. To register, see http://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/ASSET2018Summit/

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