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The challenge

More sustainable and profitable farming

To feed the world's population and support national economies and rural livelihoods, we need to continue finding innovative solutions for agriculture, land use and food security. At the same time, there are challenges of resource competition, degradation and climate change. These are challenges for both Australian and global producers of food and food processing industries, small and large.

Photo courtesy of ILRI ©  International Livestock Research Institute

Boosting production alone will not be enough to maintain a healthy population; we also need to increase the availability of nutritious food. In 2016, two billion people suffered from micronutrient deficiencies and two billion were overweight or obese.

Agricultural production and deforestation are major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions (about 25 per cent in 2010) but there is also potential for agriculture to reduce its emissions and sequester carbon dioxide. There is strong demand for science-based approaches to emission reductions across the value chain.

An increasing middle class in Asia combined with the rapid globalisation of food systems is changing Australia's agricultural relationship with its regional neighbours, with new opportunities emerging for collaboration in agricultural knowledge and services across research, business and innovation systems.

Our response

Innovative, appropriate and targeted solutions

We are taking an integrated approach to addressing many of the challenges facing Australian and global agriculture, including the following.

  • Providing expertise in participatory design, and value chain analysis that contribute to research for development and policy platforms.
  • Researching how agriculture and food systems can transform to achieve sustainable diets for all, contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Researching global land use and the economic context in which food is produced through contributing to global integrated assessments and international research initiatives.
    Photo courtesy of ILRI ©  International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
  • Developing technologies and practices to reduce and account for greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation potential across the value chain.
  • Providing practical adaptation strategies that will ensure the long term viability of rural enterprises and communities threatened by climate change.
  • Providing in-depth knowledge of systems and innovation to help partners target interventions that deliver the greatest impact.
  • Identifying challenges and opportunities for innovation in agri-food systems.
  • Brokering partnerships across agri-food research and business.

A range of solutions and contributions are needed across the public and private sectors, from biotechnology to implementing ecological principles into agricultural systems. Our research aims to create opportunities for agriculture internationally that helps deliver on the global sustainable development goals and positions Australian agriculture and agricultural research to prosper in a rapidly changing world.

For more information on our work, visit Agriculture and Global Change.

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