With population growth and climate change high on the global agenda, the issue of ensuring healthy and sustainable food supplies for all is paramount. How to address these crucial issues is the focus of the recently launched N8 Agrifood Research Programme launch.
Bringing together big players from the food industry, leading supermarkets, DEFRA and the National Farmer’s Union, N8 Agrifood aims to promote collaboration between government, farmers, researchers, industry and academia to address the pressing need for a sustainable food system. This unique forum will bring together experts in plant biology, nutrition, soil health and waste and resource management.
The critical issues under examination by N8 Agrifood will have an impact on all areas of food production, including food security, public health and innovations in agriculture.
Sustainable Food Production
Taking a systems based approach to sustainable food production, N8 Agrifood will look at the use of pesticides and fertilisers, the surveillance and treatment of crop and animal disease and genomics.
Two billion people rely on rice as their staple crop. N8 researchers are currently involved in the search for rice strains that are both drought and submersion tolerant, to cope with the droughts and floods predicted as a result of climate change.
Resilient Supply Chains
In a changing world, guaranteeing food security and sustainability is a huge challenge, and resilient supply lines are key. N8 will consider the impact on nutrition, the environment and fair trade.
Improving Consumption and Health
N8 will also focus on dietary needs and public health through the SATIN research project. With the obesity crisis reaching epic proportions, this research examines the ingredients and processing methods that promote a feeling of ‘fullness’, and will assess the suitability of SATIN as a weight management tool.
The Environment Factor
N8 Agrifood focuses on every area of food production from farm to fork, with a particular emphasis on environmental impact. We all recognise the need to reuse and recycle precious resources. For example, you might consider investing in used food machinery to reduce your company’s environmental footprint. Companies like used food machinery specialists Clarke Fussells will guide you through the process of purchasing recycled equipment.
By creating one network of key players in the food industry, N8 Agrifood is aiming to produce multiple solutions to the challenges facing the 21st century food supply chain.