During the past few weeks, empty supermarket shelves, without pasta, rice, and flour thanks to panic buying, have caused public concerns about the likelihood of running out of food. Australian farmers have reassured consumers saying that the country produces enough food to feed 3 times its population. However, will this statement remain true in ten to twenty years during a country severely suffering from climate change? the solution is yes, if we are prepared for this and if there’s continuous funding towards creating solutions to extend crop production.
“Australian plant scientists are punching above their weight by participating in global, interdisciplinary efforts to seek out ways to extend crop production under future global climate change conditions. We essentially got to double the assembly of major cereals before 2050 to secure food availability for the rapidly growing world population,” says ANU Professor Robert Furbank from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis (CoETP).
“It is analogous to finding an epidemic vaccine to unravel an epidemic, it doesn’t happen overnight. we all know that Australia’s agriculture goes to be one area of the planet that’s most suffering from climate extremes, so we are preparing to possess a toolbox of plant innovations able to ensure global food security during a decade approximately, but to try to do this we’d like research funding to continue,” Professor Furbank says.
Several samples of these innovative solutions were published recently during a special issue on Food Security Innovations in Agriculture within the Journal of Experimental Botany, including five reviews and five research articles.
Co-editor of the Special Issue, ANU Professor John Evans, says that this publication highlights the now widely accepted view that improving photosynthesis – the method by which plants convert sunlight, water and CO2 into organic matter – may be a new thanks to increasing crop production that’s being developed.
“We are performing on improving photosynthesis on different fronts, because the articles included during this special issue show, from finding crop varieties that require less water, to tweaking parts of the method so as to capture more CO2 and sunlight. we all know that there’s a delay of a minimum of a decade to urge these solutions to the breeders and farmers, so we’d like to start out developing new opportunities now before we run out of options,” says Professor Evans, CoETP Chief Investigator.
The special issue includes research solutions that range from traditional breeding approaches to ambitious gene-splicing projects using completely different ends of the technological spectrum; from robot tractors to synthetic biology. of these efforts are focused on finding ways to form crops more immune to drought and extreme climate conditions and being more efficient within the use of land and fertilizers.
“Our research is contributing to providing food security during a global context, and other people often ask what that has got to do with Australian farmers and my answer is everything. apart from the very fact that economy and agriculture are globally inter-connected if Australian farmers have a more productive resilient and stable crop variety, they’re ready to plan for the longer term, which turns into a far better agribusiness and at an equivalent time, ensures global security across the planet,” says Professor Furbank.