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Bridging the gap on climate change

Japan is embracing climate-smart technologies and practices for sustainable agriculture; and Agri-EPI is now helping to advance this for global benefits. 

At Defra’s invitation, Agri-EPI’s CTO Shamal Mohammed attended an international workshop in Tokyo on scaling up these technologies in early November, where he presented several case studies on bridging the gap between science, technology and farming.  

The key case study – the Satellite Farm Network – aims to increase the use of smart technologies to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change, he says. This fits nicely with the SmartFarm concept being rolled out in China through Innovate UK – something in which the deputy director from the Ministry of Agriculture of Japan showed interest – see Agri-EPI’s China visit for more information. 

Shamal also discussed using technology to maximise productivity, with some UK studies demonstrating that 11m tonnes of carbon can be saved just by improving efficiencies.  

Linked to this is research into helping farmers understand limitations of productivity. “If soil is not in good condition and there are compaction issues, more fertiliser won’t increase productivity, but will increase emissions,” explains Shamal.  

Other case studies were presented from every delegate country, with the Canadian Living Lab proving most interesting as it put forward ideas in union with Agri-EPI’s initiative to unite science, technology and farming practice. 

Additionally, Agri-EPI shared ideas about creating a carbon market with the US Department of Agriculture, with potential for investment from private American investors. “It’s about building that market mechanism and space for trading the carbon stored in soils,” says Shamal. 

Japan G20 Workshop November 2019 Japan Shamal Mohammed

The final day of the trip involved visits to three Japanese farms of varying size and layout, Shamal explains: “It was good to see how they managed their land and cropping and what they are doing to increase productivity and store carbon.” Japanese farmers are using labelling to persuade consumers that their products are more sustainable, shifting attitudes and purchasing behaviour. 

The conference – which followed the G20 meeting in September – offered Agri-EPI the opportunity to meet and set up communication lines with individuals and organisations across the globe with similar aims. In addition, it helped to build relationships and share the SmartFarm concept – something Japan and other countries may now also be interested in establishing. 

Next year, Saudi Arabia is hosting the G20 Ministry of Agriculture Chief Scientists (MACS) meeting. Agri-EPI is looking into the possibility of getting a slot at the MACS next year.

Events

Food security – UK priorities, supporting domestic production and driving innovation

Agri-EPI’s CTO to present

Dr Shamal Mohammed, Agri-EPI’s CTO will be delivering a presentation on technological developments and innovation in agri-food in improving productivity at this year’s Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum Policy Conference: Food security – UK priorities, supporting domestic production and driving innovation on Monday 30th November 2020.

The Conference, which will be held online, will examine key issues for food security and UK supply chain.

Other keynote presenters include Minette Batters, President, NFU; Anna Taylor, Executive Director, The Food Foundation and Chief Independent Adviser, National Food Strategy; Jack Ward, Chief Executive, British Growers Association; and more.

Agenda

8.30: Registration
9.00: Chair’s opening remarks – Senior Parliamentarian
9.05: Food Security – the global context and the impact of the pandemic. Senior speaker to be announced
9.20: Key issues for food security and UK supply chain – developing an Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme that supports domestic food production, maintains standards and aids sector recovery from the pandemic Minette Batters, President, NFU
9.35: Questions and comments from the floor
9.55: Break
10.00: Stakeholder perspectives on UK food security – the impact of Brexit, meeting environmental targets, and developing funding and regulatory mechanisms to support production

  • Anna Taylor, Executive Director, The Food Foundation and Chief Independent Adviser, National Food Strategy
  • Jack Ward, Chief Executive, British Growers Association
  • Vicki Hird, Sustainable Farming Campaign Coordinator, Sustain
  • Neil Shand, Interim Chief Executive, National Beef Association
  • Sarah Blanford, Organic, Crop, and Data Manager, Sainsbury’s

Questions and comments from the floor
11.15:  Chair’s closing remarks -Senior Parliamentarian
11.20: Break
11.30: Chair’s opening remarks – Senior Parliamentarian
11.35: Improving land use, supply chain efficiency and the road to net zero – Senior representative, sustainability
11.40: The effect of moves towards sustainable diets on UK food security and climate targets – managing the transition, adapting to consumer trends and opportunities for novel foods – Christian Reynolds, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London; Senior representative, food industry
12.00: The role of developments in agri-food and crop science in improving productivity – innovation, regulation and supporting sector growth – Dr Shamal Mohammed, Chief Technical Officer, Agri-EPI Centre; Senior representative, crop science
12.20: The impact of future trade negotiations – food standards, access to markets and meeting global commitments
12.30: Senior commentator
Questions and comments from the floor
12.55: Chair’s and Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum closing remarks -Senior Parliamentarian, Michael Ryan, Deputy Editor, Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum

Register now: www.westminsterforumprojects.co.uk/conference