Plant science powers sustainable Aussie food production – National Science Week

    15 August 2022

    Science Week is an opportunity to celebrate the wide range of career options in plant science like agronomy, chemistry, biology, biotechnology and nutrition. Prioritising investment in plant science research is crucial to achieving environmental sustainability and food security outcomes for Australians. National Science Week highlights the importance of long-term strategies to support career pathways that engage next generation thought leadership in plant and agricultural science in Australia.

    Chief Executive Officer of CropLife Australia, the national peak industry organisation for the plant science sector, Mr Matthew Cossey, said, “Producers have enjoyed optimal growing conditions over the past two years, but they also face some of the biggest challenges to productivity and sustainability we’ve seen. Resource scarcity, emerging biosecurity threats, climate change and supply chain restrictions must be addressed to achieve sustainable food production.

    “Science and innovation must underpin our considered response to these challenges. Our understanding of chemistry, biology and biotechnology is finding new ways to improve resource management, increase yield and climate resilience. Crop protection innovations counter the relentless threat of pests and disease and increase global food production by up to 50 per cent.

    “The role and benefits of science in agriculture is only as influential as our education, workforce, public policy and investment priorities allow.

    “In order to truly achieve sustainable agriculture, we need to acknowledge that science cannot move forward without policies that engage the next generation of scientists. Better career pathways that inspire diversity in all its forms in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) will bring new ways of thinking and responses to the specific context within Australia.

    “Importantly, incentivising greater investment in research and development will help retain jobs and thought leadership here in Australia.

    “Australian agriculture has a strong history of adopting innovations developed by the plant science industry, making our farmers the world’s best. Building a workforce of next generation scientific minds will be crucial to the adoption of new knowledge and practices that will shape our environmental, economic and food security future,” concluded Mr Cossey.