World Environment Day – Innovation is key to sustainable food production

    5 June 2013

    On World Environment Day 2013 it is important for Australia’s agricultural industries to recommit to supporting the nation’s farmers in becoming even more resource efficient, whilst still meeting the challenges of global food security.

    CropLife Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Matthew Cossey, said today, “while the theme of this year’s World Environment Day brings a much needed focus on food wastage, it is important to remain conscious of the ways in which we can improve both ends of the production line and reduce the environmental impact of food production.

    “Global food production is energy and resource intensive. It is responsible for 70 per cent of fresh water consumption and 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. With more than 30 per cent of the world’s land mass devoted to farming, agriculture has a tremendous role to play in protecting and preserving our natural resources and biodiversity. While it is absolutely crucial that we do not waste the food these resources produce, it is also vital that we continue to find ways to help farmers produce more with less.

    “The ability to grow more food on the same amount of land with less water and other inputs is the biggest challenge facing farmers today. Australia’s plant science industry produces valuable technologies and products that help farmers tackle the challenges of productive and sustainable farming.

    “Through advances in modern agricultural chemistry and biotechnology, Australia’s plant science industry has been delivering some of the most effective tools for farmers to meet this challenge. Responsible, sustainable use of agricultural chemicals relieves pressure on natural resources while delivering higher crop yields and increased environmental sustainability.

    “An impressive example of agricultural technology benefiting the environment,” added Mr Cossey, “is that in 2011, the use of GM crops was responsible for CO2 emissions savings of 23 billion kg; that is the equivalent of removing 10.2 million cars – 80 per cent of the cars registered in Australia – from the road for one year.

    “Agriculture must find a way to meet the demands of a rising world population but do so in a way that protects and conserves natural resources. With continued investment in new solutions to bolster farm productivity and sustainability, we can help protect and improve today’s resources for future generations.”

    The plant science industry in Australia has also shown its commitment to safeguarding the environment through world leading industry stewardship programs designed to minimise environmental impacts of the industry. Agsafe, the wholly owned subsidiary of CropLife Australia, runs successful programs such as drumMUSTER, which collects and recycles pesticide containers, and ChemClear