WA Minister for Agriculture and Food, Forestry and Housing Hon Terry Redman officially launched Curtin University’s International Institute of Agri-Food Security (IIAFS) on Monday 10 September.
The future-focused Institute will invest in research to ensure a secure food outlook in the face of climate change, global economic and biosecurity challenges.
Professor Janet Bornman, Chair of Agri-food Security and Director of IIAFS, said the timing for the Institute was right, as there is rising consumer demand for sustainable practice that provides for a secure food supply system of healthy, nutritious, safe and affordable food.
“Many of us would consider Australia to be food secure, but have we really thought about all the issues surrounding food security?” Professor Bornman said.
“These include the impacts of changing global economic markets, increasing climate variability leading to crop losses, decreases in local food manufacturing, agriculture’s irrigation demands, increase in foreign ownership and control of farm land, and even the hidden malnutrition of people who are eating too much of the wrong food.
“These impacts are what the Institute would like to address, and with new linkages built throughout various industries, the Institute aims to take the research lead in improving the efficiency, safety and accessibility of sustainable food production and distribution.”
Professor Graeme Wright, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Development, said with agricultural food production undergoing rapid changes amid global challenges, Curtin has had to continually update its approach to research and education in the agricultural and food sectors.
“We need to provide a skilled and knowledgeable workforce that understands the impacts of the food that we eat on our health and the health of the planet,” he said.
“Curtin’s commitment to addressing these challenges is reflected in the establishment of this Institute, which will draw on the collective expertise of all our teaching faculties.”
Professor Wright said that as one response to the food security question the Curtin Business School would be offering a new course in Food Industry Management which will start next year.
The four main research themes of IIAFS include:
• Food quality and improved health outcomes
• Socio-economic dimensions of resilience in food industries and associated communities
• Sustainable agri-food production systems
• Local, national and global food security.
Photos available on request.
Janet F. Bornman, Director of IIAFS, Curtin University
Tel: 9266 4575, Mobile: 0478 473 439. Email: Janet.Bornman@curtin.edu.au
Megan Meates, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 4364, Mobile: 0401 103 755, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org