The heat is on agriculture and food production in the tropics. With the global population expected to reach nine billion by 2040, the greatest pressure will likely be experienced in the world’s tropical zone which is home to half the world’s population, including more than half of its young people, and many of its fastest growing economies.
In the developed world there is an increasingly obese but undernourished population battling various chronic illnesses associated with environmental factors, including too much of the wrong food. This contrasts with a large proportion of the world’s population still struggling to attain enough calories a day to survive. The role of science in providing solutions to meet these challenges was the focus of TropAg2017. The conference had as its theme nutrition security – ensuring people, both in developing and developed countries, have access to the critical nutrients in food that support and boost core bodily functions, and provide the fuel to live a healthy and active life.
The second international TropAg2017 conference, was held in Brisbane on November 20-22, 2017, and confirmed Queensland as a global leader in sustainable agriculture and food production. Hosted by UQ and QAAFI, in partnership with the Queensland Government, a key feature of TropAg2017 was an alliance of northern Australia research providers – QUT, James Cook University, CQU and USQ – who sponsored the event, and helped develop the scientific symposia. TropAg2017 conference showcased a coalition of Queensland University research institutions to an audience of 720 delegates.
Dr Beth Woods, Director-General of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, whose Department were a major sponsor of the conference through the AgFutures stream, gave the opening address, highlighting the successful partnership between the Queensland government and TropAg2017. The AgFutures stream of the TropAg conference included four symposia focussing on agri-technolgy to an international audience. Other sessions in the wider conference were also promoting Queensland agri-technology.
A number of events were organised around the conference, including the Researchers in Agriculture for International Development (RAID) Early and Mid-Career speed networking event, and a Regional Development Australia. A series of satellite events were hosted at TropAg2017, including PacBio Research Day, a Global Leadership Series seminar, Gender and Food Breakfast, Next Gen Scientist, a Queensland Rural Press Club breakfast and a free screening of the Food Evolution movie.
Over 160 international delegates were in attendance and engaging in presentations by Queensland researchers.
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