NEW POSTGRADUATE DEGREE WILL HELP DISPEL FRANKENFOOD’ MYTH Published: 01 March, 2011
A groundbreaking new course at the University of East Anglia (UEA) will explore the cutting edge agricultural techniques needed to feed a rocketing global population.
Launched this September, the MSc in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security will be the first of its kind in the country and comes as a UK government-commissioned report calls for urgent action to avert a global food crisis. Released this month, the Foresight Report on Food and Farming Futures said food production must be overhauled to sustainably produce enough food for a population likely to grow by 50 per cent in the next 40 years.
The one-year Masters degree will be taught by experts at the Centre for Contemporary Agriculture a recently-launched collaboration between UEA, Easton College, the John Innes Centre, the Institute of Food Research, the Sainsbury Laboratory, the National Institue for Agricultural Botany and the Arable Group. It will provide excellent training for students wishing to work at the cutting edge of the agri-food industry, where this is increasing demand at home and abroad for highly skilled staff who can facilitate radical change.
Students will learn about the latest developments in irrigation, machinery and plant breeding, including genetic modification a technique accepted in many parts of the world but still subject to myths and misunderstandings in the UK.
A world food crisis is almost upon us, said course leader Prof John Turner, of UEAs School of Biological Sciences.
Last year a drought in Russia reduced its wheat harvest by a quarter, the international price of wheat increased, and this contributed to the unrest we have seen in the worlds largest what importer, Egypt. Graduates of this exciting new course will be instrumental in applying the latest scientific methods to tackle this global challenge. They wil be part of the solution.