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Food security headlines major international conference in Cape Town

Published December 1, 2017, by Mologadi Makwela

The difficulties facing agricultural systems, and the impact of climate change, will feature strongly on the programme at the 3rd International Global Food Security Conference.

A bumper programme is lined up for the approximately 600 national and international delegates who travel to Cape Town this weekend for the 3rd International Conference on Global Food Security, starting on Sunday, 3 December.

Over four days, from 3-6 December, delegates will reflect and deliberate on the many issues and themes cutting across food security concerns. Malnutrition, including over- and under-nutrition and micro-nutrient deficiencies, is the top contributor to the global disease burden. Globally, 800 million people are under-nourished, two billion are overweight or obese, and two billion are said to be micronutrient deficient. Developing countries like South Africa often bear the brunt of these multifaceted challenges.

Professor Julian May, director of the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security outlines some issues that will be foremost in the minds of delegates, especially those from South Africa, during the 3rd International Conference on Global Food Security in Cape Town

In a packed programme, sessions will be dedicated to issues like food creation, food safety and biosecurity, food losses and waste, and food security in changing societies, among other themes. The difficulties facing agricultural systems, and the impact of climate change, will feature strongly on the programme.

Keynote speakers will include Professor Ken Giller of the Wageningen of the Centre for Agroecology and Systems Analysis in The Netherlands, who will speak on the future of farming and the global producers of food (a recent feature story, This Tiny Country Feeds the World, in National Geographicshowcased several innovations in the Dutch agricultural sector); as well as World Food Prize laureates Dr Jan Low of the International Potato Centre in the US and Dr Robert Mwanga of the International Potato Centre in Uganda.

While the programme boasts a large and formidable international presence, a number of leading researchers from South Africa will also present papers at the Conference. Professor Stephen Devereux of the University of the Western Cape will speak on the impact of social protection on food security; Professor Jane Battersby of the University of Cape Town will talk on an urban food security agenda; and Dr Suzan Oelofse of the South African CSIR will present a talk on food waste in the country.

Themed Global Challenges, Local Solutions and Connected Pathways, the Conference runs at the Cape Town International Conference Centre from 3-6 December 2017. Minister of Science & Technology, will officially open the event on Monday, 4 December.

The Conference is hosted by the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the University of Pretoria; in partnership with information and analytics company Elsevier, publisher of some of the world’s leading science journals.

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