Solutions to combat hunger being discussed at forum

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Solutions to combat hunger being discussed at forum Silvia Radan / 4 February 2014 Expert says sustainability and efficiency are two of the main reasons why the world needs artificially made meat. The proverbial food pill may well become a reality in the near future given the advanced technology and innovation in food production. The latest solutions to combat world hunger are being discussed during the three-day Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA), taking place in Abu Dhabi until February 5. There isn’t yet a food pill, but there is a ‘lab-burger’. One of the keynote speakers on the opening day on Monday, Dr Mark Post, Professor of Physiology at Maastrict University, presented his project, the world’s first beef burger created in a laboratory. The project became reality last summer, when the first burger was tasted by a London journalist. “She said it had good texture, but the taste could be improved,” revealed Dr. Post. The burger was made from cow cells (no animal had to be sacrificed) from the animal’s skeleton muscles. Altogether, the first ever cultured meat burger required three billion cow cells and Euro 25,000, if commercially produced, the price for the lab-burger would reach $65 per kilogram. The price is still high, but according to Dr. Post that would only be in the initial stage. Sustainability and efficiency are two of the main reasons why the world needs artificially made meat. “Meat production threatens our species! Eighteen per cent of green house gas emissions come from meat farming. If we shift from meat to vegetables, we cut pollution, gain more land and feed a lot more people. One way of doing it is for us all to become vegetarians, but we are a species who loves meat,” explained Dr Post. According to him, lab made meat would reduce the usage of land by 90 per cent, save 70 per cent energy and 90 per cent water. With the world population expected to reach nine billion by 2050, climate change is a serious threat to agriculture, food is becoming a major security issue. Particularly in dry areas, where water scarcity makes food production unreasonable, countries like Saudi Arabia or Qatar have little choice but expensive food imports. “There are a few solutions to food imports,” said Dr Frank Rijsberman, CEO of CGIAR Consortium, a global agricultural research partnership. “First, you can buy farm land somewhere else, but it will take years to get the crops growing. You can store large quantities of food, but that is very expensive. You can buy ready established agri-food lands like I’ve seen in the newspapers countries here do now; or you can invest in agricultural innovation and this is what I recommend for you! UAE should massively invest in food innovation research,” said Dr Rijsberman. Throughout the three-day forum, 160 agricultural innovations are being presented, while the exhibition running alongside has some global 150 stands showing their latest solutions to growing food.  Clean-up drive  abu dhabi — Tadweer (Centre of Waste Management – Abu Dhabi) has launched a comprehensive clean-up drive targeting stockyards and farms in Al Wafia, Dharat Al Tayeb and Razeen areas located nearly 45 kilometres east of Abu Dhabi City. The campaign is in line with Tadweer’s strategy of implementing the highest hygienic standards and raising awareness about the need to preserve the environment. The campaign involves the cleaning up of collection sites of animal waste and fallen stock as well as the removal of compost leftovers. More than 50 labours and 20 vehicles were deployed for the clean-up campaign. Mubarak Al Ameri, Waste Collection Projects Department Manager at Tadweer said: “The campaign was launched a week ago and is part of Tadweer’s ongoing efforts to raise hygienic standards in Abu Dhabi’s Eastern Region and contribute to the preservation of desert environment and its development into a vibrant ecosystem.” “The clean-up drive at stockyards and farms comes as part of Tadweer’s effective action plans and ongoing campaigns to provide a clean and healthy environment within the Emirate within the strategic vision of the Abu Dhabi government, and our shared national responsibility to achieve sustainable development.” Al Wafiya, Dharat Al Tayeb and Razeen areas comprise nearly 1,150 stockyards, and throughout the year Tadweer runs various awareness initiatives and clean-up campaigns in the Eastern Region as part of its keenness to protect the health and safety of the public and support the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 which aims to create a clean and sustainable environment in the emirate. For more news from Khaleej Times, follow us on Facebook at , and on Twitter at @khaleejtimes Continue reading →

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