Conference tackles challenge of meeting global demand sustainably

The challenges of delivering sustainable agriculture while meeting growing global demands for food will feature high on the agenda for this year’s AIC Agribusiness Conference.

Speaker Richard Heathcote of the Cool Farm Alliance says: “Today there are many sustainability challenges and it is critical that we understand the impacts of everything we do. There are numerous initiatives including agri-environment and compliance schemes, and standards that are pointing farmers towards positive change. In all cases we have to ask ‘Are the initiatives working?’ and ‘Are we becoming more sustainable?’

“We need to measure to manage, and, as an example, the Cool Farm Alliance provides a scientifically rigorous, but farmer-friendly way to do this.”

Suzanne Pera, Farm Inputs Analyst with Rabobank International, says: “The global agriculture industry’s capacity to meet the world’s growing food demand is being stretched at the expense of the environment. A holistic long-term approach may be the key, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution. I will be asking the question ‘What does it take to shift farmers’ focus away from yield maximisation towards input optimisation?’.”

Suzanne and Richard will be joining a selection of high profile speakers at the conference including recently-appointed AHDB Chairman Peter Kendall, who will outline the organisation’s ambition to provide farmers and growers with the tools they need to make the most of growing domestic and global demand.

Other speakers are Defra Minister George Eustice, NFU President Meurig Raymond, UKIP MEP Stuart Agnew, and FEFAC President Ruud Tijssens, who will discuss strategic raw material supply, feed safety and sustainability.

John Kelley, Managing Director, AIC Services says: “Sustainability is becoming a prerequisite for retailers and this conference will debate the most effective way to meet these demands. The theme is ‘Growing the sustainable agri-supply chain’ and we will focus on actions that meet this sustainability agenda whilst maintaining efficiency and profitability. Agribusiness 2015’s is packed with experts speakers and will be beneficial to our members and to a variety of other agri-industry stakeholders.”

The conference takes place on November 12th at the East of England Showground, Peterborough.