Cranfield is one of six universities across the world joining to form The World Food Preservation Centre, a partnership that seeks to combat food loss and hunger through the innovation of sustainable, low cost methods of reducing food waste.
One of the great challenges of the 21st century will be to feed a growing population. Current projections suggest the number of people on earth will outpace our ability to feed them by 2050. Food insecurity can lead not only to famine but also to political instability and violence.
Professor Leon A. Terry, Head of Cranfield Soil and Agrifood Institute, said: “Evidence clearly shows that we cannot grow our way out of this crisis. Crop yields are currently increasing at a rate of only 1-2% annually, even with significant investment in agricultural science.
“One solution to the problem of food scarcity is too often overlooked – there is already enough food to feed billions more people if only more of the food we grow was saved. One-third of the food that we produce globally is lost between the time it is harvested and consumed. In developing countries, as much as half of harvested crops are lost between the field and consumer.”
The World Food Preservation Centre will work throughout the world to correct the imbalance in population growth and food production using education, innovation and advocacy. The group initially aims to identify key research priorities and to establish a timetable for accepting graduate students and implementing research programmes.
Along with the other universities, Cranfield will expand its existing educational programmes and research priorities establishing MSc and PhD degrees to place a greater emphasis on the postharvest preservation of food.
The World Food Preservation Centre will also actively recruit students from the developing world. It is hoped these postgraduates will return after their education to establish research and extension programmes in their home countries.
The universities involved in The World Food Preservation Centre:
- Cranfield University, UK
- University of Chile, South America
- University of Florida, United States
- University of Ghana , Africa
- Jiangsu University, China
- University of Sydney, Australia