Analytical technology helping to avoid a global food crisis
Improving yields has always been important to the global agricultural industry. This goal is becoming more urgent as the industry strives to feed an expanding global population from finite natural resources that are subject to competition from myriad factors such as land use, water supply and climate change.
Droughts and floods
The recent drought in Russia and flooding in Asia are indications of how extreme weather can stress domestic and global food supplies. Grain stocks from previous good years can manage the current situation, but what of the future with global population set to reach nine Billion by 2040 with implicit demands for more fuel, more meat, more feed, more water, more land and so on?
At the same time as pressure grows on agriculture and food production, food quality and safety must be maintained and improved. Sustainability is also a central concern for farmers and food producers under pressure to provide more from the same resources without having an adverse impact on the environment.
Support for farmers and producers
FOSS analytical technology has been used to improve yield throughout multiple food supply chains for more than fifty years and the range of solutions is constantly under development through year-on-year investment of profits in research and development.
Beyond yield, analytical technology also protects and enhances quality, from the integrity of raw material to the taste and composition of consumer products. “When a meat producer says that his product is only 5% per cent fat, they need to know they are consistently correct,” said FOSS president, Peter Foss. “It is similar for many areas of farming and food production where our equipment is used to measure quality and safety. Wineries and grain stills use our technology, for example, to make sure the grapes, corn or barley are graded appropriately. We can measure many factors, such as sugars, acids, protein and moisture to ensure that lower grade quality produce does not get mixed up with the higher grade stores.”
Planting more crops not enough
Looking ahead, analytical technology will play an increasingly important role in expanding the food supply by making rational use of increasingly limited resources while ensuring the best quality food reaches the consumer consistently. This not only has obvious benefits for the shopper, but also ensures that farmers and producers get a good return on their investment as they rise to the challenge of utilising new, innovative methods to boost yields, yet maintain quality and safety standards.