Debating the role of technology in future food supply
Panel members (L-R): Alex Steel, Peter Sargeant, Sarah Sands, Andrew Opie and Henry Dimbleby. Photo credit: Lucy Young.
Will technology help feed the world? Is there room for organic small farming in agricultural intensification? These were just some of the questions that arose in the Syngenta Future of Food debate with the London Evening Standard held at Somerset House, London.
A panel of industry experts each representing parts of the supply chain discussed the role of technology in supporting the production of food supply and ensuring food security.
Chaired by Evening Standard editor Sarah Sands, topics from food waste to GM were addressed. Developing from the debate came several points. It was evident that to make the food chain more sustainable every angle needs to be tackled using a variety of innovations in breeding as well as analysing data.
Panel member Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of restaurant chain Leon, recognised that this type of discussion does not occur enough within the public domain. This debate, however, was a pioneering example of the mainstream media highlighting the issues that we face and also educating the public on how food is produced.
Photo credit: Lucy Young.
Alex Steel, Syngenta Head Europe North (above) said he was pleasantly surprised by the balanced questions and discussion.
"I think that people are recognising that there are different views and different perspectives but I was encouraged by people listening to one another so that we had a real dialogue", he added.
Syngenta customer Peter Sargeant, Managing Director of G's Fresh (below) represented growers.
"It's been interesting to listen to the views of people after the debate and how they've interpreted some of the answers to the questions as some of those views have been very polar. That just underlines the challenge we've got in trying to get the right messages across to the consumer." Said Peter.
During the evening the audience had the opportunity to view colourful cabbage varieties and taste a selection of tomatoes, all developed using Syngenta technology and innovation.
The Syngenta and London Evening Standard Partnership
Throughout 2017, Syngenta will be working in partnership with the London Evening Standard. A key part of the partnership will be the hosting of three panel events - organised by the Editor of the Evening Standard in association with Syngenta - focussing on food supply issues, both globally and in London specifically.
From a Syngenta perspective, the aim of the event is to demonstrate how Syngenta is committed to an open, transparent and evidence-based discussion on the future of food production given rising populations, climate change and the pressures caused by on-demand food consumption patterns of cities such as London.