sustainable food security means using the best available technology through
the food chain: high-yielding, disease- and pest-resistant crop varieties,
grown and harvested with optimal inputs and cultivation methods, then stored,
processed and delivered to consumers with minimum waste and maximum quality.
Doing this in an environmentally-friendly way minimising soil erosion and
maximising its fertility, reducing water use and maintaining wildlife habitats,
and keeping fuel demands and carbon emissions to a minimum makes even more
demands on technology. It is hard enough under any circumstances but concerns
about our future climate add both to the uncertainty and to the urgency.
The Food Chain Research and Technology Network (FCRTN) is a new initiative focussing on how existing and emerging technologies are being used to deliver affordable, nutritious food in a sustainable way, and how their use might develop in future. In Europe today this is difficult, in spite of the urgency, because of the unfortunate and widespread distrust of modern science and of technology in general. Our vision is of a future where consumers trust all links in the food chain to provide their needs and where they not only see the end product but trust the technology which delivers it. Moreover, much technological novelty is actually of little or no public interest but vitally important in practice
The FCRTN can identify problems important for major players in the food chain and for consumers, working with the most appropriate experts and opinion formers to offer solutions. One of our primary roles is the effective communication of such solutions and other information on technology-related issues.
The Network pulls together experts with the necessary skills and experience to undertake studies on any technical issues which organisations themselves do not have the resources to address, or where a more objective view would prove valuable.
Many organisations and initiatives provide information services, comment or client studies to sections of the food chain. But all of them are to some degree specialised and, more importantly, none cover the full range of technology existing and emerging needed to deliver healthy, nutritious and affordable food produced in a sustainable way. FCRTN, with our very extensive network of expert opinion and experience, fills that gap. We believe sound scientific debate and evidence-based policy is the route to achieving successful technological progress.