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Great Food Debate

NFWI-Wales held a Great Food Debate in Cardiff on 16 January 2013 to discuss the global and national challenge of food security.

View video footage of the event below. 

Ensuring global food security will become one of the world's biggest challenges as the global population is predicted to rise to 9 billion by 2050, increasing demand for food and intensifying competition for land, energy and water.

Hosted by Antoinette Sandbach Assembly Member for North Wales, the keynote speaker was delivered by Alun Davies AM, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes. Panel speakers included Patrick Holden CBE, Founding Director of the Sustainable Food Trust and organic dairy farmer in West Wales; Dr Nick Fenwick, Director of Agricultural Policy, Farmers' Union of Wales and Professor Terry Marsden, Director of the Sustainable Places Research Institute, Cardiff University.

NFWI Public Affairs Chair, Marylyn Haines Evans provided an overview of the WI's interest in food security and the Food for Thought report by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) which was commissioned by the NFWI to explore the challenges of ensuring a sustainable food supply.

Great Food Debate

In his keynote speech, Alun Davies AM, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes shared with delegates his vision on the contribution Wales can make in facing up to the crisis of food security. He said that there was a need to contribute to a consensus that hunger and malnutrition is unacceptable. Wales has a moral imperative to ensure that food in Europe is supplied to those who have no access . The Welsh Government has a responsibility, he said, to make use of its voice on international bodies to ensure that food security remains high on the international agenda.

The Deputy Minister highlighted that there is a need to continue to ensure greater efficiency in agriculture and food production and also for greater knowledge and appreciation of food. He said there was a lack of knowledge of the food chain and too great a reliance on pre-packaged food. He told delegates that Wales can be an international and world leader in addressing the challenges of food security and that there be a greater focus on food during the second term of the Assembly. 

Patrick Holden, Founding Director of the Sustainable Trust and organic dairy farmer in West Wales, said that Wales needs to deliver the maximum quantity of high quality nutritional food. He said that culturally rich, self-sustaining food and farming systems are needed. Dr Nick Fenwick, Director of Agricultural Policy at the FUW emphasised the need for a strong common agricultural policy. Professor Terry Marsden, Director of the Sustainable Places Research Institute at Cardiff University, told delegates that there was great innovation in Wales and highlighted the opportunities to meet the challenges of food security by, for example, placing greater emphasis on new forms of innovative sustainable production; increasing diversity in food systems and increasing science knowledge and skills.

Alun Davies AM, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries & European Programmes Patrick Holden

Professor Terry Marsden