Welcome to this issue of Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses.
With the global population forecast to hit 10 billion by 2050, there is mounting pressure on food producers and manufacturers around the world to develop new technologies that will help address the increasing demands to feed a hungry world. Principal scientist in strategy and foresight at CSIRO Stefan Hajkowicz said the world would need 70 per cent more food by this time to meet demand.
In China, the emergence of a growing middle class has seen an increased appetite for healthier, more westernised food options.
“Where [in China] they used to eat rice pretty much, they’re now eating fruit, vegetables, nuts, milk, and [there has been] a big increase in protein,” said Mr Hajkowicz who added that Australia’s free trade agreement with China would have a big impact on what Australia produces.
“Given that 60 per cent of Australian agricultural product is exported at the moment, it’s an industry that’s exposed to global markets. It’s a rapidly changing world in terms of the growth in the food consumer in the Asian region and the changes in their preferences,” he said.
Mr Hajkowicz said that diversification could create opportunities for Australian farmers to change what they were producing and create something new.
Our lead story Fresh and green in China looks at some of the latest hydroponic and sustainable initiatives in Hong Kong as well as plans for a new vertical garden at Sunqiao Agricultural District in Shanghai, which is envisaged to provide food for the growing population of China’s largest city, home to nearly 24 million people.
We also look at the recent Asia Fruit Logistica held in Hong Kong, where more than 200 Australian fruit, vegetable and nut producers and industry representatives showcased their produce at the ‘Taste Australia’ pavilion, marking the beginning of a six-month tour across Asia and into the Middle East.
Still on the theme of food production, Dr Mike Nichols outlines how fruit production might look in the future.
We also welcome Dr Wilson Lennard – Australia’s foremost aquaponics expert – who launches his new, regular column.
These and other stories await your reading pleasure.
Enjoy this issue!