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Group of men in field.
Erik Schmidt (third from left) on a field visit to the Eastern Gangetic Plains, where USQ is leading an Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research project which is helping to improve food security.
Leaders in engineering and technology which can help improve global food security are set to gather at a ground-breaking conference being held in South Africa next week.

Organised by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, the conference program has drawn together experts from around the world to look at ways to deliver efficient and sustainable ways of producing food for a growing world population.

Professor Steven Raine is Executive Director of the University of Southern Queensland’s (USQ) Institute for Agriculture and the Environment, and is looking forward to attending the conference as a member of its advisory committee.

“Through hand-held technology, mechanisation, and sensors, farmers in developing countries can leapfrog into modern systems which produce more food more efficiently,” Professor Raine said.

“This conference gives experts and eminent scientists working with these technologies an unprecedented opportunity to connect with research organisations, businesses and governments to address the issue of global food security.”

Through the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture and the Centre for Crop Health, USQ has developed an international reputation for improving the sustainability and efficiency of food production.

Professor Raine said the Engineering and Technology Innovation for Global Food Security Conference was the perfect vehicle to share that expertise with a world audience.

The three-day conference program includes two speakers from USQ, NCEA Deputy Director Erik Schmidt, and NCEA researcher Associate Professor Guangnan Chen.

Mr Schmidt will speak about the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research project which is improving dry-season irrigation in the Eastern Gangetic Plains, and also smart automated irrigation systems.

“Australia is well placed to share its experience in improving agricultural practices in semi-arid areas and is a leading producer of crops including pulses and sorghum which are crucial to food security in developing nations.”

Associate Professor Chen will speak about his research involving the role of energy in agricultural and global food security.

“Their inclusion shows USQ research is being recognised on the global stage, and can contribute to the development and adoption of technologies which bolster food security.”

The conference runs from Monday, October 24 to Thursday, October 27 at Stellenbosch University near Cape Town.

CSIRO Agriculture cropping researcher Dr Allan Peake, also from Toowoomba, is the only other Australian speaker on the program.