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Reasons agricultural and horticultural specialists are so essential for the future

Posted about 1 month ago by Rebekah Shields

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Horticultural and agricultural jobs will become more and more vital to the viability of mankind in years to come due to the increasing levels of global food poverty likely to be experienced. The Food Aid Foundation and the United Nations state it's already the case that 815 mn people around the world don't get enough food to lead healthy, active lives (insert link https://www.foodaidfoundation.org/world-hunger-statistics.html and https://www.worldhunger.org/world-hunger-and-poverty-facts-and-statistics/).

This amounts to approximately one in ten of the total global population, with around two-thirds of this total in Asia. Furthermore, one out of every four malnourished and undernourished people are living in Africa. It's also depressing to note that the numbers of children under the age of five suffering malnourishment has increased by almost 25% since 2000. It's long been recognised that solutions need to be found to tackle food poverty, and climate change issues are reducing the amount of available time we have to solve the problems. All these factors make it imperative for the food sector to recruit versatile candidates, who excel in the sciences and IT as well as farming.

Reasons agricultural, horticultural and food science careers will be so important for future generations

There are a variety of career openings within modern agriculture, horticulture, and food production, and use of the latest technologies and science is becoming more prevalent in most arenas. Why not check out the types of role the experts at Agricultural Recruitment Specialists are recruiting to at present to discover more? (insert link https://www.agrirs.co.uk/).

Famine, food and water shortages, and food poverty have always been major global issues, and are some of the reasons so many people in underdeveloped nations try so hard to migrate to more developed countries. Here in the UK, increased numbers of ethical consumers have switched to vegetarian and vegan diets and try to make purchase decisions based on their own beliefs. Climate activism doesn't stop there, though. Making the ethical career choices and decisions that can have a real impact are also important. Farming, horticulture and food production in the UK form a vital role in the conservation of our rural landscape, the preservation of available water supplies, and the provision of locally grown foods. These are just some of the reasons opting for a career in the food sector can be the ethical option for young people and career switchers who really do want to make a difference.

When it comes to climate change and food poverty, there are so many problems to solve it's difficult to know where to begin. Our recent post about beef and sheep farming in the UK is one of many issues that will need to be addressed and barely scratches the surface of the problem. An interesting news article in Science Daily on 3 June discusses some of the available food options that are likely to prove viable solutions, and details follow below.

Farming livestock is killing the planet

The farm scientists at Tuft University in the United States paint a grim picture for the future of livestock farming. This Science Daily article is based on recognition that livestock are slowly destroying the entire planet, causing both land and water degradation (insert link https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190530101136.htm). This contributes to the loss of biodiversity, acid rainfall, deforestation, the degeneration of the world's coral reefs and helps increase levels of global warming. Some of the most popular solutions proposed include insect farming, greater reliance on diets that are wholly plant-based, laboratory-grown meat, and GM-modified livestock.

What is the best solution to the food poverty crisis?

The scientists at Tuft state that laboratory-grown meat from insects fed on genetically modified plants is likely to be the best way to produce high levels of nutritious food. The farmed insects will be fed on a diet that maximises growth and increases the levels of nutrition and flavour available from the insect meat.

The author of their report, Natalie Rubio, states: "Due to the environmental, public health and animal welfare concerns associated with our current livestock system, it is vital to develop more sustainable food production methods. Genetically modified livestock, for example that produce less methane or resist disease, can do little to relieve issues like land and water degradation, deforestation and biodiversity loss. But for meat-lovers, soy- or mushroom-based substitutes just don't hit the spot -- and some plant crops are as thirsty as livestock."

She goes on to say that farming insects has far lower space and water requirements, and can also be conducted on a vertical farming basis. Nutritionally, far more edible meat can be extracted from insects like crickets, when compared on a like-for-like basis with cattle.

In contrast, when it comes to growing meat in the laboratory, the resources and energy required could well mean that cultured pork, beef and chicken are out of the question.

Rubio also states: "Compared to cultured mammalian, avian and other vertebrate cells, insect cell cultures require fewer resources and less energy-intensive environmental control, as they have lower glucose requirements and can thrive in a wider range of temperature, pH, oxygen and osmolarity conditions. Alterations necessary for large-scale production are also simpler to achieve with insect cells, which are currently used for the biomanufacture of insecticides, drugs and vaccines."

Although insect meat is currently under research, the cultured versions are nowhere near ready for consumption. Scientists plan to create a texture that's similar to meat, but studies are still ongoing. Rubio feels that it's quite likely that this form of insect labriculture will result in meat offering familiar flavours. She says: "Advances in insect cell culture and tissue engineering can potentially be translated to lobster, crab and shrimp, due to the evolutionary proximity of insects and crustaceans."

Whether insect farming becomes a viable solution to world food shortages and global hunger remains to be seen. The team of experts here at Agricultural Recruitment Specialists recognise just how swiftly the food and rural sectors are changing, and we're absolutely committed to offering the professional recruitment service required within our changing world. Get in touch to find out more, please visit our website today: www.agriRS.co.uk

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