THE world’s tropical agriculture researchers have turned their focus to Queensland with TropAg 2017 kicking off this morning at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Under a theme of “high impact science to nourish the world”, the event is the world’s leading international tropical agriculture conference.
Hundreds from around the globe, mainly researchers, academics and extension staff, are making the most of the opportunities to network, share information and present research posters.
The opening session this morning heard from internationally-renowned agricultural economist, Derek Byerlee, Georgetown University, USA, who addressed the topic of “closing the tropical land frontier: The roles of globalisation and intensification”.
Dr Byerlee presented figures highlighting world trends including the rise of meat consumption within societies where the middle income status is on the rise.
While beef remains a big global player, poultry is on the rise.
“Meat consumption translates into feed demand and the big driver in feed demand is poultry,” Dr Byerlee said.
He said poultry will soon take over as the most important meat in food consumption with Brazil and China now exceeding the US on meat consumption.
He also delivered some insights into the growing value of products such as soybeans and palm oil.
“Soybeans are the most valuable commodity in world trade by far,” he said.
“Palm oil is the third most valuable commodity in global trade and I predict it will overtake wheat.
“Oil palm is an African crop but the value of South East Asian exports of palm oil is greater than all agriculture exports of Africa.”
Kenyan nutritionist Judith Kimilywe from the Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietics, Kenyatta University, spoke on the progress being made in African nations in raising the profile of indigenous vegetables for better nutrition.
The conference continues through to Wednesday.