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'Food For a Healthy Planet' Workshop Held By Nauni Varsity and The University of Melbourne

Australian and Indian scientists come together in a workshop called 'Food For a Healthy Planet' in Nauni with a motive to provide healthy food. More details are mentioned below.

Vivek Singh
University of Melbourne and Dr Yashwant Singh Parmar University in a workshop (Photo Courtesy: Krishi Jagran)
University of Melbourne and Dr Yashwant Singh Parmar University in a workshop (Photo Courtesy: Krishi Jagran)

The University of Melbourne and Dr Yashwant Singh Parmar University jointly organized a one-day workshop called 'Food For a Healthy Planet' in Nauni, with support from the Institutional Development Plan (IDP) under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research's National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP). A six-member delegation from the University of Melbourne, including Prof. Alex Johnson, Prof. Giovanni Turchini, Dr Antanas Spokevicius, Dr Surinder Singh Chauhan, Chaira Balsamo, and Loughlin Hooper, attended the event.

The workshop, organized by the PI IDP, aimed to explore the interconnections between the natural environment, food production, human health, and climate change. It also aimed to promote awareness of healthy diets and sustainable food systems. Additionally, the workshop aimed to strengthen collaboration between UHF Nauni and the University of Melbourne for future research and academic exchanges.

Prof. Rajeshwar Singh Chandel, the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Guest, focused on Natural Farming Initiatives and Challenges in his address. He stressed the importance of achieving self-sufficiency in oilseeds and pulses to ensure food and nutritional security. Prof. Chandel emphasized the need to diversify food crops, address the decline in high-nutrition crop cultivation, and include small-scale farmers in agricultural programs. He highlighted successful examples of natural farming adoption by state farmers, which not only benefit the environment but also reduce input costs and increase profits for farmers.

Workshop Held Between Nauni Varsity and The University of Melbourne (Photo Courtesy: Krishi Jagran)
Workshop Held Between Nauni Varsity and The University of Melbourne (Photo Courtesy: Krishi Jagran)

During a recent presentation, Dr. Navin Kumar Jain, the National Coordinator for IDP and a Principal Scientist in NAHEP IDP, highlighted the pressing challenge of feeding the rapidly growing global population, projected to reach 11 billion by the end of the century. He stressed the need to produce high-quality, nutritious food while advocating for the development of sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural practices.

Prof. Alex Johnson from the University of Melbourne discussed the institution's flagship programs in India and emphasized the global challenges related to healthy and sustainable food systems, finding solutions for a healthier planet, and adapting to climate change. He also addressed the issue of hidden hunger caused by insufficient dietary iron and zinc in cereal grains, advocating for the biofortification of traditional crops like wheat and rice with these essential nutrients.

Dr. Antanas Spokevicius underscored the importance of trees and wood as energy sources and talked about the domestication of trees and sustainable forest management. He acknowledged challenges in tree domestication due to longer maturation times and difficulties in vegetative propagation, proposing the use of biotechnological methods such as molecular breeding and molecular editing to overcome these obstacles.

During the workshop, Prof. Giovanni Turchini stressed the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids and the need to carefully regulate the Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio. He highlighted seafood as a crucial source of Omega-3 in human diets. Dr. Surinder Chauhan expressed concerns about food security due to population growth and the challenges of climate-induced heat stress in animals, advocating for India-Australia collaboration to address these issues. He also promoted the 'One Health concept,' uniting human, animal, and ecosystem health.

Loughlin Hooper informed students about the University of Melbourne's courses and fellowships, while Prof. Atul Khosla called for income-enhancing solutions in agriculture, emphasizing transdisciplinary approaches and collaborations. Various stakeholders attended the workshop, including officials, FPO representatives, farmers, scientists, and students.

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