Climate change strategies for primary sector

27 April 2016

More than thirty scientists and business development managers from Plant & Food Research will gather for a workshop this week to discuss and develop strategies for addressing threats and opportunities posed by climate change to the primary sector. 

The workshop will involve strategic talks and presentations from academic and industry leaders to more clearly define how the primary sector can adapt to environmental change, either by mitigating its effects or identifying new opportunities.

Plant & Food Research works across the horticultural, arable and seafood sectors, all of which make a significant contribution to the New Zealand economy, yet all face unique challenges from a changing climate.

This includes an increased likelihood of storms and flooding in some areas, reduced soil moisture and groundwater in others, and new seasonal timings for flowering plants and harvests. There is also a greater biosecurity risk, as well as plant and sea life becoming more vulnerable to disease.

“We have a responsibility to the primary sector and our industry clients to ensure our science will provide resilience to cope with the ongoing challenge of climate change. This is important for preserving the economic viability of these sectors in the longer term,” says Plant & Food Research Chief Scientist Professor Richard Newcomb. 

“We also need to ensure there is flexibility in our climate change strategy to allow primary sector science to respond to new data as it comes to hand, whether that means reacting to threats or capitalising on opportunities for transforming the sectors.

“It’s true that climate change will put demands on current business models, but it may also open up new possibilities, such as growing new crops.”

Guest speakers at the workshop include Dr Andy Reisinger from the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre discussing the challenges and opportunities for the food sector, Nick Pyke from the Foundation for Arable Research speaking on climate change from the perspective of the cropping industry, and Associate Professor Mary Sewell from the University of Auckland discussing the impact of climate change on marine environments.

There will also be presentations from Plant & Food Research scientists, such as Professor Max Suckling discussing biosecurity invasion risks and Professor Andy Allan on the role for new breeding technologies.

Emma Timewell
Communications Manager, Corporate Communications,
Plant & Food Research Mt Albert,
120 Mt Albert Road, Sandringham
Auckland, 1025, New Zealand
Telephone: +64-9-925 8692
Mobile: +64-21-2429 365

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