Realising a vision for a sustainable agri-food system

A sustainable future for the entire food supply chain is the ambition of Sudhir Yadav, The University of Queensland’s first associate professor of Sustainability.

Dr Yadav is based at UQ’s Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), a global leader and a research provider for tropical and sub-tropical agriculture and food systems.

A key part of Dr Yadav’s research and development vision is to develop sustainability assessment tools and indicators covering the agri-food system from farms and their suppliers, through processing and transport to the end consumer.

“Climate change, degraded soils, environmental pollution and many other pressing issues are well recognised by the public and Australia can lead the world with sustainable agriculture,” Dr Yadav said.

“At QAAFI we have researchers who understand balancing the need to improve productivity and efficiency while protecting and preserving natural resources and eco-systems, as well as mitigating and adapting to climate change.

“To maintain access to high value markets we need our own sustainability credentials.

“It’s not only about best management practices on farms, it’s about the whole value chain from the farm to the consumer.

“Once we have this tool kit, we can identify the areas where improvements can be made.”

Dr Yadav also aims to address the question of who pays for sustainability.

“We need to ensure there is a business model for our industry partners, looking at how sustainability can be built across all parts of the value chain,” he said.

“There must be incentives for growers and industry partners as well as well-defined mechanisms to ensure products can be traced back to sustainable management practices at all levels to provide consumers with transparency and confidence.”

Dr Yadav’s position is a key strategic appointment to strengthen the development of the CRC for Zero Net Emissions in Agriculture, an important joint UQ/Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland initiative to improve agricultural sustainability and rural livelihoods in Queensland.

He has now established the AgriSustain Lab at QAAFI to undertake the work.

“I want to foster a multi-disciplinary environment allowing us to deliver cutting-edge research and technologies that can assess and enhance sustainability in the food supply chain,” he said.

“My dedicated team will revolutionise how QAAFI approaches agriculture to help make it more environmentally friendly, economically viable and socially responsible.”

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