Lincoln Expert will Tackle Global Food Security Issues

A UK expert in advanced food manufacturing systems will share his insights as key note speaker at a major international workshop designed to address the challenges facing India’s food industry.  The presentation will draw upon his research and experience of food production technologies and supply chain processes within the UK and India.

The University of Lincoln’s Mark Swainson, who is Deputy Head and Lead for Higher Education and Research at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) has also been invited to serve on the organising committee, working closely with the Global Value Chains Research Group at Monash University’s Centre for Global Business in Australia, Panjab University, Sangha Innovation Centre and Punjab Agricultural University in India. Stakeholders will convene in Chandigarh, Punjab, India over the 18th and 19th February.

It is estimated that in India alone, 30 to 40 per cent of food is wasted between the point of production to processing plants and the market place. This places considerable financial burden on farmers who are already struggling with challenges such as water and electricity shortages and the high cost of labour, seeds and fuel.

The aim of the workshop is to tackle these issues by exchanging knowledge and experiences of the challenges facing the food industry and related supply chains in developing countries like India. This will form the basis of a food security strategy to strengthen the foundations of food production while targeting the immediate needs of the poorest.

The University of Lincoln is currently involved in two grant funded projects in India, led by Mark Swainson. The first is a Newton Bhabha project to develop and optimise fresh produce supply chain and storage systems. The second is a Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) ‘Global SCOPE’ project which is examining the food supply chain in an effort to come up with ways to reduce poverty by focusing on understanding and developing low-cost technologies to reduce food waste.

Global SCOPE forms part of Lincoln’s GCRF quality related initiative which was recently commended by Research England as one of 10 ‘exemplary strategies’ – clearly linked to overall institutional strategy and clear and concise in identifying specific activities that will be undertaken and the developing countries they will benefit.

Mark said:  “Despite significant pressures there has been limited change or innovation in improving the food supply chains in India where even the smallest changes can reap substantial rewards due to the sheer volume of the industry.

“The primary focus of this event is therefore to work with producers and processors through to retailers and government policy makers to find ways in which end to end food supply chains can be transformed through the adoption of new technologies and modern management practices”.

“My involvement in this major initiative highlights the important role that colleagues across the University of Lincoln are playing in progressing food supply chain development in India and addressing related food security agendas”.