The hugely successful Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Young Science Leaders Forum has produced a raft of ideas and possible solutions to challenges facing modern agriculture in New Zealand.
The Forum was hosted at Government House by the Governor General, Her Excellency the Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy and brought together secondary school and tertiary students plus teachers and and a number of STEM specialists.
The Report was drafted by Science Communicator, Veronika Meduna and will be circulated to stakeholders and interested agencies to assist future policy development.
Thje Report notes that “agriculture is not currently in balance, and therefore its future is a major challenge. There was a sense that the forces acting on farmers are largely economic, and that the way agriculture is practiced currently is dominated by profitability and productivity, while environmental and social factors don’t yet carry equivalent weight.
“However, participants also agreed that primary production is part of New Zealand’s cultural identity and that it should remain so. Most specific suggestions were about how to make a shift towards more sustainable agriculture – or other uses of land and marine resources – for the people who draw their livelihood from it as well as all of us, as we depend on the primary production sector in one way or another.
“With primary production (including fisheries) making a significant contribution to GDP, participants saw the main challenge in increasing production while at the same time decreasing environmental impacts.”