Life would be 'boring' without horticulture, says Australian taking the reins of International Society for Horticultural Science
Life would be 'boring' without horticulture, says Australian Prof. Rod Drew, taking the reins of International Society for Horticultural Science
Professor Rod Drew says Australians need to 'realise the importance' of horticulture. Queensland scientist, Professor Rod Drew, is urging politicians of all persuasions to pay attention to the 'sleeping giant' that is the horticulture industry. Professor Drew has made the plea while taking the reins as president of the International Society for Horticultural Science. "Agriculture supplies protein, it supplies carbohydrates, it supplies stable crops - but we'd have a pretty boring life without horticulture. "Horticulture gives colour, horticulture gives us the flavours, it gives us all the health benefits of a balanced diet."
Professor Drew wants Australians to look past the full shelves of fresh fruit and vegetables at their local supermarket and instead focus on trying to address the increasing poverty challenge facing developing countries. "The trendy word now is food security, but we've got to feed an increasing population with no extra land to farm, with no extra water. "8,000 children will die today of malnutrition and up to 6,000 will die today because of vitamin A deficiency. "To the consumers in Australia I'd say, realise this is going on, realise horticulture is this important."
And Professor Drew has a similar message for the country's top politicians."Horticulture is a $10 billion industry in Australia, but one of the difficulties we face is that it's such a diverse group. "I think some of that is our own fault; we don't have a united voice...no one realises the value [of horticulture] overall."
This week (August 17-22, 2014) , Professor Drew is hosting more than 3,000 colleagues in Brisbane for the 'Olympic Games' of the industry, the 2014 International Horticulture Congress. "We've got over 142 countries represented," he said. "Horticulturalists are down to earth people...and most of them realise that if their research doesn't improve the industry, they're probably in the wrong field."
It's only the second time in 150 years the conference has been held in the Southern Hemisphere.