Australia’s national science agency has issued a warning about a shortage of plant breeding scientists that could have serious consequences for global food security. The researchers from Australia, New Zealand, and Canada highlighted the importance of plant breeding in producing food, animal feed, and fuel on a global scale.

The study, led by Lucy Egan, a research scientist at CSIRO, emphasized the need for new recruits in the field of plant breeding. Egan explained that developing new plant varieties for future climates is a slow process that requires at least ten years on average. However, with a lack of new plant breeders entering the field to replace retiring experts, there is concern about the future of plant breeding.

The report warned that a shortage of plant breeding skills could have “dire” implications for global food security and recommended the establishment of dedicated training facilities in different countries. Egan emphasized that plant breeding plays a crucial role in helping countries adapt to a changing climate and build resilience in the agricultural sector.

The research, published in the journal Crop Science, highlighted the significant increase in global crop production since the 1960s, largely attributed to advancements in plant breeding science. The findings underscore the importance of investing in plant breeding expertise to ensure food security and sustainability in the face of climate change and other challenges.