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Report on NARO 2nd International Symposium on Food and Health

1. Event name

NARO 2nd International Symposium on Food and Health "Global Food Security and Human Health: Toward Transforming the Food System with Advanced Technology"

2. Date and Time

December 12(Mon), 14:00-19:00 (JST), 2022

3. Venue

Online(Distribution Venue:Tsukuba Agriculture research Hall, NARO)

4. Organizer and supporters

NARO (Organizer), Supporters: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Japan /Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands (WUR)/National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment, France (INRAE)/Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands/Science and Technology Department, Embassy of France in Japan

5. Participants

Pre-registered applicants: 1,175 applicants from 22 countries/regions (Country wise: domestic 83%, overseas 17%.
Sector wise: Private 22%, Academic 16%, Government 19%,
NARO 28%, Individual and others 15%.)
Webinar attendants (total number of Japanese and English channels): 837
Viewers for the archived video: (until 1/15): 726

6. Symposium Overview

Opening Remarks

Dr. Kyuma, President of NARO, delivered a welcome address on behalf of the organizer by emphasizing that research aimed at realizing "Society 5.0," which balances economic development and environmental conservation, is a key to solving the global issue of "food security." He also expressed his expectation that the in-depth discussions and future collaboration at this symposium will lead to technological innovation. On behalf of the supporting organizations, Dr. Heimovaara, President of WUR, Mr. Mauguin, President of INRAE, and Mr. Kawai, Director-General, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council's Secretariat, MAFF, delivered guest greetings emphasizing their hope that international exchanges will generate dramatic inspiration in the fields of agriculture, health, and the environment, leading to the resolution of issues.

Keynote Session

Maximo Torero Cullen, Chief Economist (FAO) and LOPEZ BLANCO Ana Patricia (European Commission) delivered keynote speeches.
① Dr. Cullen (FAO) mentioned in his speech that approximately 3.1 billion people in the world cannot afford a healthy diet, and it is necessary to improve the situation of hunger and nutritional deficiencies by promoting investment in the production of nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables and protein-rich foods.
② Ms. Ana (European Commission) introduced eight goals to be achieved by 2030 and the EU agricultural research framework for problem solving. In particular, she introduced cases where members across fields and regions are working together to find innovative solutions.

Session I: A food production system that fully utilizes data to balance production and the environment Session Leader: YANO Masahiro, Senior Executive Scientist, NARO

In this session, the challenges and achievements of replacing food production, which is becoming more uncertain due to population growth and climate change, with a system that achieves both productivity and environmental conservation through cutting-edge technology that makes full use of ICT, robotics, big data, and AI was presented. During the discussion session, the problems and ingenuity in adapting models and systems constructed in a closed system to an open system and enlarging the scale, and the range that can be dealt with at present were discussed. This was followed by opinion exchange about the utilization of various sensing technologies in breed improvement and growth prediction. Also, the WUR-NARO joint project and the challenges of the Living Lab (agricultural production sites - research framework) being conducted at INRAE were introduced.
Lecturers: MURAKAMI Noriyuki, Deputy Director, RCAIT, NARO/Rick van de Zedde, Project Manager, WUR/ ISHIMOTO Masao, Director, NICS, NARO/Veronique Bellon-Maurel, Deputy-head of Mathnum department, INRAE (France)

Session II: Building a sustainable food system that supplies healthy food Session Leader: GOTO Kazuhisa, the Liaison Scientist in the Netherlands/Development Strategy Center (NDSC), NARO

In this session, lectures were based on initiatives from the perspectives of "Food Culture and Health," "Global One Health," and "Reduction of Food Loss," and challenges faced by global food companies to build a sustainable food system that can provide people with truly healthy food at any time. During the discussion session, the barriers to the popularization of sustainably produced products and methods of providing consumers with information on healthy ingredients and "deliciousness" were introduced. In addition, it was suggested that "mutual understanding and cooperation on diversity" such as (1) sector, (2) generation, (3) way of thinking, and (4) microorganisms are important for building a sustainable food system.
Lecturers:Ingeborg de Wolf, WUR/ KOBORI Masuko, NFRI, NARO/ Felicitas Schneider, Thünen Institute / CHONAN Osamu, Executive Researcher, Yakult Honsha

Closing Remarks

Dr. Katsuta, Vice-President, NARO, delivered the closing remarks with the words of hope and the need for cooperation in global efforts to share awareness of issues and realize innovations in food and health.

7. Evaluation

In the post-questionnaire (115 people respondents), usefulness and relevance of symposium were evaluated as "good" by 85%, "bad" by 0% and "neither" by 14% ". Also, we received comments such as "This symposium is good, comprehensive from soil and plant management, produce and food processing and marketing. It's just better if the study is deepened in each study", "Speakers provided valuable information relating to application of AI/IoT technology in agricultural research and development", "I wish there was time for questions and answers from the audience" etc. There were also a lot of expectations for future symposiums.

Dr. Kyuma, President of NARO delivering a welcome address
Speakers in discussion during Session 1 (Top) and Session II (Bottom)