Good animal health a prerequisite for sustainable food production
During the pandemic, the government drew attention to the essential role of food production throughout society. At the same time, the need for sustainable food is growing in pace with climate change and increased antibiotic resistance. Achieving sustainable food production requires collaboration between researchers and practitioners, something reflected in the new projects that were recently awarded funding from Formas.
A total of 128 million kronor has been awarded to research projects in Formas’ funding calls for sustainable food production, animal protection and animal welfare, areas that are highly topical in the aftermath of the pandemic. Since food is indispensable, it is vital for food production to take place in the most sustainable way possible. Food research always matters: after all, everyone has to eat and Sweden is not self-sufficient.
“During the pandemic, this was brought to the fore and, for the first time, the government designated food production as essential to society,” says Jessica Ekström, senior research officer at Formas in charge of the call “Sustainable food production”.
And the great interest in the calls reflects this focus. 62 applications for applied research were received for increased animal protection and welfare, and 40 were received for sustainable food production.
“This is a welcome sign suggesting that academia and the private sector are starting to work with each other, and in many cases already have functioning networks,” Ekström says.
She stresses that collaboration between the private sector and academia, which is integral to both calls, is crucial for the ability of research to achieve real-world impact.
“This means both that smart, sustainable working methods produce a more rapid impact in practice and that these methods reach more producers.”
A wide range of projects received funding.
“They span all sectors of the Swedish food system, from livestock to aquatic food to vegetables, which is great.”
The call “Applied research for increased animal protection and animal welfare” has also attracted much engagement from both academia and the private sector, says Alexandra Jeremiasson, senior research officer in charge of the call.
“This is collaboration at its best,” Jeremiasson says. “Together, the calls address sustainability issues in both vegetable and animal food production. Protecting and promoting the welfare of livestock animals is crucial to sustainable food production.”