I believe there is an important issue that has been passed over in the recent debate about global food security (Government scientist and Royal Society in double push to promote GM , Oct 20th) Whether or not more GM crops are grown, we desperately need skilled people to fill a wide range of technical, engineering and operational roles at every stage of the chain of food production. At the moment there are simply not enough trained technicians to ensure our food security.
The Further Education sector has a central role in addressing this problem. However, in order to fulfil that role the sector needs some simple but crucial changes in its structure and funding models. Response times also need to be improved, in tems of developing new courses to meet the demands of new technologies. Some of these issues are explored in the recent New Engineering Foundation report ‘Emerging Technologies, Emerging Markets: Are you ready for the opportunities?’.
While the GM debate is a vital one, I believe we cannot afford to ignore an even more fundamental part of the fight to secure our future food supply
Yours faithfully,Dr Philippa Bell