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Norwich scientist represents UK at youth agriculture summit in Brazil

PUBLISHED: 14:49 05 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:07 05 December 2019

Joshua Joyce, a plant researcher at Norwich's John Innes Centre, represented the UK at the Bayer Youth Ag Summit in Brazil. Picture: Bayer / Youth Ag Summit

Joshua Joyce, a plant researcher at Norwich's John Innes Centre, represented the UK at the Bayer Youth Ag Summit in Brazil. Picture: Bayer / Youth Ag Summit

Bayer / Youth Ag Summit

A Norwich-based crop researcher said he was impressed by the global enthusiasm for more sustainable farming after representing the UK at a youth agriculture summit in Brazil.

Joshua Joyce, a plant researcher at Norwich's John Innes Centre, represented the UK at the Bayer Youth Ag Summit in Brazil. Picture: John Innes CentreJoshua Joyce, a plant researcher at Norwich's John Innes Centre, represented the UK at the Bayer Youth Ag Summit in Brazil. Picture: John Innes Centre

Josh Joyce, a PhD candidate in plant sciences at the John Innes Centre, joined delegates from 45 countries who travelled to South America for the Bayer Youth Ag Summit to share ideas on how to improve food security and sustain a burgeoning world population.

The group - including young business leaders, technologists, lawyers and scientists - heard from industry experts and toured Brazilian farm business SLC Agricola, which is monitoring data to improve crop performance and using precision technology to reduce applications of fertiliser and pesticides.

Mr Joyce, 22, from Melbourn in Cambridgeshire, said: "There is a huge amount of incredible energy among people who are really motivated to make a change to contribute to the UN's sustainable development goal two, which is zero hunger.

"The other thing that really stood out for me is that there is a lot of great science out there, and also here in Norwich at places like the John Innes Centre and other institutes. We have got technology being developed all over the world and if we implement that technology we can increase yields and reduce the environmental impact of farming.

"To see it in action has really broadened my horizons and I want to bring that back to the JIC and some of the projects I am working on."

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Despite the heavy criticism aimed at Brazil for the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, Mr Joyce said he was encouraged by the "significant" ecological efforts on the farm he visited.

"Brazil, almost surprisingly, is leading the way with a lot of this stuff," he said. "I think a lot of the farmers over there are really pushing it and they see it as an opportunity to lead the way. There was a lot of discussion around sustainable approaches and opening it up to us to see if we thought they were being ambitious enough.

"From what we saw at the summit, people are really trying to make an effort now to see the impact of various approaches on the sustainability of their own farming, but also on global sustainability. It was nice to see everyone making a really serious effort to make their farming and all their approaches more sustainable."

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