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Futurist Keynote, Malaysia: The Future of Food 2.0



In this keynote session futurist Matthew Griffin discusses how technology is changing how and where we produce food, and how new technology could sustainably feed everyone on the planet.


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Firstly, thank you to Seema at Emnes for asking me to be their Future of Food keynote at their annual Food Festival Summit held at the prestigious Kuala Lumpar Golf and country Club, a green oasis in the center of Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia which so far unlike a lot of the country has resisted being developed into housing – or oil palm plantations. While it was an in person event the sessions themselves weren’t recorded so I recorded the video you see post event so I could share it.


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Seen by many as nature’s perfect garden ironically Malaysia imports 90% of its food, according to the agricultural ministry, a staggering statistic that puts it on a par with the desertified Middle East. In part this is because of the 10 Million hectares of agricultural land the country has 6.5 Million of it is given over to oil palm plantations, another 1.5 Million is given over to rubber plantations, which then leaves just 2 Million hectares to grow crops for the remaining human and livestock populations. Which, obviously, is no where near enough for a country with a population of over 100 Million people.


The Future of Food, by keynote Matthew Griffin


However, as the country’s population grows, and as the price of imported foods soars many people in the country are now looking to alter this ratio and invest heavily in new food production technologies that include cellular agriculture, vertical and urban farms, and new protein manufacturing methodologies. However, while those ramp they’re also investing heavily in educating farmers and supporting the scaling up of precision agriculture.


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During my keynote I discussed all of these and more, and showed the audience of East Asian academics, business leaders and entrepreneurs, government representatives, and investors how almost all forms of food production from the growing of Tier 1, 2, and 3 crops to the production of coffee, dairy, palm oil, soya, and even whey, can be affordably scaled to feed a growing global population without the onerous environmental footprint – something that’s as much as a multi-deca-trillion dollar industry transition as well as a global cultural mind shift.

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