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UNU-Kirin Fellows awarded
The belief that population growth will outstrip food supplies keeps cropping up, though it is now focused on particular areas, especially the sea, where certain fish stocks have been plundered to the point of exhaustion. But so far the theory that the world will reach some sort of natural limit in food production, as predicted by the early 19th-century economist Thomas Malthus, has not been validated.
Keeping the Malthusian dilemma at bay depends on constantly bringing about technical advances in food production and processing, whether these gains be high-yielding seeds, irrigation, or better methods of refrigeration. Science and technology hold the key to future growth in the supply of food.
To help build up the capacity of food research institutions in developing countries in Asia, the UNU and Kirin Brewery Company hold an annual training programme in which five of the region's top scientists come to Japan to learn about the latest techniques in food science, which they then teach to their fellow countrymen when they return home.
An award ceremony for the 1997 Kirin Fellows was held on 30 March at the UNU Centre. At the event, UNU Rector Hans van Ginkel presented four of the fellows with award certificates for completing the one-year training at Japan's National Food Research Institute (NFRI) in Tsukuba. Sunil Kumar Khare from India, Enkhtaivan Gombosuren from Mongolia, Karuna Wongkrajang from Thailand, and Truong Nam Hai from Viet Nam all started their advanced food science and technology training at NFRI in April 1997. Each gave a brief summary of their research results during the ceremony. A fifth fellow, Li Hebiao from China, died in September.
The UNU-Kirin Fellowships began in April 1993 with an annual contribution of ¥34 million from Japan's Kirin Brewery Company, pledged for an initial period of five years and recently extended for five more.
Kirin's contribution supports the training of five researchers from developing countries in Asia with one-year research and training opportunities in food science and technology at NFRI and support for their continued research efforts when they return home.