One of New Zealand's leading scientists has been chosen as one of four international experts to help tackle one of the world's biggest problems - how to nourish hundreds of millions of people.
Distinguished Professor Paul Moughan will this year travel to Germany to join the Global Food and Nutrition Security Think Tank, which will report on ways to reduce the number of chronically malnourished people in the world.
Presently, that figure stands at 800 million - and rapid population growth over the coming decades would only compound the problem.
In recent years, however, "considerable inroads" had been made on global malnutrition, said Professor Moughan, co-director of the Massey University-hosted Riddet Institute.
"The think tank will consider how science can aid agriculture and food production to continue to reduce chronic malnourishment."
"Alongside this, we know our planet's population will increase rapidly over the next 50 years.
"We not only need to reduce malnourishment, we also need to find ways to produce more foods so we can support the anticipated population growth, but this must be done sustainably."
The effort would be funded by the International Academy Partnership (IAP), a global network of science academies, and chaired by prominent scientist Professor Volker ter Meulen.
Professor Moughan, who along with Riddet co-director Professor Harjinder Singh is a previous recipient of the prestigious Prime Minister's Science Prize, said he was humbled by the appointment.
"The issues the think tank will consider, while daunting, are not insurmountable.
"We need science-based solutions to the challenges we face. I'm pleased to have been selected and I hope this initiative goes some way to improving the lives of those who currently don't have food or nutrition security."
An analysis in the scientific journal Nature stated that presently, the underlying problem of malnourishment was not a lack of food, but poverty - people were too poor to buy food and about 30 per cent of the world's food was going to waste.
While the highest rates of hunger were in sub-Saharan Africa, most of the planet's undernourished people were in Asia.
Producing enough food in the future would be possible, the journal reported, but doing so without drastically sapping other resources, particularly water, will be difficult.
Many countries could make gains in productivity by improving the use of existing technologies and practices, but sustainable intensification also meant generating greater yields using less water, fertiliser and pesticides.