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Now Serving 9 Billion: A Global Town Hall
Date:2/12/2010

World-Renowned Policy Experts Held International Discussion to Find Solutions to Agricultural Challenges of the 21st Century

Global Town Hall Discussed How to Feed a Hungry World, Preserve Water and Improve the Lives of Farmers

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An eminent panel of science and policy experts braved a historic blizzard today to identify solutions for the greatest agricultural challenges of all time.  The global dialogue comes in response to a final call for action from the late Nobel Laureate, Dr. Norman Borlaug, to feed the world and improve the lives of farmers, all while preserving natural resources.

Now Serving: 9 Billion:  A Global Dialogue on Meeting Food Needs for the Next Generation highlighted the opportunities and challenges facing farmers and nations in the coming century, especially as global population continues to rise, resources become more scarce, and climate and pest pressures continue to mount.  Participants from over 30 countries on four continents shared their thoughts and perspectives with the panel of experts as part of this global dialogue.  

Moderated by Emmy-Award winning journalist Frank Sesno, the event was hosted by CropLife International, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST).

Panelists included Nina V. Fedoroff, Ph.D., Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State and to the Administrator of USAID; Mark Cantley, former head of the European Union’s “Concertation Unit for Biotechnology in Europe” and of OECD’s Biotechnology Unit; Gale Buchanan, Ph.D. former U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics; Robert Paarlberg, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College and a leading expert on international agricultural and environmental policy; and, Calestous Juma, Ph.D., Professor of the Practice of International Development and Director of the Science, Technology and Globalization Project at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

“While there is no single solution to the agricultural challenges we are facing, innovations in farming and plant sciences, and a commitment to continued research into new technologies, will be crucial to helping achieve food security” noted Denise Dewar, Executive Director of Plant Biotechnology at CropLife International, a global federation representing the plant science industry. “Today’s global dialogue was an opportunity to consider new ground-breaking perspectives on agricultural policy for the 21st century.”

“Cutting-edge science, combined with sound public policy, offers the only real solution to the economic, environmental and nutritional issues confronting both producers and consumers worldwide,” commented Sharon Bomer, Executive Vice President of the Food and Agriculture Section at the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

A new report from CAST, “Agricultural Productivity Strategies for the Future: Addressing U.S. and Global Challenges,” was introduced at the event, prefaced by the last published words of the late agronomist and microbiologist Dr. Borlaug. Known as the father of the Green Revolution, Dr. Borlaug is one of only six people to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. The new report was designed as an update to CAST Paper No. 1, written by Dr. Borlaug in 1973.

“Extending Norman Borlaug’s legacy of increasing crop yields through modern farming techniques is critical if we are to keep feeding a growing world,” said John Bonner, CAST’s Executive Vice President and CEO.

Today’s event, held during an historic snowstorm at the Newseum in downtown Washington, D.C., was also live-streamed to a global audience. Participants were able to ask real-time questions through YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and e-mail.

The webcast is available for download and continued comment at www.cropnewsnetwork.com.  

The CAST paper is available at: http://www.cast-science.org/displayProductDetails.asp?idProduct=168.

CropLife International is the global federation representing the plant science industry.  It supports a network of regional and national associations in 91 countries, and is led by companies such as BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, FMC, Monsanto, Sumitomo and Syngenta.  CropLife International promotes the benefits of crop protection and biotechnology products, their importance to sustainable agriculture and food production, and their responsible use through stewardship activities.

BIO represents more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations.  BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.  BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world.

CAST is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization composed of scientific societies and many individual, student, company, nonprofit, and associate society members.  CAST's Board is composed of representatives of the scientific societies, commercial companies, and nonprofit or trade organizations, and an executive committee.  CAST was established in 1972 as a result of a 1970 meeting sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council.  The primary work of CAST is the publication of task force reports, commentary papers, special publications, and issue papers written by scientists from many disciplines. All CAST Issue Papers and CAST Commentaries are available as free downloads at www.cast-science.org.

SOURCE CropLife International

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SOURCE CropLife International
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