Thursday, October 16, 2014

We Have Work To Do

Day two certainly did not disappoint at the Borlaug Dialogue at the World Food Prize. As the dialogue continued in Des Moines we hope that the dialogue continues in your home communities and classrooms. As yesterday this post includes key points and recaps to spark discussion with others regarding The Greatest Challenge in Human History.

Students from Hawkeye Community College Agriculture department at the World Food Prize

Soil Health and the Fertilizer Gap Moderator: Pedro Sanchez 2002 World Food Prize Laureate

Esin Mete, President of International Fertilizer Industry Association; Ruth Oniang'o, Chair of Sasakawa Africa Association; Amit Roy, President and CEO of International Fertilizer Development Center; Kari Niedfeldt-Thomas Executive Director of Mosaic Company Foundation; Xinping Chen, Director of Center of Ecology and Environmental Sciences at China Agriculture University
  • Healthy crops can only grow in healthy soils. This is achieved with proper fertilization.
  • Make sure soil is protected and productive.
  • Nutrient stewardship and micro nutrient management are key principles in fertilization.
  • In China the problem is too much fertilizer, while in Africa it is not enough.
  • Zinc and iodine deficiencies in humans are a big concern. This needs to be addressed through fertilization of plants.
  • In Finland they have added selenium fertilizer to address heart disease.
Special Address Pamela Anderson, Director of Agricultural Development at the Gates Foundation
  • We need to invest in public plant breeding programs. Has been done with corn. No we must expand to other crops.
  • Two Pathways for Success
    • Increase productivity gains in staple foods
    • Focus on women and girls in agriculture
  • Mobile and digital technology will be huge to increase production.
  • To achieve Sustainable Productivity Growth
    • Increasing potential productivity
    • Increasing realized productivity in the field
    • Transforming productivity into value
Is This the Model to Uplift the African Smallholder? Emma Mugerwa Naluyima, Farmer from Uganda

Dr. Emma shared her one acre farming operation with us. She splits her farm into quarters and produces a balance of vegetables, fruits, livestock and greenhouse products. Nothing on her farm is wasted. She even uses the methane from cattle manure to run her stove. She has added value to her production and is a very successful farmer. She stressed the importance of engaging children and young people in agriculture. For this reason she is building a primary school rooted in agriculture for African children.

Keynote Address Emest Bai Koroma, President of Republic of Sierra Leone (via video feed)
  • Ebola is a disease that attacks youth and farmers. It is destroying farms.
  • Over 75% of population is under 40 in Sierra Leone.
  • Youth must transform agriculture in Sierra Leone.
  • Sierra Leone has seen gains in yields and this trend is continuing.
  • Ebola is affecting everything in their country from agriculture to the economy.
  • We will defeat Ebola and it's deadly ramifications.
Focus on Africa: Policy and Partnerships Moderator: Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, CEO and Head of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network

Florence Chenoweth, Minister of Agriculture Liberia; Gerardine Mukeshimana, Minister of Agriculture Republic of Rwanda; Joseph Sam Sesay, Minister of Agriculture Sierra Leone; Paul Schickler, President of DuPont Pioneer; Birtukan Dagnachew, Farmer from Ethiopia

Birtukan started by sharing her success story of farming in Ethiopia that faced many challenges along the way. She shared the following:
  • She credited extension programs for her success.
  • She had a very diverse farm.
  • Agriculture is very labor intensive in Africa
  • Major issue facing Agriculture in Ethiopia
    • Climate change
    • Soil degradation
    • Women are not empowered
Each Minister of Agriculture then shared how their countries are battling the areas addressed above and any unique programs they are implementing in their respective countries.Schickler from DuPont explained how the private sector can help and gave the following keys to solve the problems:
  • Education
  • Partnerships
  • Investment
40 Chances Fellows Award Winners Howard W. Buffett, Lecturer at Columbia University

Howard presented $150,000 to four separate individuals developing agriculture in African countries. Applicants had to be under the age of 40 and the four winners were chosen from a field of over 260 applicants. Each award winner and their program was highlighted.

Symposium Luncheon Address Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman and Founder of Econet Wireless
  • Africa has more cell phones than the United States and Europe combined.
  • Four of ten children will be born in Africa.
  • We must get everyone interested in Agriculture.
  • We must put women at the center of our work to improve agriculture.
  • Average corn yields; United States = 180 bushels/acre, Africa = 20 bushels/acre
Water for Agriculture: Trend Lines and Gaps Moderator: Margaret Catley-Carlson, Member UN Secretary General's Advisory Board on Water

Dilip Kulkarni, President of Agri-Food Division Jain Irrigation; Paul Bakus, President of Nestle Corporate Affairs; Dan Bena, PepsiCo Global Operations
  • Soil moisture is one of the most important factors to growth and productivity of a plant.
  • Water scarcity issues are not going away and climate change suggests it will get worse.
  • Both water scarcity and water excess are issues. Scarcity (drought) is more predictable than excess (flooding).
  • One quadrillion litters of water are wasted annually.
  • 30-40% of food waste is tied to water issues.
  • Policy is a touchy subject with water. How do you regulate, monitor, or measure?
The Secretary's Roundtable

Enrique Martinez Y Martinez, Secretary of Agriculture Mexico
  • It is key to share research and advances between the United States and Mexico.
  • In Mexico there is a focus on applied research.
  • One third of harvest lost is due to storage issues in Mexico.
  • Truly seeing improved production in Mexico. Must find a way to manage surplus of crops and dropping prices.
  • GMO crops are very controversial in Mexico. All science says they are safe. Some simply oppose, because they do not want to lose Mexican genetics.
Tom Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture
  • 133 billion pounds of food goes to waste each year in the United States. This is the biggest solid waste in landfills and big factor in creating methane gases.
  • Climate change is affecting production.
  • United States remains committed to working out trade relations with the European Union. Biotechnology education is key to this.
  • The United States and Mexico do not look at agriculture as competition, but rather how can we work together.
  • Technology transfer, open data, and shared practices are what we need to feed 9 billion poeple by 2050.
Precision Agriculture and Big Data: The Next Frontier Moderator: David Muth, Senior VP of AgSolver Inc.

John May, President of Agricultural Solutions and CIO with John Deere; Claudia Garcia, Senior Director of Global Market Access with Elanco Animal Health; David Gebhardt, Director of Agronomic Data and Technology with WinField; Kerry Preete, Executive VP of Global Strategy with Monsanto
  • Precision Ag has a different definition for all farmers depending on their purposes and needs.
  • There is a lot more focus on in-season data.
  • Precision Ag is also for the livestock industry.
  • We need to focus on more than feeding an additional two billion people by 2050, but also feeding the three billion people moving into the middle class. Precision Ag can help increase yields.
  • Precision Ag is not just about economics, but also about conservation.
It was an amazing day of learning and analyzing agriculture practices at the Borlaug Dialogue. We look forward to a great Friday when the Borlaug Dialogue continues!

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