(AV17549) Revitalizing Agricultural Research for Global Food Security
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(AV17549) Revitalizing Agricultural Research for Global Food Security

October 23, 2019


well good evening everyone and welcome
to the 8th annual Norman Borlaug lecture and I’m dawn bytes and I’d like to
sincerely welcome each and every one of you to this very special evening tonight
the Norman Borlaug lecture obviously named after Norman Borlaug was organized
by the nutritional science council financial support is through the
University Committee on lectures funded by GSB and so this particular lecture
honors the life and work of dr. Borlaug who’s whose picture is going to be
before you there dr. Borlaug passed away on September 12 2009 at his home in
Dallas Texas he was known as the father of the Green Revolution that you’ve
heard many times and the man who fed the world and many of you maybe have read
the book the man who fed the world and I thought it might be appropriate to read
a short statement on the inside cover of this particular book from the day he was
born in 1914 Norman Borlaug has been an enigma how could a child of the Iowa
Prairie who attended a one teacher one-room school who flunked the
university entrance exam and whose highest ambition was to be a high school
science teacher an athletic coach ultimately achieve the distinction as
one of the hundred most influential persons of the 20th century and receives
a Nobel Peace Prize for averting hunger and famine and eventually being hailed
as the man who saved hundreds of millions of lives from starvation more
than any other person in history dr. Borlaug is one of the five people in
history to have received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 the Congressional Gold
Medal the Presidential Medal of Freedom President Bush presented dr. Borlaug the
Medal of Science and in a conversation I am told with President Bush the
President Bush asked when you’re going to retire and live more peacefully
easier or whatever and dr. Borlaug says there’s so much more work to be done I
plan to die with my boots on and he did a few personal data on dr. Borlaug he
was born on a farm in Cresco Iowa in March on march 25th 1914 his wife
Margaret and he celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary isn’t that amazing
and she died in 2007 dr. Borlaug in high school was a wrestler and in fact he was
on the same wrestling team as the famous legendary Harold Nichols of the Iowa
State wrestling coaching Fame he and Margaret had two children Norma Jean and
William and they have five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren dr. Borlaug
followed his friend who got a baseball scholarship as I remember him telling me
to the University of Minnesota and he got the University of Minnesota and he
needed some financial help and so he went to the wrestling coach and said
give me a scholarship for wrestling and he became a member of the wrestling team
at the University of Minnesota he earned a master’s degree in 1940 and a PhD in
1942 all from the University of Minnesota his employment he started out
with working with the u.s. Forest Service as a plant pathologist ended up
working some with DuPont and left that to work with the Rockefeller Foundation
and ended up working at CIMMYT research Center in New Mexico with the project of
trying to develop a more productive wheat which as we all know he did in his
later times he became a distinguished professor at Texas A&M University and
was president of the Sask Okawa African Association because this is his latest
goal was to fight the hunger that is and perhaps will be in Africa in 2004 we had
the distinct pleasure of having dr. Borlaug accept an offer of the
nutritional science council to be the summer lecturer and what that means is
that a person gives 10 hours of lecture to a group of faculty and students on a
specialized topic and of course the specialized topic of dr. Borlaug was
meeting the global food needs of the world of global food needs well we had
record enrollment for that summer lectureship in 2004 and record
attendance by non enrollees a faculty and others and what a pleasure was for
all of us students faculty staff to interact with dr. Borlaug during that
week I always remember three afternoons a week we had it scheduled or he would
visit with students in a conference room in kildee hall and and what I called
halftime in the afternoon about three o’clock is that dr. Borlaug it’s time to
take a break and he said oh no I’m having fun not just send more students
and that’s the attitude that he had and we all know that dr. Borlaug is the
person that saw faith to start the World Food Prize and the first World Food
Prize was offered in 1987 to dr. Swami Nathan so what a man we can all say that
what a man and any of us that have had pleasure of knowing dr. Borlaug
what a pleasure that was indeed so in honor of dr. Borlaug and his family
shall we all stand for a moment of silence thank you so much well it’s my distinct pleasure now to
turn the podium over to president Joffrey who will introduce our speaker
for the night dr. Joffrey thank you very much done and thank you
for that tribute to dr. Borlaug you didn’t mention that he was 90 years old
when he was holding forth in that summer session and and I can remember a few
years ago when he gave a lecture here too I think he was 92 to a packed
audience with as much enthusiasm as any lecturer anytime we certainly do miss
him tonight we are honored to have as our Norman Borlaug lecture this year’s
recipient of the World Food Prize dr. gebisa ejeta
who will receive his award Thursday in Des Moines this is the first time that
the current World Food Prize laureate has presented this lecture and we’re
very grateful to dr. Jenna for coming to our campus in what is an incredibly busy
week for him we also want to extend our congratulations for this wonderful honor
that in so many ways reflects the legacy of dr. Borlaug like so many of the
world’s great scientists and humanitarians including dr. Borlaug who
grew up on a small farm in Iowa dr. Jetta came from very humble
beginnings he was born and grew up in a one-room Hut in rural West Central
Athiya Pia an area that was devastated by poverty but despite that dire
economic conditions doctoral Jettas mother was determined that her son would
receive an education so that he’d be able to rise above the poverty and do
something meaningful with his life and of course she succeeded far beyond her
wildest dreams she made sure that her son went to school walking 20 kilometers
every Sunday night to attend school during the week and then walking back
another 20 kilometers every Friday to return home
and help his family his mother’s determination and doctoral Jettas
perseverance paid off he advanced with honors through grade school in high
school or the bachelors degree from a learn area College in Ethiopia and a PhD
in plant genetics from Purdue University dr. Jetta decided to use his knowledge
and plant breeding skills to make a difference in his native Ethiopia and as
a result he’s made a difference for an entire continent his work with the
International crop Research Institute for the semi-arid tropics based out of
Sudan resulted in the development of a drought tolerant weed resistant high
nutrition and high yielding varieties of sorghum that have become the staple for
half a billion people in Africa the varieties that he developed were the
first hybrid varieties of sorghum introduced into Africa they increased
yield up to five fold and one in particular was developed with an
effective resistance to the strike a plant or witch weed which has long
devastated sorghum yields throughout Africa beyond developing these varieties
he’s worked to integrate seed distribution with farmer education
programs and conservation efforts to promote sustainability and better
economic conditions among African farm families in rural areas doctoral Jetta
continues his work today as a faculty member with Purdue University where he
holds the prestigious title of distinguished professor of agronomy and
he’s staying true to his mother’s wishes by partnering with leaders farmers and
educational institutions in Africa to help other African young people get the
knowledge and skills they need to raise themselves out of poverty and help many
others do the same please join me in welcoming dr. gebisa
ejeta the 2009 World Food Prize laureate and the 2009 Norman Borlaug lecture Thank You dr. Jeffrey for inviting me to
speak here and for that nice introduction I thank the traditional
counsel and dr. Don white for extending this invitation through the president’s
office I also thank dr. Jeffrey and and thank
you for having tonight and I the novel for dinner tonight
appreciate it greatly I’m particularly thrilled to be speaking into this
lecture series that is named after Norman Borlaug the person whose life and
work that have been extensively described and we all admire it is
particularly honoring for me to be invited to speak also at this campus of
Iowa State University as a plan reader Iowa State University distinctively
known for its excellent plant breeding programs I’m afraid I will be chastised
tomorrow by all of the great schools in the country
Purdue University University of Illinois Minnesota Wisconsin Cornell North
Carolina Davis and all of this strong University set of excellent plant
breeding program but I will stick my neck out and declare that Iowa State
University is really the Mecca and Medinah of clam breeding at Purdue University we call our
university the cradle of astronauts I think you need to begin to call our
state university also the cradle of LAM readers
I will I feel how how gratified you must be feeling and how proud you should be
as well that the science that started at this university and the vision that
started at this state through the families of Henry Wallace to really have
catalyzed the major agro-industry complex that established the 20th
century agricultural revolution in this country that started here it’s it’s a
huge distinction and then build up on that to have that experience and that
inspiration to have laid the work of norm Borlaug to have taken that
agricultural revolution to Asia and create the green revolution just for the
honor of the individual said from my limited experience and through the help
of some wise individuals that still serve as institutional memory here that
shared this with me names like Jenson the Jenkins Sprague
Bill Russell Arnett Halle can fry Richard Atkins CR Webber J PASOK and
then my good friend Ando vit that I have a privilege of having worked with to
have these kinds of individuals come through this program and produce
outstanding individuals implementing over the years it’s indeed a huge honor
for me to to come and speak here I have chosen the title of revitalizing
agricultural research for global food security
and I’ll share my thoughts with you on there after nearly two decades of
relative complexity about agriculture world leaders and representatives of
development agencies appear to have reawakened to its importance of economic
growth and political stability at home and in the developing world
they have also come to a new realization of the need for sustained support of
agricultural science and technology generation to transform agriculture in
developing countries and say sustained the advances made in rich nations this
sudden and dramatic shift in world opinion has been prompted by the
convergence of several ominous trends the work of the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change has left no doubt that global climate change will have profound
impact on agriculture during the coming decades the thrust of climate change
coupled with the rapid pace of world population growth threaten global food
security the recent energy crisis food price inflation and the global economic
recession revealed the vulnerability of communities everywhere and in particular
the lasting hardship imposed on the pool together these trends present
agriculture with a truly daunting set of challenges as well as a potentially
great opportunity in this paper I assert that we may have arrived at the
emergence of a new realization we now recognize that our world is not as food
awash as we once believed problems involving global food production and
distribution continue to linger as one of humanity’s fundamental challenges I
believe that we have the capacity to rise to these emerging challenges and
assure sustain global food security we can do this by revitalizing our
agricultural sciences and recommitting to the time-tested mission-oriented
legacy of our land-grant University models and its ideals the long-run model
legislated in the 19th century helped build this great nation and made 20th
century American the envy of the world it has succeeded
internationally bringing about the Asian green revolution championed by norm
Borlaug soldier by M s Swaminathan and many others I believe that even in the
face of emerging 21st century issues like climate change and uncertainty of
the global energy supply the land-grant model can be counted upon once again to
address the challenges of doubling food and feed production the success the
success of modern agriculture over the last century the US agriculture sector
has become one of the most productive in the wall and citizens of this country as
well as the rest of North America and Western Europe Europe have become
accustomed to a safe and relatively inexpensive supply of food agriculture
research in genetics crop and animal husbandry with pests and disease control
through chemical inputs and integrated pest management approaches modern farm
machinery development post harvest technologies and value-added products
spurred the nearly tenfold increase in commodity yields in the United States
over the last hundred years the first agricultural revolution was brought
about by the advent of corn hybrid technology that gave rise to the private
seed industry and the associated complex of business services and partnership one
way the success of modern agriculture is reflected is in how much we pay for food
in 1933 according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service Americans spent more
than 25% of their income on food by 1940 the figure was 20% by 1975 that declined
to 13.8% by 1985 it was eleven point seven percent in 2000 it was below 10
percent for the first time in u.s. recorded history and down to nine point
six percent even in 2008 international statistics provided by ers only account
for the percentage of disposable income spent on food at home still the numbers
show huge display it is between the US and other countries
the u.s. percentage is 6.1 percent the next law laws figure comes from
consumers in the United Kingdom at 8.5 8.3 percent German German consumers to
spend ten point nine percent of their disposable income in food at home
followed by Japan at 13.4 percent South Korea 13 France at 13 among high income
countries among middle-income country South Africa 17.5% Mexico 21.7% China 28
percent in Russia thirty six point seven percent are seeing rapid decrease in
food expenditure percentages but are still relatively high India 39 point per
39.4% and Indonesia are nearly 50 percent are among the highest when it
comes to the amount of disposable income spent on food in contrast the poorest
nation of the world spend 70% or more of their disposable income on feeding their
families the success of modern agriculture resulted not only increased
crop yields and decreased food products prices but also in the growth of the
agribusiness sector one example is the hybrid seed industry that that you know
the story very well I couldn’t help but notice the business of Henry Wallace is
the first year that profit was a thirty three dollars and sixty two cents in
1928 and doubled in in 1929 the Asian Green Revolution it was a success of
u.s. agriculture that spurred the advent of the Asian Green Revolution converting
nations such as India from basket cases to bread baskets in my view the
transformative change brought about by modern Agricultural Sciences in his
native Iowa inspired nor Morlock to dream about helping the poor in
developing countries overcome hunger with the breakthroughs he achieved in
with genetics he saw how the advent of hybrid corn and private sector
initiatives with seed industry and other agribusinesses spurring are only
productivity increases on farm but also in Hansel ah
hood of both rural and urban Americans fresh from the economic hardship of the
Great Depression this must have been an easy lesson for young norm to take to
heart but with his brilliance he gave more in my testimony before the US
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing on global food security last
March I offer the following characterization of this great
American’s contribution to bringing modern agriculture to the poor I quote
no norm Borlaug universally acknowledged the father of Green Revolution is a hero
to me and very many others I personally admire his single-minded devotion to
science and agriculture development and it’s an ending empathy and service for
the poor it’s been a great example for scientific leadership and life so well
lived as I reflect on his accomplishments and leadership however
in my view the genius of norm Borlaug was not in his creation of high yield
potential and input responsive dwarf wheat varieties not even in his early
grasp of the catalytic effects of technology but to a great extent in his
relentless push to mobilize policy support to encourage the development of
the agro industry complex to sustain the synergistic effects of Technology
education and markets the end of course the Asian Green Revolution transformed
agriculture initially in Mexico India and Pakistan expanding expanding later
into Indonesia Thailand Malaysia and Philippines Taiwan China and even to
parts of South Asia this successful venture to eradicate hunger and reduce
rural poverty in these densely populated regions of the world
was made possible yes through agricultural sciences but it would have
remained just another brilliant research finding as an end on that unto itself in
the absence of sustained investments of governments and foundations in
agricultural education research extension infrastructure development and
the support of local governments for credits and markets for inputs and
outputs an intended consequence of this success was that the early achievement
of the great degree revolution were dramatic enough to
create a false impression that the world’s food and farming problems had
mostly been solved as a consequence the international donors who had provided
strong support for agricultural innovations in an investment in the
1960s and 70s and 80s began pooling money and support away
America’s official development assistance in agriculture in Africa
declined declines approximately 85 percent from the mid-1980s to 2006 in
fiscal year 2008 the United States spent 20 times as much on food aid in Africa
as it spent to help African farmers grow their own food as always others followed
the trend set by the US and global public investment – Agriculture Research
dwindled how Green Revolution missed Africa Africa was simply not ready for
science-based Development campaign at the time while the Asian Green
Revolution was being launched in the 1960s independent Africa was being born
much of the human and institutional capacity essential for an agricultural
revolution in Africa was weak and non-existent at the end of Second World
War and into the mid 1960s just after the flurry of newly independent African
Nations few Africans hadn’t graduate degrees in agricultural sciences very
little functional science infrastructure existed across the continent the
vestiges of the few entities left behind by colonial leaders had no substantive
research programs aligned with Africa’s national development the colonial
agriculture research farms were no no more than test stations for commodities
or European interests such as cotton coffee tea and cocoa unfortunately even
when these budding research programs expanded expanded into field crops and
livestock the lack of human capacity meant that the scope of their research
remained very limited they focus more on adoption of improved technology
technologies than on developing new star from local sources gradually with
domestic and foreign investment the long time consuming process of institution
building and laying a foundation for science-based development began the last
vestiges of mass hunger linger in Africa and South Asia where millions of people
live in abject poverty and are regular victims of hunger and occasional famine
following nature’s calamities hunger and poverty are a manatorian flashpoints we
sow during the 2007 2008 period of extremely high world food prices that
human distress in this area can lead to violent political confrontations the
distress of the poor caused by these higher prices has focused greater
political attention on food and hunger issues only three years ago the world
lamented some 800 million people suffered from chronic hunger today some
25 thousand people die each day from malnutrition and more than 1 billion
people nearly one-sixth of the world’s population suffer from chronic hunger
sadly for these very poor 1 billion people a food crisis becomes a chronic
and a permanent problem not a temporary not a temporary situation they can exist
exit when the global economic recession shown sighs shows signs of recovery or
the per barrel prices of oil declines all too often it becomes a multi
generation conduction condemnation of the body and soul that it seems only
second intervention may undo clearly the causes of hunger are many including
natural social economic and political factors generally a global global hunger
is a result of poverty and lack of gainful employment it can also result
from broken social networks at home and in the community triggered by national
disaster civil disturbance war or displacement due to forced migration of
otherwise settle people food shortages can also result from cocktail cartel
total production and/or constrain distribution of existing supply global
hunger is a moral issue and a fundamental problem too big to ignore it
limits the potential of individuals communities and nations for generations
it also undermines all other developmental investments by and on
behalf of poor nations the political and social stability of all nations poor and
rich can be compromised by national regional and global hunger Secretary of
State Hillary Rodham Clinton eloquently articulated the problems at the
announcement of the 2009 World Food Prize in Washington DC when she stated
and I quote this morning 1 billion people around the world woke up hungry
tonight they will go to sleep hungry the effects of chronic hunger cannot be
overstated hunger is not only a physical condition
it’s a drain on economic development a threat to global security a barrier to
health and education and a trap for the millions of people worldwide who work
from sunup to sundown every single day but can barely produce enough food to
sustain their lives in the lives of their families end of quote farming became a profitable undertaking
the developed world where breakthroughs in the science of Agriculture a
dramatically transformed production practices and increased farming
efficiency it drew great investment from both rural and urban businesses crop
yield levels reached greater heights incomes grew and food prices declined an
unfortunate result of this was that society began to take agriculture for
granted in light of the pressing need for public support and other society
needs securing public funding for agriculture and agriculture Sciences
became difficult interestingly the private sector was
investing heavily in agriculture in the rich nations about the same time the
public funding was dwindling although hunger still prevailed and rural poverty
in developing countries was becoming rampart
rampant the decline the decline in public funding for agriculture in the
developed world carried over to foreign assistance for agriculture the decrease
in foreign assistance created a further decline in public spending by the
governments of developing countries in a state of increasing to compensate for
the loss of foreign aid public spending on agriculture as a share of total
public spending and most developing countries declined significantly from 7%
in 1980 to about 4% in 2004 sadly the surplus production in the developed
world was perceived as a solution to the shortages in developing countries food
aid became biggest instrument of intervention to address a problem of a
growing food demand in developing countries by 2007 rich countries devoted
a mere four percent of their foreign assistance to agriculture in Africa
which has the most severe food problems donor aid to the farm sector plunged
from 4.1 billion in 1989 to just 1.19 billion in 2006 Africa’s per capita
production of corn its most important staple crop has dropped by 14 percent
since 1980 equally troubling are sharp cutbacks in research into new
technologies farming techniques and seed varieties that could increase yield crop
yields cope with changing climate conditions barrel new pests and diseases
and make food more nutritious agricultural science has become a victim
of its own success the decline in public funding for agriculture and agricultural
research both here and abroad led to less and less scientific interventions
to advance production agriculture and more to address emerging problems of
natural resources in the environment between 1970 and 1990 global aggregate
crop yields rose by an average of 2% each year since 1990 however aggregate
crop yields has risen by an annual average of just 1.1 percent
the USDA projects a grows in global farmers will continue to fall US
commodity yields are growing at a much lower rate post 1990
to the post Second World War 1950-1953 search is a major cause of this slowing
in farm level productivity grows the farm productivity orientation of u.s.
public R&D funding has dropped from 68 percent in 85 to 57 in 2006 and 7 in a
continuous pattern research funds are being redirected to food safety
nutrition environment and other worthy goals we know that rural hunger and
poverty declined dramatically when Education investment and new
technologies give farmer better ways to be productive this happened in Europe
and North America and the middle decades of the 20th century then in Japan and
then on to the irrigated lands of East and South Asia during the Green
Revolution in the final decades of the 20th century and then came the rude
awakening the initial shock was general agreement by the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change that the warming trend felt in the last few years will continue
and may endanger hundreds of millions of the poor in developing countries as
early as 2020 the potential problems are rising from climate change in terms of
worsening food and water shortages in regions of the world where the poor
dwell are huge this is particularly true in sub-saharan Africa and South Asia
aggravating the growing pressure on land water and food supplies it’s
disheartening developments the global economic recession and skyrocketing
costs of energy around the world made things worse worse as higher energy
prices directly drove up the cost of agricultural inputs such as inorganic
fertilizers insecticides and pesticides farmers in the developed world were able
to work around this Nexus because created to the steel available though
tight but the ability of small farmers in developing countries to respond to
the incentives of higher food prices through increased production was much
more limited furthermore the 2008 food price crisis showed us that the global
food shortages could about disruptions in life that will
resonate to the far fringes of the planet between 2006 and 2008 the average
world price for rice rose by two hundred and seventeen percent wheat by a hundred
and thirty six percent maize by a hundred and twenty five percent and soya
bean by a hundred and seven percent in late April 2008 rice prices hit twenty
four cents a pound twice surprised that it had been several
months earlier several factors contributed to the food price crisis a
perfect storm of poor harvests in various parts of the world
increasing biofuel usage lower food reserves growing consumer demand in Asia
rising oil prices change to the world economy hoarding and government closing
export trade in some countries farm families in the United States and
Western Europe felt the effects as did the masses in developing countries and
with dire consequences there it became evident that without the general balance
between food demand and supply to which we have been accustomed food scarcity
and volatility of food prices will pose a critical global food security in spite
of impossibly because of its proven success US public investments in
agricultural research have dramatically declined in recent years US funding of
natural agriculture research institutions of developing countries has
declined by seventy five percent since nineteen eighty its support for the
consultative group on International Agricultural Research the leading
network of international research centers responsible for developing
innovations in agriculture production system useful to poor farmers in the
developing world has been cut by 47% and its funding for collaborative research
projects between American developing country scientists dropped 55% in the
spring of 2009 a confluence of ideas emerged called for was an end to
complacency and revitalization of agriculture research focused on
alleviating hunger and energizing science-based development among the
first voices that emerged on the topic was one that came
through an excellent report developed by the Chicago Council for global affairs
it made a compelling argument for renewing attention to agriculture in US
development policy calling for increased support in agricultural education
research and extension both here and abroad it argued for research support at
multiple levels including domestic institutions national programs in
developing countries and the International Agricultural Research
Center’s the second major initiative to appear was the lugar KC bill for food
security act submitted to the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Senator
Richard Lugar called her or the bill summarized the challenges when he said
and I could the food security challenges and opportunities for the United States
we are the indisputable leader in agricultural technology a more focused
effort on our part to join with other nations to increase yields create a
economic opportunities for the rural poor and broaden agricultural technology
and knowledge could strengthen relationship around the world and open
up a new era in US diplomacy and of course the lugar kc bill seeks a 2/3
orient us for an assistant to focus on hunger and poverty and to help counter
the emerging global food crisis it seeks a streamlined food security strategy
additional resources for agriculture productivity and rural development and
improvement of the u.s. emergency response to food crisis by creating a
separate emergency food assistant apartment the lugar KC bill is a
back-to-basics approach in its focus on science-based development and calls for
us universities to engage in agricultural education in research in
extension programs who is developing countries in July 2009 the g8 summit
global leaders pledged more than 20 billion to support their a new global
effort towards food security in addition to the financial commitments global
leaders established principles to follow these included use of comprehensive
approach investment in in-country laid plans law
regional and global coordination involvement of multinational
institutions and delivery of accountable commitments in the fall of 2009 global
hunger and food security initiative consultation document was just recently
issued by the US Agency for International Development to begin a new
process for comprehensive approach to food security based on country and
economic planning and collaboration with partners Agriculture’s renewed status
are the vital resource for the sustainable sustainability of human
civilization and the stability of peace and prosperity in the world brings great
opportunities to the agricultural sciences to build on its legacy of
success science and technology must evolve uninterrupted if they are to
continue to have the capacity to respond to emerging societal challenges it goes
without saying that sustained investments in science is a basic
essential for a society nevertheless in my view it’s also critical that these
investments are made in Purpose Driven Science Society said do not invest in
revitalization of the agricultural sector and in advancing the agricultural
sciences as serve humanity are in danger of facing another round of cruel
surprises when the next series of food and resource shortages come around our
food and natural resource problems are also becoming increasingly more and more
complex with highly interconnected ramifications the solutions for these
problems would require that we develop a more global perspective with respect to
the nature of the issues we address a scientist as well as to the breadth of
consideration they will require the following challenges reflect the types
of emerging challenges the complexity of their nature and the diversity of tools
required to adequately address them just to use the first one as an example
as we all know this is the message dr. Borlaug preached for a long time the
world population is increasing is about nearly 6 billion now expected to
increase in the next four decades or so and the implication of that is that we
will have to figure some way of doubling our food production in the next four or
five decades suggesting perhaps we will have to learn how to produce as much
food in the next four or five decades as we did since the beginning of
civilization and not only that we are a lot more sensitive about how we would go
about getting that done than we were you know since in in in the 20th century
agriculture revolution and so the responsibilities that we have for
natural resource conservation and sensitivities to the environment and the
need to boost productivity means that we have to be dealing with very complex
sets of issues and so the way we would need to approach solving those problems
are going to be changing maybe interdisciplinary approaches a more
system-wide approaches and so to be able to develop the kinds of research tools
and skills we would have to invest today before the problems become complex and
the tendency is to take the productivity growth that we have for granted and not
and now be investing and that’s the kind of danger that we may be facing and so
I’ll move this through these quickly and maybe leave it for interaction later on globalizing US agriculture research
institutions maybe a few comments on why we need to globalize international
technical assistance is often thought in terms of humanitarian assistance but
it’s an issue that is more than compassion based it’s more than just the
right thing to do national diplomatic economic and even security interests are
are implicated nations that have their development
diplomatic and defense interests align along ethical grounds would not have
their global stature compromised such nations hedge against serious dangers
arising from failed states have greater chance of increasing their economic and
trade exchange and heighten their moral standing and opportunities of cultural
growth of their populace there is a great legacy of US universities in
helping build and strengthen institutions in developing countries
institutional in human capacity building remain of the most lasting contribution
to the growth and development of nation institution building is a necessary
foundation in nation building universities in the United States have
played significant roles in the development of many such foundations
early investments have strengthened the economic development of very many poor
nations while enhancing the vitality of the better endowed countries the history
of US foreign assistance is replete with several such experiences and with varied
levels of success some argue that all the institutional programs are no more
in vogue but they need to be back in vogue because I can’t think of a more
lasting contribution one can make to help a nation than to build its human
capacity and strengthen its fledgling institutions I’m a product of a
technical assistant program and I can attest to it with some confidence in
authority these are the series of illustration of
building international agriculture globalization activities the US
universities have engaged in with great success the capacity building and
institutional building efforts if I would go through some examples a number
of US universities have been involved in the development and strengthening of
institutions in India Purdue University for years started the college of the
University of Agriculture in the Sousa and helped build Embrapa along with
several other universities in the United States I’m a product of a technical
assistance program the US Agency International Development put in place
in Ethiopia through Oklahoma State University today the who is home
agriculture in my country had come through that university that was
supported by Oklahoma State and and I learned recently that Iowa State
University has had a long history of involvement in Central and South America
for a number of years starting as early in 1945 when the first established the
tropical research station in Guatemala one of the models for institution
building and that that I suggest that we all consider is that if in a station
building as a way used to be was was too expensive may not work under the current
situation a model that potentially work is a with sister University concept both
in developed countries and developed in developed inner city in developed
country institutions the International Agricultural Research systems you know
about 15 international centers around the world several of our US universities
have collaborated engagements with them I know among others Iowa State
University has a relationship with cement and maybe many other
and there are a number of universities that are not involved in those kinds of
engagement more and more of that need to be to be encouraged if if we are going
to expose our own students and faculty develop perspective about the rest of
the world and bring in the world to the classroom and also bring our faculty to
the assistance of institution somewhere else so that we create a better world I’m serving as a member of the Science
Council of the international research centers as part of their responsibility
I was rushed charge to develop a think piece for how to mobilize linkages
between US universities and the international agriculture research
centers I make two arguments in in that piece and one is we need collaborative
linkages for advancing science in the upstream linkages because science and
development and technology is emerging emerging at a fast pace
and findings for science are coming not only from the traditional sources of
north american universities and european universities but they are coming also
from non-traditional sources nations like China India and Brazil have become
sources of knowledge and and new powerhouses in our emerging in advancing
this science and also the private sector it used to be even when I was in
graduate school the source of knowledge was the public institutions and industry
was a source that took that converting it to technology and commercializing it
today the way we do science have changed it’s all based on on sophisticated
equipment sophisticated tools and the private sector has invested more on
where they are beginning to lead in the technology advances and so collaboration
with the private sector is also in our best interest so we need for all
institutions to further strengthen their science and for their partnership and
alliances so that we have the synergy that is needed from public public public
private linkages that we can develop I also make a similar argument in the
downstream linkages and that is that we’ve maybe shied away or moved away
from our science for development ideal and we may need to get back to it and
this is particularly apparent when you deal with developing countries where
there is a push to advance the cause of science for agriculture research but yet
the technology dissemination delivery linkages are very weak and so if we
don’t lick the discovery to product development to technology delivery then
the utility of science for changing light livelihood is not going to take
place and so building relationship both again public public and public private
partnership in that area is getting to be crucially important we organized the
Science Forum recently in Netherlands we have participation from both from all
over the world really and we had a good dialogue and my hope is that Nuuk
linkages would be created not only with the land-grant universities and
international centers these are the traditional linkages but also the
science in the non land grant universities here needs to be brought in
to be solving some of the more intractable problems that we deal with
and and I think the opportunities are greater if we also expand those
opportunities to them the key essentials for revitalizing agriculture research
for global food security I think the following key essentials are
crucially important revitalize the u.s. land-grant University model to meet the
needs of today mobilize our universities and research centers in earnest global
efforts strengthen the public/private partnership of our education research
programs and embrace and lead dialogue and plans
for emerging societal challenges revitalizing agriculture research for
global food security will require commitment at multiple levels we need
our educators and researchers who uphold the ideals of public service expose
scholars for to opportunities for social service push for appropriate funding at
key state federal and global levels and look for supplemental funding from
foundations in the private sector let me let me conclude my remarks with these
statements revitalization of the Agricultural Sciences is badly needed to
avert another food crisis and to assure global food security in a world where
demand for food is rising an available food can easily be mobilized around
assuring local food security is a vital is vital if we are to have global peace
and prosperity however reinvigorating the production
processing and distribution of the world food system will require earnest
commitments and major changes in national international policies these
include renewed support for the science of Agriculture Natural Resource
Conservation and protection of the environment we need more than a change
in the federal framework supporting agriculture research we need an infusion
of federal funding to address the challenges facing us in food security
and availability preventing disruptions to food supplies in managing agriculture
natural resource systems the problems of agricultural becoming increasingly
complex requiring more holistic and integrated approaches to solving them
tackling these complex problems adequately demands serious
considerations in the mobilization of the talent needed as well as in resource
commitment to support our earnest efforts past investments in agriculture
research have produced solutions for problems of yesteryears and are we are
the proud proud of the legacy we need to now embark and emerge shall
embark on the emerging challenges and early on we have a talented cadre that
is eager to be mobilized we need the necessary resources to be
able to tackle these seemingly intractable problems of Agriculture
natural resources in the environment it would require that we also rekindle in
the new generation of scientist the Saints of Purcell purpose espoused in
the wisdom of line University Mauro I am certain there was some rethinking the
available talent can be mobilized to effectively address these complex
problems new funding opportunities are emerging for catalyzing a revitalized
global engagement in the agricultural sciences
if one leaders act on the recent pledges to boost support for global agriculture
research and development it will spark a new era we will see new science-based
solutions to problems of hunger natural resource conservation and protection of
the environment I’m hopeful that the commitments being made for international
technical assistance will be made by concurrent commitment from national
governments for domestic agriculture research both in the US and other
countries a revitalized agriculture research with holistic approach to
sustainable growth in agriculture is the key to averting future food crisis
dealing with natural resource conservation energy and water shortages
and adapting to climate change thank you dr. Godot will take questions and we
have a mic in the center if you please use that thank you very much for a
wonderful talk dr. Jetta and congratulations on your prize I
you’ve mentioned multiple times during your talk agribusiness and in the United
States one of the effects of agribusiness was moving a lot of these
small family farmers off of the farms and in sub-sahara Africa sub-saharan
Africa that a large percentage of the people while they’re spending 70% of the
money and probably the physical effort on running these small farms whatwhat do
you see what’s your picture of what you see do you see an agribusiness like what
we have in the United States coming into sub-sahara Africa or do you see a
university extension program that teaches the farmers who are there in
place and doing farming to to become much more sustainable thank you I want
them both I want a public extension service that is revitalized we have
tried the land-grant University model to have research education and extensions
to work in in developing countries where it’s given the chance it has worked very
beautifully but the problem in many of the developing countries is the model
cannot be put in place where it can work very well and one of the problems that
we’ve had is education is in one ministry research is in another ministry
an extension is in another ministry and trying to have them orchestrate and the
interconnections in getting people educated do the research extend the
technology has been very varied I didn’t have the time to go through the
various paradigm shifts that are taking place in technology extension in Africa
and various approaches have been tried and in some places work relatively well
in others they did not work and so what I’d like to see is is is a balanced
approach of getting some public service put in place with the mechanism that
would force it to work and work well so that we are mission oriented the the
sense of purpose that we need to have improvements in livelihood in develop in
farm communities have taken place through the service of public extension
program if we can get that going that’s very good but also there is a limit on
how much of that could take place there is a limit on how big an extension
service a public program can can develop and grow and so it is in the best
interest of the community to also encourage the private sector I think we
need to realize the opportunities that the catalytic effect of the agribusiness
complex that is emerging bringing about opportunities for gainful employment
even for those that have to be forced on the farm and so this balanced approach
if we could give it an opportunity to work is what I would like to see dr.
Jetta yes I just like to thank you for your wonderful lecture and for being
here tonight it’s a great honor my question is kind of a follow up of the
previous advancement in the use of agriculture technology in order to
encourage high yields unfortunately has caused a decline in some areas of act of
Africa of arable land specifically with nutrient mining where erosion and
bleaching of the soil has actually decreased yields what I guess programs
are in place now or what are they looking to the future I guess to have an
effect on may be encouraging nutrients like either fertilizers or whatever
going back to the soil or there are other programs that they’re
looking to put in place can I politely disagree with your premise yeah I don’t
know if any situation in Africa where the nutrient mining has resolved or the
degradation of the environment has result as a result of excessive use of
technology I think the problems in Africa has been for lack of technology
therefore the land is mined the land is continually degraded because we’re
continually mining the land with no feeding back to the soil of nutrients at
all and so anything that we could do to encourage crop rotation and natural
practices or cultural practices that would encourage the enrichment of the
nutrients in the soil including use of inorganic fertilizers I think you know
what are the things that you would be totally surprised to find out that in
the 1950s maybe early 60s total fertilizer use average in Africa
was around 9 kilograms per hectare today it’s about 15 percent or less at the
most so we’ve got a long way to go in Africa before the concerns that you
express could become to reality but the point important point in your message is
to be cognizant of that possibility of the problem that arises and learn from
the mistakes of the developed world and be cognizant of that possibility and be
sensitive to the concerns of the natural resources and the concerns of the
environment but we’ve got we’ve got a long long way to go and so I again as I
said politely disagree with you in terms of the need for encouraging the use of a
modern technology African agriculture doctor he’s gotta
let me first of all congratulate you on a brilliant lecture my name is chell
stone Brathwaite I’m from Eureka the inter-american Institute for cooperation
and agriculture based in Costa Rica and you have made a very significant call
for action a call to return agriculture his rightful place in development a call
for more engagement of the entire society in focusing on the challenges
that we have as we move forward in this 21st century I would like to
congratulate you on your ward one of the things that impressed me about your work
is the fact that you are working on a crop and a group of crops that are not
traditional traditional in the sense of our concept of five basic crops that
humankind has concentrated on on in the last 50 years for the basic nutritional
needs and I think it’s very important that we begin to see our world and our
future in the context not of the traditional five of wheat maize potatoes
soya bean and rice but in the context of those crops that are vital for the food
needs of the developing world such as sorghum yams sweet potatoes Eidos
bananas etc and the need for technological research and technological
information on these crops is critical for the future because these are the
crops that the majority of the people in the developing world need and that is
where the great population growth will take place in the future that’s the
first point the second point which I would like to raise which is more of a
question rather than a comment has to do with technological research and I wonder
whether in fact the critical need is not more for education rather than for
research because in a real sense one of the
failures of our agricultural paradigm today is that a significant amount of
the technology has not been transferred and it has not been transferred to those
who need it most which are the small developing farmers
in the developing world and part of the reason it has not been transferred the
lack of education and I wonder sometimes whether we’re not putting too much
emphasis on the technology and not sufficient emphasis on education in
order for the technology to be transferred my last point has to do in
my view with a focus not exclusively on agriculture but a focus on agriculture
and health really because I see a problem looming more and more people in
this world are dying from non communicable diseases and one of the
real tragedies of our time has to do with the increase in these non
communicable diseases which is associated with bad food choices not so
much malnutrition but bad food choices in terms of what people eat and I wonder
if there is not a need as we go forward to look at nutrition and the
relationship between nutrition health and agriculture as a nexus for the new
phase of development those are my comments thank you comments thank you
doctor is there any movement towards bringing
agriculture population and natural resources together to work together and
to see the whole picture you know other than echoing the
sentiment of the need to do that there are there are very few places I think
your own sustainable AG program here at Iowa State University is a good example
trying to do that but but again the point that I’m trying to make in my
presentation here is these problems are getting more and more complex and the
nexus that you identified is a very good example and and so the need to begin to
have themes somatic programs in place where we begin to look at a holistic
approach to the situation number of nexuses we could develop and I think the
consensus is that there are a series of these grand challenges that are emerging
but and then there are enthusiasm among our faculty developing for these
challenges we’re beginning to visualize and develop a cadre of faculty that are
interested not only in the narrow fields of research that we all do but we being
we begin to to be interested in addressing societal challenges but that
needs to be met with concomitant funding that would encourage at the policy level
to encourage us to take that up because trying to find solutions for those is
not going to happen overnight it’s going to require for us to begin to develop
the tools that would allow us to address that even that is going to take time we
need to invest in those today so that we will be in a position when that problem
really is earnest we have a team of people who are who are become able to to
address those I think this is a long way around the point that you’re making but
I agree we need to begin to do that and I think there is a lot of discussion
along those lines my own department we spent nearly two years trying to
identify grand challenge problems that we based on the skills and talents that
we have to be able to address some of those
grand challenges I identified out of the the grand challenges in our department
that we identified I recently saw a grand challenge list from an American
Society of agronomy those are fairly similar with the Grand Challenges that
we identify so if we could do the same at Iowa State I don’t think it would be
much different but again that interest that earnest identification of what we
need to do is a first step and the second is we need to get the resources
also we are able to begin to do provide some of the evidences that we are on the
right path and then the third would be to actually solving problems congratulations to you doctor I got my
name is Richard Miro when you talk about investing more in our culture or
revitalizing our culture technology development for food security what’s
your view about the increasing cash needs even among you know poorer
communities who are the same time you know having food shortages you know they
have when you talk about technology are also talking about their ability to
invest in using that technology I don’t know what your view is about the
increasing cash needs not days even beyond you know free alga culture and
actually the actual need of investing in technology and maybe the other point
would be the place of markets for smallholder agriculture or worked in
country our culture so the balance between food security of markets that
could help with the cash needs and then certainly the balance between cash and
food thank you what what you’re raising is a very important point
I have no reservation whatsoever indicating science-based development is
a key for changing life livelihood in Africa in developing countries but at
the same time policy interventions are needed and one of those policy
interventions is subsidy I don’t know of an economy that
developed with our significant subsidy from governments in agriculture and in
Africa we’ve been advised for too long to shower to shy away from subsidies and
so as we demonstrate technologies to our poor farmers they are willing to take it
but one the contrary investments in agriculture technology is not
compensated at the market level and so there is a need to help them with that
but at the same time we need to also make the burden of investing in the
input market for them lighter meaning that some subsidies are required but but
I don’t think the substitute then is to leave them without science because I I
see that as a solution for for a lot of the problems in Africa we have two more items of business
before we adjourn first of all I’d like to invite dr. E Jetta back to the podium
and we have an award that we would like to present to you it’s a glass sculpture
laser engraved with the image of the Cornhusker from our long ago
artist-in-residence christian petersen and it’s entitled the norman borlaug
lecture 2009 Iowa State University Ames Iowa gebisa ejeta and now I done bites has some award
winners to announce Thank You president drove free and thank you for that
wonderful a presentation this is another very exciting part of the evening and
that is recognizing the folks that displayed their research they’re some of
our bright undergraduates and graduate students who are working on world food
issues we had the 18 participants with 12 posters and we thank all you
participants for sharing your research with the audience also I’d like to thank
the colleges of Agriculture and life science Liberal Arts & Sciences and
Human Sciences for financial support of our poster contest and thanks to the
group of judges who work diligently to rank all of the posters and I am told
that this is the best contest ever the judges had a very difficult time
deciding who is 3rd 2nd and 1st in the undergraduate and graduate student
categories so what they did though come up with three winners and we would like
those folks to come forward and receive their award from President Joffrey and
congratulations from both President Joffrey and dr. E Jetta and after you
pick up your award just stay off to the side as a whole group and we will
recognize you appropriately so for the undergraduates the third-place poster is
was presented by a Rachael farhat Amanda Chung and alessa’s Alexis Baier second-place poster was by Sam bird and
Nate looker did you come forward pace the first place winner in the
undergraduate category is Rin Weston and her poster was introduction of
menstrual management resources to primary school girls the third place in
graduate students lisa Wasco Lisa and while she’s coming forward the title
of her presentation was Ugandan school garden program influences agricultural
knowledge transfer and home gardening practices second place Han Zhang Jiang numbers second position title of his
poster dosage effect of high amylose modifier gene on resistant starch
content of maize amylose extender starch and the first place winner is Eric
Nanaki title of Eric’s poster was nutritional
status of pregnant women in rural community strict Uganda so those are our
six winners for tonight and let’s give them all as a group a last round of
applause Thank You president drove free and dr.
Ashida and thank you all for participating in the poster contest all
you 18 participants and what a joy it is to see so many of you here tonight this
was a wonderful evening thank you for much so much for your participation in
the eighth annual Borlaug lecture we will do this again next year come back

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