On 08 February 2012, CIMMYT’s Director General Thomas Lumpkin participated as a speaker in the Economist Conference “Feeding the World: The 9 Billion People Question” in Geneva, Switzerland. Attendees included a number of high level representatives and government officials, including Kanayo Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Jikun Huang, Founder and Director of the Center for Agricultural Policy, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAAS), and Bruno Le Maire, the French Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Fishing.
Alongside Nina Federoff of Pennsylvania State University and Howard Shapiro, Global Director of Plant Science and External Research at Mars, Lumpkin debated “Does Science Hold the Answers?”. He highlighted the advanced work of CIMMYT scientists on photosynthesis efficiency of wheat, zero tillage agronomic practices, precision fertilizer application and the use of sensors, and high resolution, site-specific cell phone decision support tools. Lumpkin also advocated technologies currently being made accessible and tailored for farmers.
In his speech, Lumpkin called for the international community to resist complacency and work towards yield increases of 200 to 300 percent, whilst striving for a reduction in the amount of arable land under cultivation, in order to address the world’s food security concerns. His presentation, “Higher Yields for Food Security with Less Water, Inputs, and Land: Does Science Hold the Answers?” will be featured on the Economist website, and is currently available on the CIMMYT intranet.
In addition to being well represented by our Director General, CIMMYT was mentioned several times in other panels, underscoring the value of public agricultural research in the toolbox of solutions for making our world food secure. With key policy makers and leaders from some of the premier corporations in the food and agribusiness industries in attendance, the conference provided an ideal occasion to present CIMMYT’s work and offered a platform for engaging future partners and donors.