Inspired by the last words of Nobel Laureate and World Food Prize Founder Dr. Norman Borlaug, the 2010 Borlaug Dialogue international symposium will gather the top minds and foremost leaders in global agriculture, food and related issues this October in Des Moines, Iowa - with a special focus on the world's small-scale farmers.
"Dr. Borlaug, an Iowa native who was born on a farm near Cresco and went on to become a plant breeder and is known as the father of the Green Revolution in India, Mexico and other countries, spent the latter years of his life working to bring advances in food production to African farmers and other poor, hungry nations of the world. That is a daunting task and of course the job is far from being finished," says Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, headquartered in Des Moines.
"As global leaders and institutions carry out work to increase agricultural production and ensure food security worldwide - on the heels of severe food shortages, economic crises, and other upheavals of the past several years - the small-holder farmer is poised to play a unique role in enhancing the food supply for families and communities around the globe," says Quinn. "However, small-holder farmers also face particular challenges that must be overcome in order to meet international goals to produce enough food for a growing population in the face of limited resources."
Symposium this October will address major themes including:
- Small-holder farming and rural livelihoods
- How agricultural development can be done in partnership with small farmers and with specific benefits for small farmers
- Major challenges affecting small producers and their communities, including energy resources for food production, climate change and water access, and demographic changes
- Promoting innovation and entrepreneurship among small-holders
- The role of small-holders in stewardship of soil, water and biodiversity
- Livestock in rural food systems, livelihoods and health
- Dietary diversity, increasing nutritional content and availability, and reducing postharvest losses in small-scale agriculture
- Small-scale farmers' role in the global food and agriculture trading system
- Grassroots and collaborative partnerships toward food security
These topics and other critical issues will be explored through keynote presentations and lively and engaging "conversation" sessions that will feature the expertise and diverse perspectives of policymakers, CEOs and executives from agribusiness and NGOs, scientific and academic experts, development leaders - along with several farmers from around the world.
Impressive lineup of speakers for 2010 World Food Prize symposium
This year's lineup of speakers for the Oct. 13-15 meeting includes Illinois farmer and philanthropist Howard Buffett, son of billionaire Warren Buffett. Howard Buffett is an advocate for small farmers in Africa but he has argued that the Green Revolution as a way to raise dietary standards in Asia, won't work the same way in Africa. Buffett says a different approach is needed in Africa.
Other speakers on this year's list: Princess Haya Al Hussein, the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan; Cargill CEO Gregory Page; and the agriculture secretaries of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Liberia. Bill Gates, who spoke last year, is sending the CEO of the Gates Foundation, Jeff Raikes. Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan will also attend and give the keynote address.
At the center of it all will be the annual ceremony honoring the 2010 World Food Prize laureates. This year's winners are two people, and they will share the $250,000 World Food Prize. They are Jo Luck, president of Heifer International, and David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. They have built their non-governmental organizations into two of the leading grassroots organizations working to end hunger. You can join them at a special Laureate's Forum on the evening of October 13.
How to register and find out information about 2010 WFP events
The week of World Food Prize events in Des Moines actually gets started October 12 with the Fourth Annual Iowa Hunger Summit. Free and open to the public, the Hunger Summit gathers leaders from communities, businesses, places of worship, schools and organizations across the state who are involved or interested in fighting hunger, both at home and abroad. Registration for the Iowa Hunger Summit is available at www.worldfoodprize.org.
Registration for the symposium and all the above events is online at www.worldfoodprize.org. The phone number is 515-245-3783.
The website has a full agenda, speaker biographies as well as registration information. Anyone who is interested may attend the World Food Prize events, but you need to register. "We are offering all Iowans a special reduced registration rate of $165 per person," says Quinn. "Space is limited for many of these events so I urge you to register now for this 21st annual World Food Prize symposium and Borlaug Dialogue."