Global Harvest Initiative Launches Campaign to Address World's Growing Needs -- Goal is to Sustainably Double Agricultural Output by 2050

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The Global Harvest Initiative announces the launch of a campaign to heighten awareness of the increasing gap between the world's agricultural production capacities, which will need to be doubled by 2050 to meet the needs of the rapidly growing population. Global Harvest Initiative will launch the effort on Sept. 22, 2009, in Washington, D.C., with a symposium for leaders in production agriculture, sustainability, conservation, hunger remediation and global policies. The symposium will feature a keynote address by U.S. Senator Richard Lugar and a roundtable discussion by the chief executives of the four leading agricultural companies - John Deere, DuPont, Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland Company.

The world faces a daunting challenge but, together, we can meet the growing demand in a sustainable way that transcends agriculture and promotes political stability in many parts of the world

The Global Harvest Initiative announces the launch of a campaign to heighten awareness of the increasing gap between the world's agricultural production capacity and what will be required to meet the needs of a growing population. Based on projections from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, agriculture will need to double output by 2050.

"The Global Harvest Initiative is mobilizing a diverse group of thought-leaders to focus on the challenge of doubling agricultural output, and doing so in a sustainable manner," said Dr. William G. Lesher, executive director of the Global Harvest Initiative. "Already efforts are underway to enhance agricultural production, minimize post-harvest losses and introduce efficiencies throughout the value chain. But achieving such a monumental task requires additional attention and support from many."

The Global Harvest Initiative will launch the effort on September 22, 2009, in Washington, D.C. with a symposium for leaders in production agriculture, sustainability, conservation, hunger remediation and global policies. The day-long event will include discussions of the role of innovation, investment, international policy and other factors in increasing global agricultural production, reducing waste and conserving resources. Participants will also discuss the link between agriculture and national security.

The symposium will feature a keynote address by U.S. Senator Richard Lugar and a roundtable discussion on innovation and productivity challenges by the chief executives of the four leading agricultural companies - John Deere, DuPont, Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland Company - that founded the Global Harvest Initiative. Other confirmed speakers include Catherine Bertini, Syracuse University; Dan Glickman, Friends of the World Food Program; Jason Clay, World Wildlife Fund; Kenneth Quinn, World Food Prize; Glenn Prickett, Conservation International; Margaret Zeigler, Congressional Hunger Center; Neil Conklin, Farm Foundation; Robert Thompson, University of Illinois; and John Kruse, Global Insights. Symposium participants will examine policies to support the goal, including:

  • increasing competitive agricultural research
  • enhancing food security through freer trade in agriculture goods and products
  • improving the effectiveness of US foreign development assistance activities
  • offering greater incentives for innovation and conservation throughout the agriculture value chain
  • promoting science-based approval of new technologies

"The world faces a daunting challenge but, together, we can meet the growing demand in a sustainable way that transcends agriculture and promotes political stability in many parts of the world," said Lesher. "Successfully closing the gap will require a concerted effort to facilitate and expand agricultural innovations worldwide and across producers of all sizes. It will also require substantial investment by both public and private entities along with policy reform and new development initiatives."

The Global Harvest Initiative is dedicated to spurring the development and sharing of agricultural innovations with those that need it most. It is underwritten by funding from the Archer Daniels Midland Company, DuPont, John Deere and Monsanto. Further support is welcome from public and private sectors entities sharing the goal of closing the global productivity gap. For more information, visit http://www.globalharvestinitiative.org/ or Harvest 2050 Blog.

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John C. Roper
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