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GHI’s Annual GAP Report® Released at World Food Prize
On October 18th, a global audience of experts in agriculture, food security, nutrition and conservation gathered in Des Moines, Iowa, and online for the release of the Global Harvest Initiative’s (GHI) eighth-annual Global Agricultural Productivity Report® (GAP Report®) A World of Productive Sustainable Agriculture.
The 2017 GAP Index™ reveals that for the fourth straight year global agricultural productivity growth is not accelerating fast enough to sustainably meet the global demand for food, feed, fiber and biofuels in 2050.
The GAP Report® also described how farmers, ranchers, fishers and forest managers are improving the productivity and sustainability of our food and agriculture systems, even as they grapple with climate change, economic uncertainty and political instability.
Policy Priorities for Productive Sustainable Agriculture
A distinguished panel discussed policies and investments that will foster productive sustainable agriculture.
Margaret Zeigler, Executive Director of GHI, began the conversation by asking the panelists what productive sustainable agriculture means to them.
Doyle Karr, Biotechnology Public Policy Director for DowDuPont and GHI’s Board Chair said that when he speaks with non-traditional stakeholders, “Sustainability is often a goal which we can agree.” At the same time, he added, it can be difficult to precisely define what makes agriculture sustainable.
Juan Jose Echeverry Molina, a ninth-generation rancher from the El Hatico Nature Reserve near Cali, Colombia, described how his family uses a silverpastoral model of ranching to improve the productivity of their cattle and the sustainability of the land.
The panel discussed the contribution of public sector agricultural research to the development of agricultural technology and innovation.
“It’s a remarkable time to be in the science of agriculture. We are seeing innovations and discoveries like never before…I also think there is a very important role for government research for basic science knowledge…We need to invest in this as a country to keep this pace [of innovation] going,” said Sally Rockey, Executive Director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture.
Private sector collaboration with land-grant universities is improving the sustainability and safety of food production.
“We have a lot of people [from land grant universities] on our farms everyday, in our barns – vets, nutritionists and folks who work on environmental issues – to help us reach beyond where the industry has gone,” Stewart Leeth, Smithfield Foods.
Wendy Wintersteen, President of Iowa State University, talked about the importance of maintaining the human talent pipeline. “We have to be very deliberate about recruiting students into agriculture. Now, 40 percent of our students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences do not come from an agriculture background.”
Watch the full discussion online and download the report and related materials at the 2017 GAP Report® webpage.