Brussels, 16 October 2008: In the 7th Brussels Development Briefing on rising food prices, Dr Mike Bushell from Syngenta provided a private sector perspective on how to feed the world. He argued that good technologies to increase yields already exist, but we have to deploy this technology safely in local sustainable agricultural systems.
In the past, four major technologies helped us meet increasing demand for food: Mechanization of agriculture including irrigation, synthetic fertilisers, crop protection chemicals, and better seeds. He gave examples of al of these and how they contribute to sustainable food production – which he defined as “strategies and practices that promote the long term wellbeing of the environment, society and the farming economy.”
Wrapping up, Bushell stated that new technologies are a critical part of the solution. The technology we need is already here, the challenge is to integrate it into sustainable agricultural systems at the local level. Challenges we face include, above all, climate change, but also technophobia, a lack of infrastructure and finance, and extension services that need to be reinvigourated. He saw public private partnerships as instruments to help overcome the difficulties.
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