Thursday, February 11, 2010

How Do We Weather This Perfect Storm?

As Haiti continues to struggle with its recovery from a recent devastating earthquake, the country now faces the real danger of missing its major spring agricultural growing season if farmers are unable to secure the necessary seeds, fertilizers, equipment and resources needed for planting. In addition, the United Nations reports that Haitian farmers also are in dire need of livestock feed and animal vaccines.

While Haiti relies on international aid for about 50 percent of its food supply, its agricultural industry is considered vital to the health and welfare of its people. If farmers miss the crucial spring planting season, the country will become completely dependent on international food aid to feed its devastated county.

According to a recent report by the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST)* approximately one billion people in poor countries today don’t receive enough dietary energy, and another one billion don’t get enough protein, fat, important minerals and vitamins. Growing global food insecurity is just one of many factors that that folks at CAST believe are converging to create a “perfect storm” in global food and agriculture.

It is imperative that we look to the best and brightest minds in agriculture to put science and technology to work in fueling the development of new innovations and solutions to global food insecurity while protecting and conserving our world’s rich natural resources. As citizens, it’s our job to fund and support research and development to feed disadvantaged populations. Their productivity, livelihoods, and, most importantly, their lives, depend on it.

*Full disclosure: John Bonner, executive director and CEO of CAST, is a board member of Agriculture Council of America.