Could Africa feed itself by 2030?

How does the world feed itself? This issue is one of the most powerful political and socio-economic questions today—so powerful that some U.S. policymakers see it as a strategic issue.

The question has risen to the forefront of people’s attention worldwide in recent years, and its importance cannot be understated considering its global impact on issues like climate change, the ongoing information revolution, and the increasingly rapid advancements in science and technology.

Understanding the issue’s dynamics is just as important to Seattleites as to people elsewhere, because the international community will have an estimated nine billion people to feed by year 2050.  It is a principle focus of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Puget Sound region’s universities have the potential to conduct research resulting in breakthroughs in different agrarian technology to increase the world’s future food supply.

The topic will be a the subject of a lecture hosted by the World Affairs Council on May 8, 2012. We will sponsor Dr. Calestous Juma, a renowned expert on innovation in agriculture who has spent his career examining and participating in the subject.

Dr. Juma’s lecture will explore at least two main issues from an African perspective: How solutions to the world’s food problems might be found through agricultural improvements in Africa and South Asia, and how improvements in existing technology could help Africa feed itself within a generation.

For a continent struggling with a growing population and climate change, pursuing these solutions is vital.  Dr. Juma argues that the public needs a better understanding of current agrarian policy, and he will explain how we can improve existing agricultural technologies.  His talk will explore the benefits of science and technology, for example the benefits that genetically modified crops could have for small farmers in the developing world.

He is a Professor from the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.  His accolades include serving as the former Director of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity; Juma was also the Founding Director of the African Centre for Technology Studies in Nairobi.  He is a native of Kenya.

Article by Matthew Kennedy, Communications, World Affairs Council

 

Resources:

Genetically Modified Crops and Africa’s Agricultural Potential (Council on Foreign Relations)

Agricultural Innovations for Global Food Security (Council on Foreign Relations)

Seeding New African Agricultral Universities (Nordiska Afrikainstitutet)

Towards Food Security in Africa – Examples of Successful Development (Swedish FAO Committee)

Agricultural Innovation in Africa (Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs, Harvard University)

How to Get Food on Every Table (Slate)

Copenhagen Consensus Center

International Food Policy Research Center

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