FIGURE II I-1 The Workshop Focus
SOURCE: Presentation by Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Cornell University, May 2, 2011.
The workshop will focus on three elements critical to assuring long term sustainable food supplies: (1) barriers to sustainable food supplies, (2) approaches and action, and (3) incentives and limitations to action. Among the major barriers to sustainable food supplies are natural resource constraints—water, land, forest, soil, biodiversity and energy—and human-made resources—knowledge, technology, and infrastructure—as well as climate change.
The discussion on approaches and action will include examining R&D to reduce yield gaps and raise yield ceiling, farm level intensification and ecosystem management. Speakers will also discuss ways to improve value chains, reduce wastes and losses, and improve energy efficiency and enhance private investments in land.
The final workshop segments will examine some of the incentives and limitations to action, looking at the specific roles of the public sector, the private sector and civil society. For example, what kind of public goods need to be in place for the private sector to operate?
The intent of the workshop is not to answer all the questions noted above but to provide input to the debate about what the answers are. Per Pinstrup-Andersen noted that the debate about food security currently tends to the extremes with arguments such as “The world is running out of food,” “Billions of people will starve to death,” “We are losing our most critical natural resources,” etc. This workshop should aim to provide evidence to enlighten the debate and support evidence-based decision making.