The International Food and Agribusiness Management Association was founded 20 years ago to bring together academics, government, nonprofit organizations and business to discuss topics regarding agriculture. In a packed room yesterday, members sought to define important topics for the association to address in the years ahead.
It all came down to sustainability—feeding the world with the resources available. With a relatively finite amount of land and water, combined with a changing climate, efficiency and resource optimization will be critical, the discussants agreed. The “practical application of science” is needed to move sustainability forward and to feed the world.
At the same time, the group agreed that in regions such as Africa and Asia, it is important to help small holders become more efficient and gain access to markets so they can stay on the land, to avoid social and political disruption.
Furthermore, there is a decoupling between where food is produced and where the (new) population will be—so efficient transportation channels will be needed.
Agriculture is underinvested, according to John Lamb of the World Bank. Some $50 billion/year investment is needed--$7 billion in Africa alone--but it must be invested in a responsible way, he says.