October 17, 2007 Des Moines, IA
“Hunger is a destabilizing force.” Dr. Norman E. Borlaug
Moderator – Manjit Misra (Director – Iowa State University-based BIGMAP)
Philippines – Rosalie Ellasus (First recipient “Kleckner Trade & Technology Advancement Award”)
Iowa – Reg Clause, Bill Horan, Dean Kleckner
New Jersey – John Rigolizzo
On October 17, 2007, 22 farmers, representing 19 countries from 6 continents met in Des Moines, Iowa to discuss the barriers and challenges to technology that exist in agriculture, focusing on the collaborative efforts and resources that are needed to meet those challenges and remove barriers.
Hosted by Truth About Trade & Technology and held in conjunction with the World Food Prize and Norman E. Borlaug International
Facilitated by Manjit Misra, Director, Iowa State University based BIGMAP (Biosafety Institute for Genetically Modified Agricultural Products), the farmers identified several areas of challenge affecting access to technology as well as the perception of the technology itself. The list included:
- A misinformed and sometimes negative perception by consumers and the market
- Allowing the ‘greens’ to set the agenda, define the technology and drive the public discussion
- The lack of harmonized (regional and international) technology regulations and laws
- Underestimating the credibility and message delivery effectiveness of the worlds farmers
- The growing use of technology and food-safety issues as trade barriers
- The growing public perception that food should be treated ‘differently’ when technology is the issue – even the term ‘genetically modified’ has been given a strong negative connotation when linked with food.
Dr. Misra encouraged the group to move beyond the challenges and focus on the opportunities, reminding all to consider, while the circle of concern may be large, our circle of influence is where we must focus. Believing that we are at the “tipping point’ of global biotech acceptance, the participants identified commonalties of opportunity that will become the force that ‘tips the point’ in support of global biotech access and acceptance. Those opportunities and action points include:
- Willingness to ‘stay connected’ as individuals, associations and industry leaders who support freedom for all farmers to chose and utilize the technology that will most effectively and economically benefit their operation.
- Continued support and expansion of the Kleckner Trade & Technology Advancement Award
- Consensus that the recipient be put ‘on the road globally’ to share their story and offer collaboration and support to others who are working in support of freedom of choice for farmers in their own areas of influence.
- Implementation of a web-based Global Alliance to expand and support collaborative efforts of farmers around the world. This Global Alliance will include and be supported by:
- International Board of Advisors
- Translation of key messages available on site
- Provide key messages that can be used to effectively ‘tell the story’ and support a farmers right to choose the tools and technology he will use.
- Platform for exchange of information and sharing of ‘stories’
- Provide organizational support
- Global calendar of events
- Implementation of a global, regionally-based Speakers Bureau