October 11-12, 2011 – Des Moines, Iowa USA
- Dr. Robert Thompson – Visiting Scholar at Johns Hopkins University, Sr. Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois.
- Australia – Heather Baldock
- Australia – Jeff Bidstrup
- Brazil – Richard Dijkstra
- Egypt – Salah Hegazy
- Ghana – Anthony Botchway
- Honduras – Isidro Matamoros
- India – Vijay Kapoor
- Kenya – Gilbert arap Bor (2011 Kleckner Award)
- Mexico – Franciso Gurria
- Sweden – Otto von Arnold
- US, Iowa – Dean Kleckner, Chairman
- US, Missouri – Mike Geske
- US, South Dakota – Laura Nielson
Agricultural producers representing ten countries from five continents gathered in Des Moines, Iowa USA during the two-day 2011 Global Farmer Roundtable. The event hosted by Truth About Trade & Technology (TATT) was held October 11-12. Joining the farmers for the first day of events and the discussion moderated by Dr. Robert Thompson were agricultural ministers and media from several African nations.
The Global Farmer Roundtable was conducted during the week of The World Food Prize Symposium (October 12-14) which allowed the dozen farmers attending to also take part in the Borlaug Dialogue, Laureate Award Ceremony, and other side events held during the week.
“It was exciting to have another high caliber discussion with the individuals who were invited this year,” said Mary Boote, executive director of Truth about Trade and Technology (TATT). TATT, an NGO that promotes free trade and agricultural biotechnology through farmer-led educational initiatives, organizes and hosts the Roundtable.
Boote pointed out that this year’s participating farmers join an exisiting network of over 80 farmers from more than 50 countries who have taken part in a Roundtable discussion during the past six years. The first Global Farmer Roundtable was held in 2006.
Gilbert arap Bor from Kenya was the 2011 recipient of the Kleckner Trade and Technology Advancement Award for his willingness to speak out on behalf of developing world farmers whose voice often goes unheard. Bor draws from personal experience, knowing what it’s like to make ends meet in a developing world. He has seen first-hand how other farmers around the world have access to technologies like biotechnology that allow them to be more economically viable and more productive than all other forms of farming now practiced in Kenya.
“Kenyan farmers must participate in the global economy by embracing and using new technologies, including those concerned with seed development. They must not be left behind by political talk, “said Bor. “They should be participating in producing enough food for their people’s consumption, among other crops that improve their economy.”
Bor was presented the award on October 11 following a dinner event. The gathering was also addressed by Jose W. Fernandez, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs, and with a keynote address given by Professor Calestous Juma of Harvard University.
Fernandez’s, whose remarks can be read here, talked in part about the need for putting regulatory systems in place to help facilitate trade and “pave the way for the greater use of biotechnology”. Juma stated that farmers should be given the choice to use technology which can transform their lives, and that unfortunately much of the discussion on biotechnology in Africa has focused on risk instead of benefits.
Photos from the Global Farmer Roundtable can be found at TATT’s Media Center / Photo Album or on TATT’s Facebook page.
Read commentaries written by some of the farmers who have participated in the Roundtable – TATT Guest Commentary.
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