2013 Global Farmer Roundtable


October 15-16, 2013 – Des Moines, Iowa USA


Dr. Robert L. Thompson – Visiting Scholar at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he held the Gardner Endowed Chair in Agricultural Policy from 2004 to 2010. He is also Senior Fellow, global agricultural development and food security, with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. From mid-1998 until late 2002 Thompson was at the World Bank where he served as its Director of Rural Development, with administrative responsibility for the Bank’s worldwide agriculture, forestry and rural development programs. While at the World Bank, much of his effort was concerned with getting agriculture and rural development back onto the World Bank’s agenda.


  • Argentina – Mr. David Hughes
  • Australia – Mr. Andrew Weidemann
  • Canada – Mr. Gerrid Gust
  • Ghana – Mrs. Lydia Sasu
  • India – Mr. V. Ravichandran (2013 Kleckner Trade & Technology Advancement Award)
  • India – Mr. Rajaram Madhavan
  • Kenya – Mr. Gilbert arap Bor
  • Kenya – Mr. David Kosgei
  • Paraguay – Mr. Jorge Heisecke
  • Poland – Mr. Roman Warzecha
  • Portugal – Ms. Gabriela Cruz
  • South Africa – Ms. Eve ‘Tepsy’ Ntseoane
  • United States, Wisconsin – Mr. Jim Zimmerman
  • Uruguay – Mr. Enrique Carlos Oyharzabal
  • Zimbabwe – Mr. Trevor Gifford

The 2013 Global Farmer Roundtable marked the event’s eighth year – the annual meeting has proven to be an exciting dialogue and exchange of ideas.  This year fifteen farmers from around the world came together and discussed a number of issues from different perspectives.  The Roundtable, hosted by Truth About Trade & Technology (TATT), met October 15 and 16 in Des Moines, Iowa.  Dr. Robert L. Thompson returned this year as the moderator of the event.

The Global Farmer Roundtable was held again during the week of The World Food Prize Symposium (October 17-19) which allowed the  farmers attending the Roundtable to also take part in the Borlaug Dialogue, Laureate Award Ceremony, and other side events held during the week.  Several of the farmers were also invited to participate on panels in the Symposium or side events during the week.

Ravichandran Vanchinathan from India  received the 2013 Kleckner Trade & Technology Advancement Award on Tuesday, October 15 at a Global Farmer Awards Dinner hosted by Truth About Trade & Technology and CropLife International. It was also announced that Ravi, as he is known by friends, was the first Kleckner Fellow.  The Kleckner Fellowship, named in honor of Dean Kleckner, Chairman Emeritus of  TATT, supports at least one farmer’s participation each year at the Global Farmer Roundtable.

V. Ravichandran grows rice, sugarcane, cotton and small grains (pulses) on a 60-acre farm at Poongalum village in the state of Tamil Nadu, near the southern tip of India.

“Living in the second largest populated nation, as farmers we must balance the provision of food at an affordable price and at the same time make enough profit to sustain ourselves.  There is no magic formula,” Ravi stated.  He went on, “It is possible only through the adoption of scientifically proven, well-established technologies.  To increase our farm production and productivity, we need to adopt science and technology in farming like the rest of our society.”

Noting that limited access to technology is just one of the barriers to increased crop production faced by India’s farmers, Ravi was instrumental in beginning a collective farming concept for local cotton growers in 2012.

“A group of like-minded farmers took up cultivation of the same crop at the same time and marketed it together. We could aggregate our resources and enjoy the collective bargaining strength.”

The Kleckner Trade & Technology Advancement Award was established in 2007 in honor of Dean Kleckner, Truth About Trade & Technology Chairman Emeritus.  The award is given annually in conjunction with the TATT Global Farmer Roundtable. The award recipients are Rosalie Ellasus, Philippines (2007); Jeff Bidstrup, Australia (2008); Jim McCarthy, Ireland (2009), Gabriela Cruz, Portugal (2010), Gilbert arap Bor, Kenya (2011), Rajesh Kumar, India (2012),and now V. Ravichandran also from India (2013).

Photos from the Global Farmer Roundtable can be found at TATT’s Media Center / Photo Album or on TATT’s Facebook page.

The 2013 event has brought the number of farmers who have attended and become part of the Global Farmer Network to over one-hundred strong.

Read commentaries written by members of the Global Farmer Network  in the Guest Commentary section of the website.  If you need a speaker for a panel or event, check out the Speakers Bureau webpage. 

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