The Mosaic Company Foundation and Sehgal Foundation in the US hosted an event at the World Food Prize International Borlaug Dialogue on Wednesday, October 19, 2022, at the Iowa Event Center in Des Moines. The theme “Feeding a Fragile World,” focused on the surging concern about the effects of climate change manifested around the globe by temperature extremes, floods, droughts, forest fires, severe storms, melting ice caps, and rising sea levels. Four World Food Prize laureates spoke out about climate-resilient strategies, processes, and solutions to slow climate change.
The laureates who spoke specialize in the fields of plant breeding, soil science, and aquatic systems. Dr Gebisa Ejeta, 2009 Laureate and Distinguished Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics and International Agriculture at Purdue University, specializes in sorghum and millets. Dr. Gurdev Khush, 1996 Laureate, geneticist and plant breeder of rice, teaches at University of California, Davis. Dr. Ratan Lal, 2020 Laureate, is Distinguished Prof of Soil Science at The Ohio State University. Dr. Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted, 2021 Laureate, is the Global Lead for Nutrition and Public Health at WorldFish, a One CGIAR entity.
The diverse perspectives of the laureates resulted in a rich discussion. Key points included:
- Water management is essential as flooding, drought, glacial melt, and extreme weather upset agricultural patterns and human life, especially in vulnerable populations.
- Food systems must be people-centered and include marine and inland water resources (aquatic foods including fish) as well as land resources (crop production and livestock).
- Global warming can be slowed with proper management of land sinks, if carbon fuel sources were stopped, and farmers managed land properly. Society could pay farmers to offset any resultant lower production.
- Conflict and governance disruption exacerbate the climate challenges. Multilateral global leadership and collaboration are needed to address them.
- Food production is adequate for the world, but waste and unequal distribution of food leave too many people malnourished. Society must stop waste and produce food more efficiently, using less land, water, and fertilizer.
The Norman E. Borlaug International Dialogue, known informally as The Borlaug Dialogue, brings together individuals each year from more than sixty-five countries to address cutting-edge issues related to global food security and nutrition. Through the Borlaug Dialogue, involving a wide array of scientific experts, policy leaders, business executives, and farmers, the World Food Prize Foundation helps build alliances in the struggle against world hunger and malnutrition.
Special guest speaker, Ambassador Kenneth M. Quinn, president emeritus of the World Food Prize Foundation, and member of the council of advisors for Sehgal Foundation in the US, emphasized the importance of the Iowa-India connection and highlighted the Sehgal Foundation work on food security in India.
A partner of Sehgal Foundation for more than two decades, The Mosaic Company Foundation is driven by a mission to help the world grow the food it needs to sustainably strengthen global food security and protect critical water resources. The Mosaic Company and The Mosaic Company Foundation invest in and partner with leaders in the focus areas of food, water, and local community investments.