YMB daily 
web coverage

16 May 
17 May 
18 May 








Highlights for Tuesday, 17 May 2005

On the second day of the World Agricultural Forum Congress, participants met in roundtable and open discussions during morning and afternoon sessions. As the day progressed, participants’ discussions shifted from bridging local and global markets to the importance of sustainable agri-food systems and the key role of fresh water, technology transfer and bioenergy. A number of roundtable panelists and Congress participants raised the value of financial resources, partnerships and markets in creating sustainable agriculture and agri-food systems, which will be further explored in Wednesday's roundtable sessions. 

During a thematic roundtable on the integration of local, regional and global markets, panelists debated how to help small-scale farmers that are not included in big agricultural farms, ways to increase market access, and who takes the lead in making markets more equitable. A second panel discussed ways to balance national political interests with international agreements, with panelists noting the importance of politics in agricultural issues and questioning how to make trade negotiations reflect the agricultural community’s mutual interest in stable growth. 

Above photo: Plenary view of a roundtable session.


Above photo L-R:  Philip Kiriro, Nha Hoang, John Falloon, Ray Cesca, Jorge Cazenave and Noel Devisch

Ray Cesca, GAEA International, discussed farming practices, market access and subsidies, and asked how they can hinder or contribute to meeting the Millennium Development Goals of reducing by half both people living in hunger and those living on less than US$1 a day.

Jorge Cazenave, Cazenave and Associates from Argentina, said protectionist policies in the North hurt the poorer farmers.

Philip Kiriro, East Africa Farmers Federation, asked specific questions about current investments in agriculture, successful varieties of crops that could be used in East Africa, and to what extent governments invest in infrastructure. 

Noel Devisch, Belgium Boerenbond, said farmers in the developing countries have to make their own decisions about agriculture and hoped developed country farmers could share their experiences. 

Hon. John Falloon, New Zealand, said not all farmers will be able to maintain their livelihoods, unless their farming practices change. 

Nha Hoang, HDN Strategies, pointed to the diversity of food systems and standards around the globe and called for greater agricultural research. 

Suggesting that international institutions play and important role in agriculture, Vera Weill-Halle, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), highlighted that IFAD and FAO have helped strengthen farmers’ institutions. 

Rehana Khilji,
Concern Worldwide Pakistan, drew attention to the important role women play in agriculture such as in grain storage.

Hassane Amina Wangari
, WABNET, said West African farmers in local villages need greater resources.


Above photo L-R: Charles Riemenschneider, Evandro Didonet, Osler Desouzart, Gawain Kripke, Susan Sechler, Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes, Jean-Marc Trarieux and Gerard Viatte

Susan Sechler, German Marshall Fund, opened the session on ”Balancing National Political Interests with International Agreements” by calling for good governance in both developing and developed countries.

Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes, University of Missouri, said markets do not work perfectly and governments should clarify the costs and benefits of their policy decisions. 

Jean-Marc Trarieux, Delegation of the European Commission, noted the share of European agricultural exports has declined drastically and challenged the US to change its agricultural policies. 

Evandro Didonet, Brazilian Embassy, noted that his country has low tariffs and does not subsidize agricultural production. 


Gawain Kripke, OXFAM, warned that if the US Farm Bill did not implement serious changes it would undermine international commitments. 

Gerard Viatte, former OECD Director of Agriculture, reminded participants that the answers lie not only in the agricultural sector, but also in trade policy. 

Osler Desouzart, OD Consulting, said there is too much talk and too little action being taken to implement political commitments. 

Charles Riemenscheider, North American Liaison Unit, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, said international animal health regulations are used to ensure rapid detection of disease. 

In the afternoon session on fresh water, roundtable panelists offered success stories using technology and policies to meet increasing demands and declining availability for water, including through the use of integrated water resources management and industrial waste water reuse. In a roundtable on bioenergy, panelists discussed the development and application of energy alternatives such as ethanol, biodiesel and soybeans to achieve energy security. During the final afternoon discussion on "Successful Technology Transfer for Growth and Rural Development," panelists discussed successful experiences with technology transfer involving the private sector in Africa, India, Brazil and Hungary.


Above photos L-R: Roberto Lenton, The Earth Institute at Columbia University, chaired the panel on “Fresh Water: 
Increasing Demands and Declining Availability” and commented that trade policy will determine how we deal with water shortages in the future; Wendell Dorsett, Valmont Industries, said less than 50% of irrigation in the US is water efficient;  
Sunil Ghorawat, Everything About Water in India, said access to water should no longer be free, pointing to the example of India, where 8% of the farmers are rich and use 90% of the ground water. 

Above photos L-R: Nha Hoang, HDN Strategies, the more crops can be grown per drop of water, the more efficient 
agriculture will be; Mohammed Ait-Kadi, Ministry of Agriculture in Morocco, noted that population growth, climate 
change and drought have been permanent factors leading to water scarcity; David Seckler, Winrock Water, pointed to the potential of the virtual water business and the fact that many countries lack the funds to import water.


In a roundtable on “Successes with Bioenergy,” panelists discussed energy alternatives such as the use of ethanol, biodiesel and soybeans to achieve energy security. Reid Detchon, Executive Director, Energy Future Coalition, noted that a future policy needs to address security, risk of climate change and economic development. Mike Bryan, CEO, BBI International, said fuel ethanol and biodiesel will provide energy security in the future. Rick Tolman, CEO, National Corn Growers Association, explained that ethanol has produced a 13% return on investment for some Iowa farmers, and that the ethanol industry is beginning a tremendous boom. Stephen Censky, CEO, American Soybean Association, said that soybeans are an important part of fuel for the future, noting as an example the oversupply of soybean oil that could be used to create fuel. Mike Eckhart, President, American Council for Renewable Energy, highlighted that renewable energy is more than just biofuels and soybeans, saying that renewable energy is a US$15 billion dollar a year industry. 


During a discussion on "Successful Technology Transfer for Growth and Rural Development," panelists discussed successful experiences with technology transfer using the private sector in Africa, India, Brazil and Hungary. Panelists, clockwise from L-R: Mpoko Bokanga, O. P. Singh, Felipe Manteiga, Kepler Euclides Filho, Istvan Feher, and Marco Quinones