Dan Glickman, former Secretary of Agriculture, kicked off the Chicago Council Global Food Security Symposium 2013, which has met annually since 2010. Glickman outlined a report issued in concert with the symposium, “Capitalizing on the Power of Science, Trade, and Business to End Hunger and Povery: A New Agenda for Global Food Security,” which provides a strong voice for the United States to reengage and reevaluate its food and agriculture policies. The United States plays a key part in solving global hunger, and food and agriculture issues must be on the forefront of United States’ humanitarian and foreign policies.
Glickman affirmed, “water is the great issue of our time,” noting that agriculture contributes a significant portion to global water use. Agriculture and water issues are closely intertwined, and solutions to global food insecurity must examine water use and water issues.
Ninety-one percent of Americans believe that fighting world hunger is important. This broad-based support is seen on few other issues in the modern American political landscape. Glickman noted that it is within U.S. national interest to address food security, not only for humanitarian reasons. The potential for economic growth within agriculture in the developing world, particularly sub-Saharan African and Southeast Asia is profound.
Former Executive Director of the World Food Programme and recipient of the 2003 World Food Prize, Catherine Bertini continued the presentation of the Chicago Council report, highlighting three areas in which U.S. should recalibrate its global food and agriculture policy, with a focus on science, trade, and business.
Bertini believes that the fight against global food security must “harness experts from all scientific disciplines.” Food and agriculture is inherently multi and cross disciplinary, and includes plant scientists, economists, political scientists, and many more. Furthermore, agriculture sciences should be included within the definition of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education.
First, the U.S. should broaden the focus of agriculture and food science. A more comprehensive outlook must address issues of sustainability and climate change in a way that the Green Revolution of the 1950s failed to do. Furthermore, Bertini emphasized the need to listen to those who are hungry and focusing on “famer inspired innovations.” By broadening the focus of agriculture science, Bertini believes that sustainable magnification of agriculture can occur in the developing world.
Fundamentally, Bertini asks, “How can we sustain future generations?” The Chicago Council Report calls for the doubling of U.S. investments in agriculture and food research over the next decade, and the inclusion of global food security within the broader economic and development policies. These adjustments are critical, according to Bertini, to ensuring global food security for an estimated population of nine billion by 2050.