Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman says that even if only one child is left hungry in the world of the future that is one child too many.

That was one of the more memorable comments to come out of the Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology in Sacramento that attracted more than 100 ministers of agriculture, commerce, environment and science and technology from around the world.

“While our ultimate goal is to reduce by half the number of hungry people in the world, even one hungry person is unacceptable,” Veneman said in her remarks closing the three-day conference last week.

“That one person is someone's child, or mother or father,” she said. “It is one person who is denied the sustenance they need to be a productive member of society. It is one person who is prevented from meeting their full potential.”

In her speech, Veneman identified a number of themes from the Conference and outlined important next steps to helping find solutions to global hunger and poverty.

“Several broad themes have emerged from this conference that help reveal where our priorities must be now and in the future,” she said. “Harnessing information to help farmers; expanding the knowledge base through research and support for local institutions and building partnerships among nations, academia and industry are areas where we can work together to find solutions.”

Water concerns

In addition, Veneman said that water quality and availability were recognized as special problems that deserve special attention.

She noted an “enormous excitement” among developing countries represented at the conference and the strong response by developed nations who have expressed a renewed commitment to contribute to solutions.

The conference included some 60 ministers of agriculture, 26 ministers from the areas of natural resources and environment, 18 ministers of science and technology, 12 ministers of commerce and several from health and education ministries.

Veneman said that the road to solutions will involve a rearranging of priorities to address the most critical areas and recommended several priority areas including:

  • Strengthen education and agricultural research;

  • Enhance partnerships and international cooperation to help make scarce resources go farther; and

  • Facilitate the benefits of technology through supportive policies and regulations.

Complete information about the conference including speeches and presentations from the conference will be posted at www.usda.gov/.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com