by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
World Ag Congress : World Ag Congress
World Agricultural Forum 2009 Congress 21 This is a time which is quite sad and quite challenging. Sad, because we come to the end of a vigorous and lively period in St. Louis, and being part of a gath- ering that shared ideas, challenged concepts and put forward new thinking. I want to thank each of you for that. There is so much depth and richness in the presentations, the panels, and the interaction with the audience at large. There was far more interaction and stimulus, and there were far more ideas to be expressed and shared than we had time for. Professor Paul Collier from Oxford observed that you can afford to be a romantic about food production if you have a full belly. Much was focused during the course of the congress on the challenge facing developing countries. How do we lift them out of poverty? Wealthy countries will have to do more. Professor Collier said the wealthy countries generated their wealth by moving away from peasant agriculture. They did not generate their wealth by staying in peasant agriculture. We are going to have to move away from any notion that they can all achieve that from a tiny plot of land in some arid climate. The discussion on the role of science in feeding the world was one of the highlights for me. What really captured me was the question that was posed on the morality of denying the use of safe science and knowing that denial will mean more people will go hungry. That is a huge moral question that all countries must face as we go forward. We cannot contemplate achieving the goals that are necessary in the issues of food, the preservation of the climate, climate change and water resources without the maximum use of wise and beneficial science. We said we have to feed three billion. How are we going to do that? The three billion or 80% to 90% of the three billion are going to be born into the poorer countries of the world. That creates enormous challenges. Just let me give you three figures: Today, the top 20% of the world population consumes about 75% of its wealth. The next 40% lives on 20% of its wealth. It is the last 40% that survives on 5% of the world's wealth and joining that 40% is the next 2.5 billion people. Now you do not need to be a mathematician to say that that is not going to happen. President John F. Kennedy said back in the 1960s, we are going to have the openness of mind and heart to accept the greater movement of people around the world. That is the biggest challenge facing every country, and we will either do it by rational policies or it will happen anyhow. The sheer necessity will drive it. The hope of a better tomorrow somewhere else is far more compelling to the millions locked out than the fear of the journey. That is the challenge that the political leaders of the world really have to address. We always suggest what we might do next --- an action plan. We do not pass great resolutions. We do not make profound utterances. What we seek to do here collectively is to energize leaders to go forth and think differently and do something in addition. People say to me who is going to lead? That has been raised here. Where is the leadership coming from? The leadership, fellow delegates, has to come from you. You are the leaders that have to step up. You have to confront the nonsense. You have to say no when you hear rubbish being spouted. You cannot leave it to someone else. There is no magical person that is the leader who is going to resolve all of our problems. We collectively have responsibilities of leadership in our various organizations or positions. We, we, we have to lead. That is the message I give you. It has been stimulating to meet new minds with new ideas, new challenges. That is what this congress is all about. Be challenged, go forth, and tell another story. Tell a positive story because we can make it all work. Thank you very much. WAF Rt. Honorable James B. Bolger, ONZ GO FORTH AND LEAD Rt. Honorable James B. Bolger, ONZ, Chairman, World Agricultural Forum, former Prime Minister, New Zealand CLOSING REMARKS