The 50 Pact Conference[widgetkit id=365]
The Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) jointly organised an international conference “The 50 Pact” at New Delhi from August 16 to 17, 2013 to celebrate 50 years of Norman Borlaug’s first visit to India.
The event brought together more than 200 participants from agricultural institutions, the government, think tanks, industry, and civil society of various countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Germany, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the United States.
South Asia is the most populous region in the world and several models predict that this region is going to be dramatically impacted by climate change. “We must devise new ways to feed more people with less land, less water and under more difficult climate change conditions,” said Thomas Lumpkin, Director General of CIMMYT, highlighting a significant challenge that requires critical innovations, collaborations and commitments to solve food insecurity and strengthen agriculture in South Asia. This sentiment was echoed by others in the opening session of the conference, including S. Ayyappan, Director General of ICAR, R.S. Paroda, President of Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences (TAAS), R.B. Singh, President of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS), Swapan Datta, Deputy Director General (Crop Sciences) of ICAR and Marianne Banzinger of CIMMYT. Remembering their personal interactions with Borlaug, “the Nobel Laureate with a heart for the poor,” and his association with CIMMYT and India, they also felt the need to make a pact to bring about a second Green Revolution in the South Asia region.
M.S. Swaminathan, a legendary figure in Indian agriculture, paid tribute to Borlaug for his immense contribution to agriculture. “From Bengal famine to Right to Food Act of India, it has been a historic transition and Dr. Borlaug played a very important role in this transition through his work in the last 50 years,” Swaminathan said.
Jeanie Laube Borlaug, Chairperson of BGRI and the daughter of Norman Borlaug, presented Swaminathan with the Norman Borlaug Award.
One of the key conclusions of a technology group comprising leading Asian scientists, representatives of farmer groups and entrepreneurs was: “Farmers need to be more involved in developing and refining technology.”