UN press release African agriculture study


Fri, June 25, 2004

June 25, 2004 —


Press Release
Note No. 5873



Africa is rich in both natural and human resources, yet nearly 200 million of its people are undernourished because of inadequate food supplies.  Comprehensive strategies are needed across the continent to harness the power of science and technology in ways that boost agricultural productivity, profitability, and sustainability -- ultimately ensuring that all Africans have access to enough safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs, says a new report by the InterAcademy Council (IAC), an organization created by 90 of the world’s science academies. 

The report, the full title of which is "Realizing the Promise and Potential of African Agriculture:  Science and Technology Strategies for Improving Agricultural Productivity and Food Security in Africa", is to be launched at an event at United Nations Headquarters on Friday, 25 June, at 3 p.m., in Conference Room 6.  Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who had requested in March 2002 that the InterAcademy Council prepare such a report, will preside over its launching.

There is no single technological solution for the many problems facing agriculture in Africa.  The report, therefore, offers a number of concrete steps that the scientific community -- working closely with farmers and representatives from Governments and private industry -- can take to avert famine and relieve suffering for millions of Africans in the future.

The report was drafted by an IAC study panel that included 18 experts, many of them from Africa.  It was co-chaired by Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe, past Vice- President of Uganda and former Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries; Rudy Rabbinge, Dean, Wageningen Graduate School, and Professor of sustainable development and systems innovation, Wageningen, Netherlands; and M.S. Swaminathan, past President of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences of India, and a member of the Royal Society of London, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. They will be in New York for the event and will present the report’s findings and recommendations. 

The InterAcademy Council is a non-governmental organization headquartered at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam.  It was formed in 2000 by leaders of 90 national science academies from around the world to mobilize the world’s best scientists and provide expert advice to international bodies, such as the United Nations and the World Bank.  The Council’s consensus studies are subjected to intensive international peer review to ensure that they are free of national or regional bias.  The first IAC report entitled "Inventing a better future:  A strategy for building worldwide capacities in science and technology" was launched at the United Nations Headquarters on 5 February 2004.  Upcoming IAC reports will focus on such topics as global transitions to sustainable energy systems and the role of science in World Heritage Natural Sites.

For more information on the report and IAC, please contact:  John P. Campbell, Associate Director, InterAcademy Council, tel.:  +31 20 5510766 (Amsterdam) or 202 334-2806 (Washington, D.C.), email:  j.campbell@iac.knaw.nl; William J. Skane, Executive Director, or Vanee Vines, Media Relations Officer, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., tel.:  202 334-2138, email:  wskane@nas.edu or news@nas.edu; or visit the IAC website at www.interacademycouncil.net.

For UN media accreditation information please contact:  Abdellatif Kabbaj, Chief of the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, tel.: 212 963-6934/6937, e-mail: kabbaja@un.org; or visit the MALU website at www.un.org/media/accreditation.

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