Previous Fora / 2011

BEACHY, Roger N.

Wolf Prize Laureate, Former Director, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, US

Dr. Roger Beachy was appointed by President Obama as the first Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in October, 2009 and serving through May, 2011. He was Chief Scientist of USDA from January – October, 2010. Prior to this appointment, Beachy was the founding president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri. From 1991 to 1998, he headed the Division of Plant Biology at The Scripps Research Institute Professor as Scripps Family Chair in Cell Biology. From 1978 to 1991 Dr. Beachy was Professor in the Biology Department at Washington University in St. Louis, and Director of the Center for Plant Science and Biotechnology. Beachy collaborated with Monsanto scientists to develop the first genetically modified food crop, a variety of tomato that was modified for resistance to virus disease. 
Dr. Beachy was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and is a Wolf Prize Laureate in Agriculture (2001). He is a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Microbiology, Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Science India, the Indian National Science Academy, and The Third World Academy of Sciences, and Fellow in the Academy of Science of St. Louis. He received the Bank of Delaware's Commonwealth Award for Science and Industry (1991) and the Ruth Allen award 1990 from the American Phytopathological Society (1990); he was named R&D Magazines Scientist of the year in 1999, and received the Peter Raven Lifetime Achievement Award, among others. Beachy has served as a member of a wide variety of governance boards for non-profit organizations as well as for-profit entities. Beachy continues research on virus resistance for crops for developing countries, as well as fundamental research in cell and molecular mechanisms in plant virology, and in regulating gene expression in plants.



17:00-19:00 18 November
THEMATIC SESSION III. Brazil: “Sustainable Food Production”

Advancing science and technology and policies to enhance a sustainable agriculture-based bioeconomy

There is growing awareness of the urgency to produce sufficient foods, feeds, fibers, biofuels and other biomaterials to meet the needs of an expanding global population with growing expectations. There are also increasing pressures to ensure that natural resources will be protected and improved while providing safer and healthier foods and feeds. During the recent two decades remarkable advances in genetics and genetic engineering in the private sector have produced crops that increase yields, reduce use of agrichemicals and increase sustainable practices of agriculture. Furthermore, scientists and technologists working in the public sector have developed breakthroughs in disease resistance and resistance to drought and other stresses; some of these advances are being used to increase productivity of crops of importance in Africa and Asia and reflect a growing interest in food security around the world. As a consequence of commercialization of GE products and advanced genetic technologies global agriculture production continued to increase but at insufficient levels to keep abreast of the growing population that now competes with the growing need for biofuels and other biomaterials. Unfortunately, except for a few notable exceptions, national governments are investing less in agriculture research and development than is required to stay ahead of growing demands. As a result of climatic variations and growing demands global grain supplies are at very low levels and the surpluses of 15 years ago are gone. Nevertheless, policies that should have resulted in increased investments have lagged in many developed and developing economies, to the detriment of long term planning in this sector of the global economy. Scientists and technologists that are developing better seeds and farm animals, methods of irrigation, and soils management while battling changes in weather patterns are often hampered by lack of preparedness by governments, producers and consumers to adopt new and emerging technologies, many of which will play a key role in improving crop productivity and food security. Among other actions that are required of scientists is to become involved in the discussions that will set the policies that impact this sector of the global economy to ensure that science and agriculture technologies are part of the policy setting processes.