2006 IBM Lecture
Hugh Grant, Monsanto
November 1, 2006 - 7pm
Coulter Science Center Lecture Hall
Introducing New Technologies In Developing Countries
In the past decade, world agriculture has been virtually transformed by advances in biology and biotechnology - the world's oldest technological endeavor has become one of the world's newest. New technologies in North and South America, Australia and Asia are helping farmers produce more and profit more. This is even true now for Europe, where acceptance of new ag technologies is slowly but steadily gaining.
In the development and use of these new technologies, one continent that has been largely bypassed is Africa - the continent where people desperately need new ways to produce food and conserve water. It is a tragic irony of our time that often technologies used in developed nations will only arrive in developing nations many years later, if at all.
South Africa has successfully grasped some of these new opportunities, as have a few other countries, but the promise of new ag technology is essentially unrealized. The reasons are many - physical infrastructure issues, lack of protection for intellectual property, lack of legal and regulatory frameworks, educational issues, and fears of how other areas, like Europe, will respond to the use of technology in Africa.
Recognizing all of these problems, and understanding the great need that exists, many in both developed and developing nations are seeking to create a new kind of public-private partnership, to bring these innovations to the farmers who need them most.
Each of the key stakeholder groups who would be involved in such a partnership - private firms, NGOs, government officials, foundations and farmers - has an important role in participating and understanding the issues and needs of the other stakeholders.