The Future of Agriculture: debate the experts

Forecasts indicate world food production must grow at least fifty per cent by 2050, to feed a population of nine billion people. Can this be done in a way that eradicates hunger and preserves the environment?

The second in Oxfam’s online discussion series looked in depth this very question.

The discussion was held simultaneously in 3 languages:

Leading thinkers from around the world shared their views on one of four provocative questions:

  • What if farmer’s knowledge were the driver of innovations and investments?
  • What if women owned the land they till and the food they produce?
  • What if all food were produced without fossil fuels?
  • What if all farmers could rely on effective systems to manage risk?

Learn how Nigerian farmer Susan Godwin struggles with her daughter’s desire to run the family farm, how IFPRI’s Shenggen Fan would address climate risks, and how FAO’s José Graziano da Silva would reduce farming’s dependence on oil. See if you agree with author Anna Lappé that agriculture can break free of oil.

Take on IFAD’s Kanayo Nwanze, who sees hope in smallholder innovation, or Harold Poelma from Cargill, who finds it in comparative advantage and free trade. Be challenged by Bangladeshi activist Rokeya Kabir, who argues women’s rights are fundamental to food security. And much, much more...

To conclude the discussion, Indian sustainable development expert Sonali Bisht and US author Roger Thurow provided overall analyses and drew out key recommendations.

Overall, two new essays were posted daily, and every day featured YOU, responding to the experts’ ideas and sharing your own. All essays and comments were aimed to inform Oxfam's Future of Agriculture discussion paper published in July 2013.

The Future of Agriculture: debate the experts

  • John Ambler, Vice President, Strategy of Oxfam America
  • Julio Berdegué, Principal Researcher, Latin American Center for Rural Development (RIMISP)
  • Prem Bindraban, Director of ISRIC (World Soil Information)
  • Nicko Debenham, Director Development and Sustainability Armajaro Trading Limited
  • Shenggen Fan, Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
  • Susan Godwin, Nigerian farmer
  • José Graziano da Silva, Director-General, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
  • Alexis Nicolás Ibáñez Blancas, Researcher, Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina, Peru
  • Rokeya Kabir, Founder, Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha, a Bangladeshi women's organization
  • Anna Lappé, Founding principal, Small Planet Institute
  • Pat Mooney, Co-founder and executive director, ETC Group
  • Sophia Murphy, Senior Advisor, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
  • Bill McKibben, Founder,
  • Madiodio Niasse, Secretariat Director, International Land Coalition (ILC)
  • Kanayo F. Nwanze, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
  • Michael O'Gorman, Founder, Farmer-Veteran Coalition
  • Harold Poelma, Managing Director, Cargill Refined Oils Europe
  • Kavita Prakash-Mani, Head of Food Security Agenda, Syngenta International
  • Sarojeni Rengam, Executive Director, Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific
  • Tarcila Rivera Zea, Executive Director of Chirapaq, Peru
  • Florence Wambugu, CEO and Founder, Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International