In support of the U.S. commitment to strengthen global food security, Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman hosted an international Ministerial Conference and Expo on Agricultural Science and Technology from June 23-25, 2003 in Sacramento, California. Delegates from 117 nations participated in the event. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Department of State jointly sponsored the event with USDA.
In June 2002 at the World Food Summit: Five Years Later, Secretary Veneman announced that the United States proposed to focus on three priorities in partnership with other donors and developing countries: reducing hunger by increasing agricultural productivity, ending famine, and improving nutrition. At the same time, she invited Ministers from around the world to join her for a conference to focus on the needs of developing countries in adopting new food and agricultural technologies. The three priorities were also addressed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. As follow up, at the 2nd Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in January 2003, USDA and USAID will lead a session on “Increasing Agricultural Productivity and Markets through Science and Technology.”
The Conference and Expo focused on the critical role science and technology (S&T) can play in raising agricultural productivity in developing countries in an environmentally sustainable way. The Conference aimed to broaden participants’ knowledge and understanding of relevant S&T, including biotechnology, and enhance access to new technologies through public-private partnerships. Increasing agricultural productivity through technology adoption is a key means of boosting both food availability and access and improving nutrition.
Agricultural production, processing and marketing technologies from developed and developing countries were examined, as well as critical issues regarding the transfer and indigenous development of technologies. The Conference also addressed low- and high-cost technologies and state-of-the-art and more traditional methods. Attendees discussed the benefits of technology to both commercial and subsistence farmers, including the critical role of women in rural areas.
Plenary meetings, technical break-out sessions, and targeted field trips took place as planned.
In addition to Ministers, the event included selected speakers and technical experts from U.S. and foreign government agencies, international organizations and research institutions, private industry, the U.S. Congress, non-governmental organizations, universities and state-level departments of agriculture.
The Technology Expo ran concurrently with the Conference. The Expo allowed companies from developed and developing countries to display and demonstrate products and services with applications in all segments of the food chain, giving participants opportunities for hands-on experience.
The Conference and Expo highlighted an array of technologies, including those related to:
The Conference and EXPO were held at the Convention Center in Sacramento, California, and attendance was by invitation only.
For more information on the Conference and upcoming events, please visit the Conference web page at http://www.fas.usda.gov/icd/stconf/conf_main.html
Conference Fact Sheet is also available.