"Will agriculture destroy the world before it saves it?" by Jack Bobo

Past Event

27 February 2013, 5:00pm - 6:00pm


This seminar is hosted by Plants for the 21st Century Institute, an Oxford Martin School Institute and the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food

Speaker: Jack Bobo, Senior Advisor for Biotechnology, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB), US Department of State

Summary: Agriculture lies at the crossroads of many global challenges, including food security, climate change, and biofuels. The world needs to increase food production by 60 to 70 percent by 2050, and it needs to do so using less land, less water, less fertilizer and less pesticides. The challenges faced by mankind have never been greater. Fortunately, the tools available to scientists to address these challenges have also never been greater. Over the last one hundred years, technology has consistently delivered on its promise of improved yields and a cleaner environment, year after year, decade after decade.

In many ways, the question is not, can technology achieve the improvements necessary to get the world where it needs to be by 2050, but whether governments will allow the needed technologies to find their way to market. The obstacles to bringing products to market are increasing and putting at risk international trade in the food and commodities that feed the world. They are also undermining the ability of scientists to achieve the sustainable intensification of agriculture that is needed to save our soil, water ways and air for future generations.

A wine reception will be held in the Plant Sciences Common Room after the seminar