Event focuses on how science-based ag can feed a growing population

Erin Robinstine
Farmers Advance

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN – A Nov. 13 event in Washington, D.C., will bring together U.S. and Brazilian experts to share challenges, success stories and innovations that hold the promise for how agriculture can address the global food needs of a rapidly growing population.

The Dialogue on Sustainable Food and Agriculture is organized by The Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) in partnership with Purdue University’s College of Agriculture, the Atlantic Council and the Embassy of Brazil in Washington. Researchers, government agency representatives and business leaders will discuss sustainable agriculture and efficient uses of agricultural resources, promising technologies, and how innovation and “Agriculture 4.0” can feed the 10 billion people projected to inhabit the planet by 2050.

"We want this event to elevate a conversation that many of us conducting agricultural research have every day at some level: How can we help position agriculture and our food systems to be sustainable and potentially even part of a broader sustainability solution for the planet," said Bernie Engel, Purdue College of Agriculture's associate dean and director of agricultural research and graduate education.

Sergio Segovia, president of Apex-Brasil, said the United States was chosen for the discussion because, like Brazil, it is a leading global agricultural powerhouse. Both nations also contribute research and technology solutions to improve agriculture.

In 2017, the two countries were top producers and exporters of soybeans and in the top three for maize production, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Brazil and the United States also are leading global producers and exporters of a variety of meats and other commodities.

"It's important to encourage a technical, evidence-based discussion that is inclusive and solutions-oriented," Segovia said. "Brazil maintains as a priority to ensure that increased food demand is met by an increased ambition to tackle challenges of progressive agriculture. This can only be achieved if policy and technology work together."

The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, located at 901 Massachusetts Ave NW.

Among the featured presenters are Nestor Foster Jr., Brazil's Chargé d´Affaires in Washington; Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture; Luiz Cornacchioni, executive director of the Brazilian Agribusiness Association; Geraldo Martha, senior researcher and Embrapa Labex-USA coordinator; Luis Otavio Dias da Fonseca, IBM business unit head of agribusiness; Marcos Fava Neves, a professor in the School of Business at the University of São Paulo; Josiah McClellan, corporate sustainability leader at Corteva Agriscience; and Keith Fuglie, senior economist at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service.

"Our discussions will focus on sharing success stories and common challenges between the U.S. and Brazil and show how solutions are being developed in these nations," Segovia said.

The event is geared toward researchers and academics as well as decision-makers in industry, government and agricultural organizations who have an interest in sustainable agricultural systems that are providing plentiful, nutritious, safe food at affordable prices. Event registration and a full program is available online.

Apex-Brasil is under the direction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and aims to promote Brazilian products and services abroad and to attract foreign investment to strategic sectors of the nation's economy. The agency currently supports more than 10,000 companies from over 80 sectors of the Brazilian economy, with exports to over 200 markets.