'I’ve learned more than I have contributed', Linxiu Zhang of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences nicely summarized before handing over to Ken Cassman, the ISPC Chair. Cassman didn’t intend to stage dive when he asked the about 150 participants of the Science Forum Closing Session to raise their hands. But the show of hands indicated the people present from both disciplines, agriculture and nutrition, whom the conference –quite successfully- aimed to bring to getter. And out of their ‘silos’.
Read moreBuzz is in the Air
But precisely this silo thinking is also a risk of the newly emerging ‘agriculture-nutrition silo’, if it neglects the many other aspect of agriculture beyond nutrition. For instance the Science Forum 2011’s focus, the nexus of agriculture and the environment. Who wants to save the latter from undue onslaught for agricultural expansion, cannot neglect research on the supply side. There will always be tradeoffs, Cassman reckoned. Perhaps exactly these were the reason for the buzz in the air, reflected by the exited conversations at the reception in the city hall or the museum, even after hours of intense sessions.
The List goes on
Within these sessions there has been great progress since the 2010 Deli Conference. That it still won’t get boring anytime soon, Cassman stressed in his take home messages. Much remains to be done: Just take the harmonizing of data collection, the understanding on how agriculture links up, multisectoral approaches, proper evaluation, gender issues or negative impacts of agriculture on nutrition… The list goes on.
We all will have to learn a lot more than we contribute.
Photo Impressions from Science Forum 2013