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Food for Thought: The Welcome Addresses

It’s the 19th international conference since 1999, and over 1,000 registered participants from over 68 countries assembled to discuss our vision of a new path for agriculture, while still providing for the growing world population.

The inaugural speaker, Professor Mathias Becker from University of Bonn, emphasized the crucial role of young scientists and journalists, giving special thanks to us student reporters, who” link the world outside with the Tropentag conference”.

In accordance with the representative of the German Minister of Economic cooperation and Development, both acknowledged the massive deprivation of natural resources from intensive agriculture, e. g. deforestation, big monocultures and pesticide use. They also both mentioned that feeding the soaring demand for food, even while arable land was limited, would require intensification.

Can intensification be the only answer and solution? No, nor can CRISPR/Cas9 be, said Michael Hoch, Rector of the University of Bonn. He had further questions, what role does modern biotechnology play? How can small-scale farmers in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa be considered as a key factor to considerably change agricultural output? In contrast to keynote speaker Monty Jones, the minister of agriculture of Sierra Leone, the welcome speakers were less certain about how to feed the world in the future.

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