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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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CEO predicts food-secure world by 2050

To address local and global food security issues, The Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture hosted the “I have had ENOUGH” movement seminar in the AgriLife Center Monday.
During the seminar, keynote speaker Jeff Simmons, president and CEO of Elanco, discussed ways companies fight against food insecurity through research and education.
Simmons said he thinks this generation will combat world hunger and his “personal hunger” is to help any way he can. Simmons said he was inspired to help end hunger when he heard a statistic saying 25,000 people per day die of hunger.
Determined to see it for himself, Simmons said he went on a trip to Africa and met a man named Wilson outside of Narobi, Kenya, who was unable to take care of his daughter.
“There was this white sheet, this makeshift bedroom, inside the small hut,” Simmons said. “I could see this body laying there. It was his daughter. I could hear her breathing heavily, his teenage daughter. This man wouldn’t look me in the eyes. That girl was malnourished from not getting fed for days, was in the onset of a disease and she was within a few days of her life.”
The problem of hunger will continue to grow as the population increases, Simmons said. However, many organizations have taken up the cause and Simmons said the outlook is hopeful.
“I truly believe that by 2050, the generation of Aggies right now, at 2050 in your career, we will have a food-secure world,” Simmons said.
Simmons said providing basic food is not enough — providing quality food is necessary to the health of the world. And while the need is increasing, resources are decreasing.
“We need to be able to do more with less,” Simmons said. “And innovation is 70 percent of the answer.”
Texas A&M researchers have begun to answer this call for innovation. Elsa Murano, interim director of the Bourlag Institute, said the Borlaug Institute continues Norman Borlaug’s legacy through research and educational programs. She said she agrees with Simmons’ analysis of the current food insecurity situation.
“When you look at the lack of food, of adequate food supply, people around the world in developing countries, it used to be that they didn’t have enough food to eat,” Murano said. “Now we find that they may have enough, but it is not the nutritious variety that they should have.”
Murano said Texas A&M, through the Borlaug Institute, has researchers in Guatemala, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo participating in livestock and crop research on how to make these yield the most nutritious food possible.
In addition to food availability, the major crisis is social in nature, Murano said. She said issues such as cultural conflicts, government issues, lack of markets to sell food and gender issues can contribute to world hunger.
Because of this, Murano said Texas A&M is also involved in trying to make social changes within these countries that will make these countries more sustainable.
“We conduct a lot of training in these countries to help these farmers learn how to grow these crops in a way that is efficient,” Murano said. “[In a way] that uses water and fertilizers and pesticides in a very precise way, not too much, not too little.”
Murano said solving hunger in these countries helps prevent more conflict.
“When we help other countries with hunger issues, we help prevent conflict,” Murano said.

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