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

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

The Battalion

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‘Dream big, think small’

Photo by Photo by: Jena Floyd

Battalion news writer Phillip Dupree sat down with Kanayo F. Nwanze, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, on Thursday after he spoke at the George Bush Presidential Library. Nwanze focuses on improving agricultural infrastructure and poverty reduction in developing countries.
THE BATTALION: What did you speak about today?
Nwanze: The topic of the seminar was challenges of food security. I looked at it through a different perspective, not just the scientific basis of production but also in a context where it is most severe — developing countries. Through our efforts we are able to go and see how we can assist them, usually by providing tools that they can use.
THE BATTALION: How do you hope to impact these countries?
Nwanze: Rural populations are not looking for a handout, they are looking for opportunities. We have to change our mindset on how exactly we provide these tools. These countries are often neglected, underprivileged, and have a crippling infrastructure. However, there is livelihood in agriculture in these areas. What we need to do is ask, ‘Do these farmers have the necessary infrastructure to store, produce or access markets for food?’ The real issue isn’t about production rates, but rural transformation.
THE BATTALION: What does it look like to have ‘rural transformation’?
Nwanze: Growth. You can easily develop something, but it won’t always grow. Growth in a rural area evolves from transformation. This means farmers need access to markets, energy, roads and other necessary tools so they can sell produce.
THE BATTALION: How can others get involved with this movement?
Nwanze: I often tell my audience, ‘If you want to become involved, don’t just go with your big ideas. Dream big, think small.’ Texas A&M specifically is full of many different agricultural pathways and platforms, and there is great change from people working for institutions around the world striving to fix this issue. Not to mention this is the age of the 21st century, an era where modern technology is being used in more places than ever. With a little help we can have someone in rural countries use a tablet to measure soil salinity in a field, or someone across the world measuring growth in a rice field. This technology exists today, we need to use it.
THE BATTALION: What keeps you motivated?
Nwanze: When I go to these rural areas, I see the real impact of what we’re doing. It’s incredible how a little bit of investment can transform lives. It is truly a privilege and opportunity to talk to people out in rural countries and help them. That motivates me.

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