Integrated Planning and Management of Land ResourcesFAOCSDUNEP
World Summit on Sustainable Development, South Africa 2002

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Looking Forward to Rio+10: Reporting Progress on Land and Agriculture

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Message 52

Subject: Message 52 - Intervention by Nina Fedoroff Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2001 18:13:40 +0100 From: RIO10-Moderator To: "'RIO10-L@mailserv.fao.org'" Dear colleagues, Over the weeks of this e-conference, I have seen important discussions of the need to apply agroecological principles and participative approaches to dissemination. But I have seen almost no discussion of how to put the discoveries of contemporary plant science to work to improve the many, many plants that serve people as food sources. What we face is improving the productivity of many different plants under many different stressful conditions, with a minimum of expensive inputs, as well as decreasing post-harvest losses under suboptimal storage conditions-a far cry from the "simple" solutions of the Green Revolution. And yet, at the same time, plant research is beginning to yield insights at the molecular level into every level of plant development and productivity, including how plants resist stress and what genetic changes underlie the transformation of a wild plant into a productive food crop. These insights can, if used wisely, augment efforts to increase productivity while minimizing negative ecological impacts. It seems to me that connecting plant scientists with local groups that understand local needs and problems is an important a step in the right direction, but one that receives little attention or resources. How might we do better? Nina Fedoroff, Willaman Professor of Life Sciences Director, Life Sciences Consortium The Pennsylvania State University

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