Kate Lee - New and emerging technologies
I am 28 years old and I worked for the UK farming unions and the National Pig Association in Brussels from September 2006 until September 2012. Whilst this was a very cosmopolitan life I lived and breathed agriculture every day in trying to communicate the needs and aspirations of UK farmers to policy makers.
Key policies I worked included organic food, biotechnology, cloning, food labelling and climate change. I also worked with the EU Commission, Member State Governments and the European Parliament at a crucial time when welfare laws were coming into force on farm animals such as laying hens and pigs.
I had a joyful upbringing in Cheshire, I have a twin sister Jenny and a younger sister Amy who work in photography and fashion. I love languages and speak French, Spanish, Portuguese and I am learning Danish. Otherwise in my spare time I enjoy hiking, running half marathons (I could never do a full one!) and touch rugby. I am also partial to a bit of singing and dancing!
Agriculture news from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, June 18th 2012
This was the 'trailer' to the official 'Agriculture and Rural Development Day' yesterday, I advise you to give it a watch!
Some key stats that came out of the day that you might find interesting:
- Agriculture is the single largest employer in the world, providing livelihoods and jobs for 40% of global population
- Roughly one billion people in the world are hungry and roughly one billion over consume - farming has a role to play in adressing this situation
- 1/3 of the food produced in the world is lost or wasted
- 1/5 of the world's farms are headed by women
The World Farmers' Organisation gained formal praise from the UN's FAO, when Deputy Director General Ann Tutwiler congratulated the organisation for taking up gender issues (in particular she was impressed with Mrs. Al Momany's presentation!).
Young farmer entrants and succession planning were big concerns even for places like Africa, where 70% of the population inare involved in farming in some way. The WFO's own Dyborn Chibonga, President of the Malawi farming union, made the point that 'farming should not be seen as a poor man's profession', highlighting instead that it can be a viable and exciting business option for young entrepreneurs.
Mr. Chibonga also got a huge laugh from the audience by saying that the hand hoe should be 'classed as a weapon of mass urbanisation', alluding to the fact that farming is often seen as simply too much like hard work and this puts off the would-be farmers of tomorrow.
This being Brazil, debates on land use for food production and biofuels got a lot of air time. It was significant then, that the Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira closed thefirst Plenary session by publicising her arrival that morning in a bioethanol car. Increases in both food production and bioethanol in Brazil does not have to compromise the environment, she added.