One of the 2013 World Food Prize Laureates stopped by to visit the Truth About Trade and Technology Global Farmer Roundtable and talk about the importance of helping farmers around the world produce food more efficiently.
“I’m always reminded by what Dr. Borlaug used to say, that hunger never sleeps, and that means we can’t sleep either,” said Dr. Robert T. (Robb) Fraley, Chief Technology Officer for Monsanto.
Dr. Fraley recalled a visit with Norman Borlaug towards the end of his life just a few years ago and how excited the “Father of the Green Revolution” was to hear about molecular breeding and gene sequencing. “And Norm says ‘I can see how the Green and Gene Revolutions are going to come together,'” said Fraley. “From a science perspective, that’s exactly what has happened.”
Fraley says explaining the importance and safety of biotech crops to the general public is a big challenge for the industry. “This is important to all consumers,” he said. “We’ve got to talk to consumers in the context of food security, food prices, the benefits of an affordable food system, the urgency of these tools for the rest of the world and the fact that by farming more efficiently and using less inputs, we dramatically reduce the impact that agriculture could have on the environment.” He also advocates the use of social media to communicate with the public and recently started his own Twitter account.
Dr. Fraley will be honored this week with the 2013 World Food Prize along with fellow biotechnology scientists Marc Van Montagu of the Institute of Plant Biotechnology Outreach at Ghent University in Belgium, and Mary-Dell Chilton of Syngenta Biotechnology.
Listen to my conversation with Dr. Fraley here: Interview with Monsanto's Robb Fraley