Blogs are now a mainstay of online media. The conference has its share of bloggers, who not only provided thoughtful commentary on what they heard last week, but are keeping the discussion going. We share a few of them here with you.
Roger Thurow of the Chicago Council , moderated the conference. After 2.5 days of carefully listening to all speakers he observes in his Global Food for Thought blog:
"It was confounding to hear that this link between agriculture and nutrition has so long been missing – confounding because food production and nutrition seem to be a natural combination, essential allies in the war on hunger. But the two have often been treated as separate academic and practical disciplines. Nutrition has been seen as a health problem and food production as a matter for agriculture."
The biofortification strategy helps bridges this gap but "why do the rest of us know so little about this stuff?,' writes Jocelyn Zuckerman for 'The Atlantic.' Part of the reason is because malnutrition doesn't have anything exciting going on to propel it to the front page of the news. "Malnutrition, like climate change, is a slow drip," she writes.
Nourishing the Planet from the World Watch Institute helped increase the flow of information, by explaining biofortification to its 4,000 monthly visitors interested in food, hunger and the environment, many of whom will be hearing about this for the first time.
Turning to experts in the field of international development, in his blog (Development Horizons) Lawrence Haddad, who presented a paper at the conference cautions: " Make sure that there are enough positive nutrition impacts before attempting to deliver these crops in real world contexts. Everything hinges on these studies. Succeed and they will create momentum. Fail and they will force a re-think."
But will this alone convince policymakers and donors enough to create momentum, and move biofortification forward? Nabeeha Kazi in The Hunger and Undernutrition Blog, notes that we sometimes makes assumptions that can "impede progress," such as "if you have evidence and data that show positive results, leaders will apply the data and evidence into field work." At the other end of the spectrum, she says that we need to get beneficiaries at the community level involved: "Convert "beneficiaries" - especially mothers, grandmothers and mother-in-laws - into powerful advocates and agents for change...We can't afford these innovations to lay dormant simply because we didn't bring the communities that matter up that readiness ladder."
Standing back from all the details for a moment, Anastasia Bodnar, a doctoral candidate, notes on the Biofortified blog: "It’s about equity, fairness. A child growing up in rural India or Uganda deserves a chance for healthy brain and body development just as much as a child growing up in Washington, DC or Ames, Iowa. It’s only fair."
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