The Human Life Advancement Foundation (HLAF), an international non-governmental organization, organized the 7th Development Forum on May 17, 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand. The theme focused on “Enhancing Global Food Security through Science, Technology and Innovation.”
The main objective of the development forum was to provide a platform for direct interaction and exchange of knowledge, experiences and technological development in agriculture between technology producers (e.g. scientists from recognized institutions and companies), educators, businesses and administrators, and members of communities who are in need of new technologies (e.g. representatives of national agricultural policy makers, extension services, farmers associations, scientists) to find common interests and collaboration opportunities and address various issues related to the theme. It is hoped that the critical issues raised could be discussed in depth and provide solutions through the brainstorming session.
HLAF aspires to become a reference point for the creation of knowledge, innovation, and technology transfer related issues. The organization also aims to be a change agent through social engineering focusing on three key focal areas: education, renewable energy and agriculture. They would like to achieve this through Knowledge, Development and Technology Forums.
The major topics discussed were:
Ø The challenge of global food security;
Ø The underlying issues of science, technology and innovation in agriculture and food security;
Ø Science, Technology and Innovations in agriculture for Sustaining Food Security;
Ø Identifying suitable alternative crops that can support the degrading supply of staple crops;
Ø Sustainability challenges for alternative crops in agricultural development;
Ø Trends and drivers for technological advancements in alternative agricultural development; and
Ø Strategies for sustainable food security in agricultural development.
Eminent experts, scientists, policy makers, technology producers, representatives of centers of excellence, academicians and authorities in the field of Agricultural Science and Technology attended the forum. The main panelists were from Better Rice Initiative Asia (BRIA), Mekong Institute, Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corporation, CropLife Asia, Agrobiodiversity & Environment Research Centre, MARDI, Asian Center of Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture Intensification (ACISAI) AIT, World Vegetable Center, Centor Thai Group, Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI), and HLAF officials. This was a good platform to share and present the work of Mekong Institute especially in Innovation and Technological Connectivity for renewable energy, climate change and food security database.
Issues including climate change, population growth, energy supply and water scarcity are putting pressures on global food systems on a scale previously not encountered. Hence, agricultural science and technology need to be targeted towards providing solutions to these issues threatening global food security. New technological advancements in agriculture must be explored and research should include the development of new crops varieties that are resistant to the effects of climate change and diseases and should contribute to higher yields. This also emphasizes the need to recognize the potentials for using species of plants not previously developed as food crops. In this regard, the transfer of technology and knowledge to the developing world can make a difference in achieving an enhanced global food security through science, technology, and innovation wherever it is needed.