The Global Development Network's 16th Annual Global Development Conference session on Green Revolution 2.0 saw panelists and participants debate over the various financial and technological innovations that would facilitate the next 'Green Revolution'.
Economist and social scientist Prabhu Pingali of Cornell University pointed out that after decades, agriculture was back as the central agenda of development for policy makers' world over. He said that Green Revolution 2.0 should be much broader and inclusive and learn from the drawbacks of the first green revolution.
"It can't be just about increasing productivity. It has to be more holistic," Pingali said, adding that that massive new investments in agriculture were needed especially towards small land holders, who are the engines of growth.
As per the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), out of the 795 million undernourished people in the world in 2014-15, the highest -- more than 35 per cent --- undernourished people live in southern Asia. Even as data shows a significant reduction in hunger, malnutrition is still not addressed in developing world.
Pingali said that the quantity of food is important and so is the quality of food, therefore it is imperative that means to increase micro nutrients in food should be supported. "The scale up of bio fortified products has been limited as private sector investment has been slow to come in and also policy makers have not been able to build consensus on the use of bio technology," he said.
He added that even today incidents of rural poverty continue to be high. Despite the overall economic growth , overall structural development is stalled, as a majority of labour is still involved in agriculture. Therefore it is important to create rural nonfarm activity, as it will lead to reduction in poverty.
Shanta Devarajan from the World Bank said a new social contract was needed to rethink what the state does and what the private sector does. However, he stressed that accountability from both private and public sectors was the need of the hour. He added that community-driven initiatives will go a long way in achieving and sustaining a new green revolution.
The overall theme of the conference at Casablanca is Agriculture for Sustainable Growth: Challenges and Opportunities for a New 'Green Revolution'. The objective of GDN's international conference in Casablanca, Morocco in partnership with OCP Policy Centre and with the Cairo-based Economic Research Forum is to mobilise developing countries' researchers working on issues of sustainability and to confront their work with their Northern and Southern peers.
It also aims at assessing the responses that current academic knowledge brings to questions related to food, economic and environmental security.