WASHINGTON (May 22, 2003)—A delegation of African scientists, researchers, farmers and thought leaders will headline key sessions at BIO 2003 echoing the message conveyed yesterday by President George W. Bush to end hunger in Africa, “By widening the use of new high-yield bio-crops and unleashing the power of markets” in order to “…dramatically increase agricultural productivity and feed more people across the continent.”
Bush’s message that European trading partners must not block new tools to hungry people through protectionist trade polices will be brought home by those most affected, the farmers and scientists of Africa, at the annual meeting of the Biotechnology Industry Organization BIO 2003 in Washington June 23-25. “Biotechnology and Developing Countries: Spotlight on Africa” is the title of a 90-minute panel discussion leading off a comprehensive discussion of food and agriculture issues during the three-day conference.
Members of the BIO 2003 African delegation featured on the panel include:
- Dr. Florence Wambugu, CEO, A Harvest Biotech Foundation International
- Thandiwe Myyeni, Bt smallholder cotton grower Natal Province
- Peter Rammutla, President, National Africa Farmers Union
- Dr. Paul Abrahams, CEO, South Africa Bio-Incubator
Dr. Calestous Juma, Director, Science Theology and Innovation Program, Center for International Development Harvard University will lead the discussion.
In Africa, 80 percent of family earnings are spent on food, compared to about 10 percent in the United States. Nearly three-quarters of the population is food-insecure, but as President Bush noted, European trade policies have “caused many African nations to avoid investing in biotechnologies for fear their products will be shut out of European markets.”
The discussion will take place Monday, June 23 at 8:45 – 10:15 a.m. in Room 140 of the Washington Convention Center. Following the session, Dr. Wambugu will be a featured “Newsmaker” at 10:30 in room 146C.
Registration at BIO 2003 is complimentary for credentialed news media. To register, please visit www.bio.org. Only reporters and editors working full-time for print or broadcast news organizations may register on-site with valid media credentials. Reporters are urged to register as soon as possible at www.bio.org.
The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental.