Reflecting on IFPRI’s 2020 Vision Initiative

8 July 2020Hindsight is 2020: Reflecting on IFPRI’s ‘2020 Vision Initiative’ Organised by IFPRI.

Launched in 1993, IFPRI’s 2020 Vision Initiative set out to develop and promote a shared vision to eradicate hunger and malnutrition while protecting the environment and to catalyze global action. Through this initiative, IFPRI hosted a landmark series of high-profile conferences, workshops, and meetings to generate debate; produced an array of publications and communication products to inform the global discourse; developed an innovative program to strengthen agricultural economics training in Africa; and much more. The initiative was championed by three of IFPRI’s director generals and spearheaded by Rajul Pandya-Lorch, IFPRI Director of Communications and Public Affairs, for more than 15 years.

  • Opening Remarks Rajul Pandya-Lorch, Director, Communications and Public Affairs & Chief of Staff, Director General’s Office, IFPRI
  • Shenggen Fan, Senior Chair Professor, China Agricultural University (CAU) (and former IFPRI Director General)
  • Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Professor Emeritus and Graduate School Professor, Cornell University (and former IFPRI Director General)
  • Joachim von Braun, Director of the Department for Economic and Technological Change, Center for Development Research, University of Bonn (and former IFPRI Director General)
  • Catherine Bertini, Distinguished Fellow, Global Food and Agriculture, Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI
  • Robert Paarlberg, Adjunct Professor of Public Policy, Harvard University
  • Mark Rosegrant, Research Fellow Emeritus, IFPRI
  • Closing Remarks Johan Swinnen, Director General, IFPRI

By Robert Paarlberg
A bold, science-based corrective to the groundswell of

misinformation about food and how it’s produced, examining in detail local and organic food, food companies, nutrition labeling, ethical treatment of animals, environmental impact, and every other aspect from farm to table Consumers want to know more about their food–including the farm from which it came, the chemicals used in its production, its nutritional value, how the animals were treated, and the costs to the environment. 

They are being told that buying organic foods, unprocessed and sourced from small local farms, is the most healthful and sustainable option. 
Now, Robert Paarlberg reviews the evidence and finds abundant reason to disagree. 
  • He delineates the ways in which global food markets have in fact improved our diet, and how “industrial” farming has recently turned green, thanks to GPS-guided precision methods that cut energy use and chemical pollution. 
  • He makes clear that America’s serious obesity crisis does not come from farms, or from food deserts, but instead from “food swamps” created by food companies, retailers, and restaurant chains. 
  • And he explains how, though animal welfare is lagging behind, progress can be made through continued advocacy, more progressive regulations, and perhaps plant-based imitation meat
  • He finds solutions that can make sense for farmers and consumers alike and provides a road map through the rapidly changing worlds of food and farming, laying out a practical path to bring the two together.

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