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Maggie E. M. Hassan

Yes , I am sure that we can control the problem of hunger by positive cooperation , communication and organized work , because we known the problem , have the material and different procedure to control it, have excellent scientist in allover the world . In my opinion, the role of life sciences, first help most of people to get enough safety food and responsible level of medical cure, when reach to this point we can start to think how can improve the quality of life.
I believe their are two main category and some points maybe helpful :-
1- Good policy.
2- Improve education and science in developing countries.
Good policy, first will push with experience in every field and this will lead to take the right decision , in same time it will gave trust on the international level, which will lead to a positive cooperation.
I think there are some points we have to put in our mind.
Positive cooperation is very important, by having a good decision maker through training the right person, who can understand the challenge and have the ability to work in team work to reach to the perfect results.
Ex.1 You can find a lot of researchers spent a lot of money in travel and training and their organization did not benefit from them, because they are already do not have the facilitates and equipment for such work. So, we can not consider that a positive cooperation. ( like the UNSCO grant for training )
Ex. 2 Grant (project) must have a good evaluation procedure , not only in the step of selecting the person who will gave him the project , but also in continuing the work through the project to be sure that the project do not begin with hopes and end with hopes.

- I have an idea, why we do not have a main goal for every crop ex. (cotton), we can imagine a pyramid of cotton its top gave the maximum percentage of production and its bottom will be the different procedure can be use like ( Bio agent, compost, pest sides, molecular biology, breeding program,ect.) to reach to the top as accumulation, than discus this pyramids in international meeting, and every country choose the perfect procedures suitable to increase yield of the target crop.

Also, on the international level, there are some behavior must be changed like throwing the production of some crops in sea in order to maintain its price instead of creating international bank for foods and transport those foods to the hunger areas.

Giving the chance to the young researchers in the developing countries to benefit from their work, there are a lot of researchers in developing countries which have the primary stone for solve a big problem (like pioneer isolates, genetic material, or plant extraction , ect. ) but the problem that they do not know how can reach to the right person who can protect their rights and interested in their research, a lot of good chances can be missed because the system is so bad . We can add to the registration from of the Biovision which held in developing countries part like (applied primary results) this for the researcher who have already primary result (corner stone) can help in solving some problems and to discus these items with scientist who find this issue is interested.

Holding international conference in developing countries is very excellent step, because it allow to unlimited number of young researchers in developing countries to meet the most excellent scientist in the entire world.

Building a global community by questioning every one attend any Biovision to bring at least five other researchers in next Biovision than this five will ask them to bring another five and so on and can encourage the researchers by giving them some recognition as a very active or dynamic researchers and let them have some photos with the Noble scientist.

Saving the origin or protected areas in all over the world, which have the wild types of different crops may help us, one day, if we discover a lot of mistakes in different procedures we use nowadays in producing foods and it could provide a source repair for our mistakes .

The change in temperature, level of radiation, unexpected earthquake and volcano are threats that need more cooperation between north and south , because those threats produce bad and unexpected results and need a very strong positive cooperation to decrease the bad results by help each other in times of need.

Beginning to think to enforce a law to control the people who use their position to be rich and send this money outside the country. This money must be returned and used in different useful programs.


Ramez Al Hazzaa

The scope of agriculture development in the unexploited areas was always ambitious and a main policy to reduce the nutrition gap in many regions over the world. Yet, it is complicated and multifactorial process as it integrates with environmental, demographic, and technological tools and aspects.
The major point should be concerned seriously is the environmental one. To what extent applying the technology –agriculture, in a virgin ecosystem? Should it exceed the “reclamation” too much? Shouldn’t be clear borders between applying the technology in a region in the name of agriculture from a side and sustaining the original ecosystem or reclaiming it to a minimum productive level keeps the major environmental features of it?

Many past lessons from the past should be seriously considered to utilize the future. Aral Sea in Central Asia is one of the major examples we should not forget! A Sea declined to less than 30% of its original space because of extensive cotton farming and other agricultural policies combined with less rivers feeding directed for irrigation and high pollution due to industrial projects and fertilizer runoff.
Another example is the effects eradicating mangrove ecosystems from beaches of many countries in the Indian Ocean –that were the first defense line against waves- to farm shrimp and tourism usage was the major reason of losses caused by Tsunami.
Overused arable lands in Africa are facing salinity and desertification problems and needs extensive reclamation to provide food again!

We should admit that it is complicated policy to manage any development in new unexploited lands in many areas needs more production for its population, but how we can set borders between technology and environment? How sustainable agriculture policies we are applying now in new lands and micro-ecosystems could be effective and reliable in macro-ecosystems with many examples of breakdown?


If we talk about Hunger, it means mainly African continent!?
The USA, Europe and China all can fit in the area of Africa (~30,000,000 Km2).
We do have the land; the most fertile soil in the world, water sources and the man power. What we need is applying the new technologies properly with continuous flow of updates of the new technologies came up later on.
This is my humbled point of view.
Best regards,
Former participant of BioVision.Nxt- Class of 2005

Wietse Vroom

Wow, big questions. What’s the role of the life sciences…? It’s always very tempting to speculate about miracle effects that some (bio)technologies may have on the great problems of mankind these days. And I’m not saying that’s bad; we need visionary people that are able to inspire and get things moving. And certainly, some technological innovations in the past have had a huge impact on production systems, wealth and social life (only think about the mobile phone, ICT, Green Revolution). However, I’d like to stress the importance of taking a look at (agricultural) development in a more precise and diversified way. I am in India at this moment, doing research on the way the Indian government, public sector institutions and various biotech and seed breeding companies try to change things for the better. There’s no way I can provide a complete overview of everything that’s being done, but one thing that strikes me is that while a lot of great science and technology has been developed, it has to a large extent ‘remained on the shelf’. Extension from the lab to the farmer’s field certainly is a challenge that no one arguing for technological innovations should overlook. Moreover, apart from the efforts in actually developing working and useful products from scientific knowledge, and commercializing new seeds or spreading new farming practices, one can challenge the appropriateness of this ‘top down-system’ as a whole. This in turn depends on who you represent. There is no such thing as ‘an Indian farmer’. Instead, there is an extreme diversity in crops, climatic regions, soils, socio-economic status, culture, and styles of farming. This is an obvious point to make, but remains relevant. Some efforts are currently directed at improving the relevance of scientific research by incorporating it better in an ‘system of innovation’, and adopting a much more networked approach in which various partners contribute to the entire innovation process. For as far as I can judge now, that is a great way to start moving forward and making research more responsive to national or local needs.
But there’s more. India faces a nation-wide challenge to increase the amount of food being produced. Many technologies may contribute to this, including various kinds of biotechnology. However, in general the strategy of increasing food production is by increasing the inputs in terms of hybrid seeds (expensive but well performing if nourished carefully), chemical fertilizer, water (irrigation) and often pesticides. This approach does not seem to have changed much since the Green Revolution in the ‘60s and ‘70s greatly intensified Indian agriculture. However, some of the most marginalized areas and farming communities have been left behind by this strategy. A very large number of farmers in these areas has taken loans in order to be able to afford the more expensive farming inputs (seeds, fertilizer), but have been unable to recover from these loans because of a badly performing hybrid seeds in marginal conditions, and extremely high loan rates. Although it is dangerous to fully blame the agricultural problems, the very high incidence of farmer suicides in some districts has explicitly been linked to this vicious circle of expensive inputs and financial debts. The point is that the general nation-wide mission of India to produce more food by modern farming technologies may in fact be contradictory to the needs of farmers in the more marginalized areas. These people need technologies that allow them to make the best of their natural resources, that allow low-input farming and low risk of crop failures.
One major challenge is to make scientific and technological development responsive to the various contexts in which it may be applied. This not only involves a decent analysis of the priority problems and appropriate solutions, but also the representation of local knowledge, and control over the process of development. The life sciences may definitely contribute to improving the overall productivity of farming land; however in order to help some of the most vulnerable and left out groups, we will really have to rethink both our science, as well as the way in which it can respond to locally experienced needs.

Manfred Beleut

Agriculture in drought and saline areas – what are the options?
To understand the agricultural problem in developing countries it is important to undertake an – at least – dual approach! Thus, before focusing on life sciences and new technologies, I want to briefly touch upon the complex socio-economic and socio-cultural factors which have to be analyzed and understood. As everyone might confirm, an efficient and profitable farming is assured in western countries due to high governmental subventions, the newest technologies available and additionally low export customs. The resulting overproduction and financial reliefs enable foreign producers to overstock local markets with qualitative high-rated products and low prices, thus scotching the competitive ability of local farmers. Thereby it is not sufficient to provide high technologies to developing countries as long as their competitive abilities remain hamstrung. Enunciated, an improvement of this situation might be achieved on the one hand by raising custom taxes towards agriculture-based countries, on the other hand by engaging the subvention receipt of technologically developed farmers with the simultaneous allocation of developmental aid. Putting up the existing cultural differences and habituated but entirely antiquated technological farming approaches in developing nations, it might be more likely to achieve a good match by a tailor-made, farmer-to-farmer assistance than by general state-controlled prescriptions. Furthermore, in case of potential problems (new resistant parasites, weeds etc) a collaboration of agriculturists with the western research infrastructure would sustain the efficiency of the rural cooperation (ex. project/problem oriented master or PhD thesis focused on one specific agricultural area and question, within the needy country).
Taken together, beside an immediate aid of providing food and fresh water to the poorest, what people need is help to help themselves. This can only be achieved through a long-term establishment of a mutual technological and scientific drift and understanding, based on an individual educational plan.

Balasubramanian Ramani

Dear All,

Good day. The parallel conference topics on agriculture is very interesting and very much needed if we have to solve the world of hunger and poverty as we have much of the developing world staying in rural areas,

Most my problem is the scientists thinks themselves they have all the solution for the above said problem and the scientific system's rule that thinkers are greater than doers- the farmers, NGOs and Extension workers who are in the fiels, actually Farmers are genius in their field, their knowledge on solving problems are much more mature and thoughtful than Scientits, the only solution is to bring in scientists who sit in the lab and bring solution for some one in field without even consulting the famers and extension agents,

Also the problem is we are speaking about future, but without including any young people in plans for future, so we have to change that policy, in all process young should be part of the process either young researcher, young farmer, NGOs or extension agents, private sector, most of the world is facing the reality that in 20 years we will have half or more the population between 25 and 35, so we have get out of old system and give them right to be part of their future,

So , I am very much looking forward to the parallel conference in Agriculture,


Warm wishes
Balasubramanian Ramani (Bala)

Manfred Beleut

Dear Fellows, Dear Bala,

You have published an evident post above but I have a problem with your sentence,

“scientists thinks themselves they have all the solution for the above said problem and the scientific system's rule that thinkers are greater than doers- the farmers…”!

I think we would have a problem without scientists but even a greater problem without farmers. No one wants to impose something on somebody and I do not consider myself “greater” than anyone else. Moreover I want to ask why science then, when we have already the answers?

BioVision gives us the unique opportunity to be heard, to communicate mutually – including the farmers, patients and people with different experiences and educations – and contribute with our views to live in a better world and I think, we should make use of this chance.

Looking forward to meet you in Lyon!

Maryam Alami

Hello Everyone

Good evening to you all from an environment-conscious; bird-flu aware London. I am very enthused by your comments and remarks about world hunger and agriculture development.

I have been thinking about Manfred and Bala's comments (see above).

From my perspective as someon who started off my graduate studies in life sciences, then applying biomolecular technology, then food chemistry and flavour.... finally to EU GMO regulations, my current perspective is as follows:

For those who believe that scientists may not necessarily have all the answers; I salute you.

For those who believe that scientists are in a conspiracy to dictate to the farmers; I am in dialogue with you

One essential part of this dialogue is recognising that scientists are not trained (at least not in the UK) in thinking about the socio-ethical consequences of their innovations.

Here in Britain, there is a great debate in communicating science circles about the value of public consultation and public participation - that is having a 'PUBLIC DIALOGUE'

I have spent the last 4 years researching this area from a legal perspective.

Currently, GM food laws in Europe are inadequate at being precautionary. One of my interviewees, an agriculture and farming expert, has asked that farmers be treated with a 'protectionary' principle in mind

My overall view is this issue is like the cowboy's lariat. We can tighten the rope or set it free; as long as there is flexibility and dialogue with all concerned; and not necessarily a dialogue that uses experts as just moderators at all times

With great respect,

Warm regards
Maryam Alami


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Heba Maram

For the first time in the history of BioVisionAlexandria, the Center for Special Studies and Programs (CSSP) is organizing, in collaboration with The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), the interactive event “TWAS/BioVisionAlexandria.Nxt”.

The event is schedule to run concurrently with the BioVisionAlexandria 2008 conference in April 2008 under the title “Funding Research in the Developing World”.

The event will be held 11-12 April 2008 and applicants will be entitled to participate in the BioVisionAlexandria 2008 Conference as well.

The CSSP is envisaging to invite 100 young scientists from developing countries to share their ideas and experience, in addition to meeting mentors and eminent scientists who would enlighten their knowledge into the fields of research and development.

Each young researcher will have the opportunity to demonstrate his/her project/research in the poster session and share his/her ideas.

The event will also include various discussions focusing on difficulties encountered in their respective countries. These discussions aim at finding ways and means of overcoming some of these difficulties.

TWAS/BioVisionAlexandria.NXT is currently accepting applications from young scientists who meet the following criteria.

The applicant must:

- be under 35 years of age on 1 January 2008.(limited number of researchers between 35 -40 might be accepted depending on the poster strength and innovation)
- be a native of a developing country
- be either a post-graduate diploma, or a masters, or Ph. D. student, or a recent postdoctoral fellow (maximum 2 years) working in the field of life sciences.
- have available scientific achievements/research material that would be presented at the poster session.

TWAS/BioVision.NXT will contribute generously to the travel ticket (air ticket), upon arrival to Alexandria, Egypt.

However, we encourage applicants to pursue funds from alternative sources.

The deadline for receiving applications is 15 February 2008.

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