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Plant science leaders at virtual CropLife Asia 2021 Annual General Meeting
Saturday, 06 March, 2021, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
The CropLife Asia 2021 Annual General Meeting (AGM) commenced virtually, bringing together plant science industry leaders from across the continent. This year's edition of the annual gathering includes a unique focus on how the global pandemic has impacted various aspects of the regional food supply chain as well as the official presentation of the newly-elected Board of Directors. 

The 2021 Board consists of:
Gustavo Palerosi Carneiro - president, CropLife Asia (BASF);Alexander Berkovskiy - vice president, CropLife Asia (Syngenta);Jens Hartmann - Treasurer, CropLife Asia (Bayer);Peter Ford - Secretary, CropLife Asia (Corteva Agriscience)

Gustavo Palerosi Carneiro, president, CropLife Asia, said, "It is an honour to lead CropLife Asia at such a consequential time for our region and industry. The challenges we face in Asia are daunting. While our region remains home to the highest number of hungry and undernourished, farmers are facing increasing pressure from pests, weeds, disease and the impacts of climate change. The far-reaching effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have only exacerbated the strain on food production and distribution.”

"Plant science has an important role to play in making our food supply chain more resilient, but it's only part of the solution. On behalf of CropLife Asia, we look forward to working with food and agriculture stakeholders across the region to meet these growing demands," added Carneiro.

In January of this year, the United Nations (UN) released a report titled Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition. Among the findings of the report was new data reflecting a troubling lack of food security among children and the most vulnerable parts of society in Asia. Specifically, nearly two billion people in Asia cannot afford a healthy diet, with two-thirds of children in the region suffering from the physical effects of malnutrition.

Beyond food security, sustainability is a topic of increasing focus for society - particularly the issue of climate change. Activities related to crop production are estimated to generate anywhere from 10-13 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and agriculture is a leading cause of deforestation.

The innovative technologies of plant science continue to enable farmers to produce more safe and nutritious food with fewer impacts to the world around us. Biotech crops have been developed with improved traits such as increased yield, better resistance to pests and/or improved nutrition, among others - and allow for sequestration of carbon in the soil through practices such as no-till farming. These are crucial tools that help farmers address global challenges such as food insecurity and climate change together.

Meanwhile, farmers rely on crop protection products (or pesticides) to grow more food on less land and raise productivity per hectare. Without pesticides, 40 per cent of global rice and maize harvests could be lost every year and losses for fruits and vegetables could be as high as 50-90 per cent. These losses in yield would likely mean additional land would need to be cleared for agriculture, leading to increased carbon emissions.
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