Education News

Sustainable Development Series: Tropical Agriculture & Sustainable Development

2008-04-03

On Thursday, April 3, Dr. Pedro Sanchez, Director of the Tropical Agriculture and the Rural Environment Program and Director of the Millennium Villages Project spoke at the first in a series of five Earth Institute seminars on Sustainable Development.  This seminar focused on Tropical Agriculture and Sustainable Development. 

Sanchez presented the results from the program to a crowd of post-doctoral students, professors, and PhD candidates.  Sanchez outlined improvements in sustainability and productivity in maize crop production in Malawi.  Crediting political leadership in support of implementing change, Sanchez remarked that “political leadership and action—grounded in strong science—makes a big difference.” 

Encouraged by these results—doubled crop production in the first year of the program, and an 18% surplus—Sanchez argued that national-scale implementation for similar projects is quite feasible.  

 Dr. Cheryl Palm, the Science Director of both programs and projects, discussed the science behind the Tropical Agriculture and Rural Environment Program.  She aimed to: figure out what errors occurred and why; work out scientific solutions to problems faced; and rehabilitate environments and ecosystems impacted. 

After the presentations, guests asked about dealing with future surplus; changes in infrastructure for future subsidization; and showed great enthusiasm for future projects in various nations.

As Sanchez noted, it is truly great leadership and support that heed the best results and improve agricultural development.  Sanchez and Palm demonstrate—and inspire—such leadership.

The second in the series of seminars on Sustainable Development will be Thursday, April 10 in the Satow Room of Lerner Hall from 4 to 6 p.m.  Speakers Richard Plunz, Trish Culligan, Michael Conard, Dimitris Vlachoupolos, and Kubi Ackerman will present on ‘The Urban Design Lab and the Design Equation.’

To RSVP for this event, please email Amanda Christie, arc2140@columbia.edu.