June 19, 2013
Dr. Chuck Chopak, DAI’s Regional Managing Director for the Africa region and president of the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development (AIARD), opened the association’s 49th annual conference by highlighting the increased significance of AIARD as a group that brings together a diversity of stakeholders from academia, the public sector, and the private sector to build consensus and understanding around agricultural development. He also welcomed AIARD president-elect Mike McGirr to the post.
This year’s conference, held June 2-4 in Washington, D.C., focused on “Feeding the Future in a Changing Climate.” “Agriculture, rural development, and food security for millions will be impacted by global changes affecting a broad range of natural resources that our food systems rely upon,” according to the AIARD. “Experts predict that vulnerable populations in developing countries, those already struggling to become food secure, will be the ones most adversely affected by these environmental changes.”
The conference, which explored the latest scientific evidence surrounding climate change and its potential impact on agricultural systems, also included panel discussions on innovative approaches from developing countries, and engaging, educating, and influencing policy. About 150 members representing multiple land grant universities, U.S. government agencies, and a variety of private sector and nongovernmental organizations attended.
DAI’s climate change expert Keith Forbes also presented on a DAI-led and U.S. Agency for International Development-funded project in the Mekong Basin that helps farmers adapt to climate change. Forbes showed attendees the results of a recently completed project study that utilized the most relevant climate models to reveal anticipated shifts in agricultural zones that will affect smallholder farmers across the Mekong Basin.
Since 1964, AIARD has represented agriculture and development professionals in both the United States and overseas, most of whom have extensive experience in developing countries. AIARD members offer vast experience and skills from a diverse community of universities, private voluntary organizations, commercial firms, trade associations, government and donor agencies, and foundations in the United States and overseas.
See highlights from the conference on Twitter by searching the hashtag #AIARD2013.
The African Union Commission’s Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (AUC/DREA) recently signed a letter of agreement with Africa Lead, a top program of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative.Read More