GLOBAL INSTITUTE for FOOD SECURITY
The Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) is pleased to announce the appointment of three directors to its founding board: Mr. Dallas Howe, current Chair of the Board of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc.; Ms. Alanna Koch, Deputy Minister of Saskatchewan Agriculture; and Mr. Peter MacKinnon, former President of the University of Saskatchewan.
Mr. Dallas Howe is the current Chair of the Board of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. He is a recognized business leader, innovator and entrepreneur with expertise in agriculture, information technology and governance. He is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of DSTC Ltd. and serves in a management role at GE Medical Systems Information Technology. As a corporate director, Mr. Howe has served on the boards of Canada’s leading agriculture, crop input and agri-marketing companies including PotashCorp and Viterra (formerly Saskatchewan Wheat Pool). He has been recognized with the Institute of Corporate Directors Fellowship Award for his leadership in board governance. Mr. Howe is an alumnus of the University of Saskatchewan and a former Chair of the university’s Board of Governors.
Alanna Koch is the current Deputy Minister of Saskatchewan Agriculture. Ms. Koch is a strong advocate for Saskatchewan and Canadian agriculture and has served on the boards of Agricore United and the George Morris Centre at the University of Guelph, and as the executive director of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association. She is a former president of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance and currently serves on the boards of the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation and Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP) leveraging her Chartered Director designation from the Directors College at McMaster University. Ms. Koch is an Honorary Life Member of the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists, was inducted into the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame (2011), and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012) for her work on behalf of agricultural producers.
Peter MacKinnon is a former President of the University of Saskatchewan (1999-2012). A legal scholar, writer and advisor to governments and post-secondary institutions in the areas of innovation and justice, Mr. MacKinnon was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in January 2012. He was a member of the federal Science, Technology and Innovation Council from 2007-2012 and served as chair of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada from 2003-2005. During his tenure as U of S President, Mr. MacKinnon led policy changes to improve U of S success as a leading medical-doctoral university. He is the recipient of many professional and service awards including the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal (2005), the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002), the Order of Canada (2012), and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012).
GIFS is also pleased to announce the appointment of a Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer.
Dr. Ernie Barber, P.Ag., P.Eng. is currently serving as interim Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan. His most recent leadership positions at the university have included: Vice-Provost Teaching and Learning (2008-2010), Acting Provost and Vice-President Academic (2007-2008), Dean of the College of Agriculture and Bioresources (1999-2007) and Head of Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering, College of Engineering (1994-1999). An award-winning professor and scholar, Dr. Barber is known for his deep commitment to teaching, research and community engagement. He has served on a number of boards and provincial committees, including AgWest Bio, POS, Prairie Swine Centre, Centre for the Study of Cooperatives, and Saskatchewan Agrivision Corporation, among others.
The recently established Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Roger Beachy as its founding Executive Director and CEO effective January 1, 2013. World-renowned with a prolific body of scholarly research over his 40-year career, Beachy is internationally recognized for his groundbreaking research in food crops, production agriculture and the applications of biotechnology in agriculture, nutrition, and human health.
Beachy will draw on his experience as founder of the world-class Danforth Plant Science Centre in Missouri, first Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and Chief Scientist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to help launch the Institute onto the world stage. After the start-up phase, Beachy will remain actively involved in the Institute in a senior oversight capacity.
The Province of Saskatchewan, the University of Saskatchewan and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (PotashCorp) formally launched the Institute on December 10, 2012. The Institute will be housed at the University of Saskatchewan.
“Dr. Beachy’s appointment to GIFS reflects our continued effort and ability to attract top talent to Saskatchewan,” said Lyle Stewart, Saskatchewan Minister of Agriculture. “His leadership will be the foundation for advancing the targets in our government’s plan for growth and will position Saskatchewan to help meet the growing global demand for food. It is my pleasure to welcome Dr. Beachy to the province.”
Research under Beachy’s leadership has led to a number of issued scientific patents and pending applications, 50 book articles and more than 230 journal publications. He is a member and fellow of a number of scientific societies, including the American Society of Plant Biologists, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Academy of Microbiology, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and American Society for Virology. He is a current member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and past president of the International Association for Plant Biotechnology.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Beachy to the university and look forward to the vision and passion he will bring to the work of the new Institute,” said Dr. Ilene Busch-Vishniac, President of the University of Saskatchewan. “His leadership and expertise in agriculture and food-systems research will contribute greatly to our university’s preeminence and research capacity in these areas.”
Beachy has received numerous awards and honors for his research and leadership. He has been recognized by the American Phytopathological Society with the coveted Ruth Allen Award, the Bank of Delaware’s Commonwealth Award for Science and Industry, the Dennis Robert Hoagland Award from the American Society of Plant Biologists, and the William D. Phillips Technology Advancement Award from the St. Louis County Economic Council. He was once named R&D Magazine’s Scientist of the Year and is a past recipient of the esteemed Wolf Prize in Agriculture.
“To have a tangible impact on food security, the Institute requires strong, respected leadership,” said Bill Doyle, President and Chief Executive Officer of PotashCorp. “Roger brings immediate credibility to this initiative and is the best person to lay the groundwork that will help the Institute achieve its long-term goals. Roger is a builder with a rare combination of insight, experience and understanding that will help establish this Institute as a positive force for improving long-term sustainable food production around the world.”
Beachy holds a Ph.D. in plant pathology from Michigan State University and a B.A. in biology from Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana.
Province of Saskatchewan, PotashCorp commit $50 million to Global Institute for Food Security at the University of Saskatchewan.
The Province of Saskatchewan, the University of Saskatchewan, and Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (PotashCorp) today formally launched the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) to develop Saskatchewan-led solutions to feed a growing world population.
With initial commitments of up to CDN $35 million from PotashCorp and CDN $15 million from the province over the next seven years, the institute will apply Saskatchewan's unique resources, innovation and expertise to address the increasing global demand for safe, reliable food.
"The plan for growth positions Saskatchewan as a global leader in food security and innovation by 2020," Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said. "Advancing Saskatchewan's agricultural advantage allows us to significantly increase the global food supply – our moral obligation as a good global citizen – while building the next economy, an innovation economy, here at home."
PotashCorp's investment represents the largest donation in the company's history and reflects its deep commitment to food security. The donation is one of the largest corporate donations for university research in Canada.
"Food security remains our biggest challenge as populations increase and diets change, putting immense strain on food production," said Bill Doyle, President and CEO of PotashCorp. "We need to help farmers around the world produce more food, ensure it's safe and nutritious, and get it efficiently to those who need it. As the world's largest producer of crop nutrients, supporting food production is a mandate for our company and we believe this institute can play an important role in improving global food security."
The institute will be based at the University of Saskatchewan, a world-renowned centre of excellence in agriculture and food-system related research.
"Over the past century, the University of Saskatchewan has led far-sighted research and innovation to help grow a province and feed a growing nation. Now, through this innovative partnership and its bold vision, we will build on our strengths and provide new research solutions across the food supply system to help feed a growing world," said Dr. Ilene Busch-Vishniac, President, University of Saskatchewan. "This collaborative institute will create unique opportunities for cutting-edge science and policy research that will attract top faculty and students and put Saskatchewan on the global map for food security research."
The institute will build on Saskatchewan's existing strength in crop production systems through new investments in technological, economic, nutritional and environmental improvements to the food supply system at home and around the world. It will take a strategic approach to the food supply system – for example, breeding for higher yield, improved nutrition and better processing traits, looking at how soil quality affects the nutritional value of crops, and adapting prairie zone crops to available soil and water.
With today's complex global food system, the research leadership the new institute will provide is urgently needed to develop not just the new science and technologies to increase food production and nutrition, but to impact the policy agenda so that changes can take place to improve how the various parts of the food system interact.
Focusing on crops grown in Saskatchewan as well as those grown in many other parts of the world such as wheat, lentils, peas and canola – essential sources of food for a significant portion of the world's population – the institute will develop transferable solutions that can be applied to relevant regions and partnerships around the world.
The partners have signed a Memorandum of Agreement outlining the institute's mandate, funding, structure and governance. A search for the institute's initial Executive Director & CEO is underway.
About the University of Saskatchewan
As one of Canada's top research universities, the University of Saskatchewan is at the forefront of Canada's efforts to become a global innovator in solving food security challenges. The U of S has one of theworld's largest hubs of food security researchers—more than 160 scientists and social scientists with expertise across the food system—along with relevant research infrastructure unparalleled in Canada, including two of Canada's major science facilities (the Canadian Light Source and VIDO-InterVac) and a dynamic campus cluster of more than 70 agricultural-related centres.
For more information, please contact:
As the world's largest crop nutrient company, PotashCorp plays an integral role in global food production. The company produces the three essential nutrients required to help farmers grow healthier, more abundant crops. With global population rising and diets improving in developing countries, crop nutrients such as potash, phosphates and nitrogen offer a responsible and practical solution to help produce the food we need, from the land we have.
For more information, please contact:
Senior Director, Public Affairs
About the Province of Saskatchewan
The Saskatchewan Plan for Growth outlines a vision for being a global leader in food security and innovation by 2020. This will be achieved by increasing crop production by 10 million tonnes; increasing exports of agricultural and food products from CDN $10 billion to CDN $15 billion; increasing value-added production, processing and innovation; and establishing Saskatchewan as an international bioscience leader. Over the last number of years, Saskatchewan has strategically and systematically built an excellent agricultural research and development cluster. The establishment of the Global Institute for Food Security builds on Saskatchewan's natural, intellectual and infrastructural resources, and positions Saskatchewan to simultaneously benefit from the increasing global demand for agricultural products while meeting its social responsibilities as a good global citizen.
For more information, please contact:
Province of Saskatchewan
The Province of Saskatchewan, the University of Saskatchewan and PotashCorp are collaborating to develop the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) at the University of Saskatchewan. This innovative public-private Canadian partnership will apply Saskatchewan's unique resources, innovation and expertise to the global challenge of feeding a growing population.
The institute, situated amidst world-class research facilities at the University of Saskatchewan, builds on Saskatchewan’s existing strength in crop production, food systems and its natural advantages. The GIFS strategic investments will result in much-needed technological, economic, nutritional and environmental improvements to the food supply system at home and around the world.
The institute will take a strategic approach by focusing on key areas across the food supply system – for example, breeding for higher yield, improved nutrition and better processing traits, looking at how soil quality affects the nutritional value of crops, and adapting prairie zone crops to available soil and water, and improving agricultural trade practices and policies. The institute will also strengthen linkages among existing Saskatchewan research institutions and businesses.
Why SaskatchewanSaskatchewan is one of the world’s leading food producing regions and a hub for food-system related research:
Playing a leadership role
The research leadership Saskatchewan’s Global Institute for Food Security will provide is needed to develop not just the new science and technologies to increase production but to impact the policy agenda so that changes can take place to improve how the various parts of the food system interact. In today’s complex global food system, farmers’ decisions affect and are affected by trade policy regulations and how food is processed and marketed. Effectively integrating these considerations requires policy frameworks that balance environmental sustainability, human health and profitability.
Focusing on crops grown in Saskatchewan as well as in many other parts of the world such as wheat, lentils, peas and canola – essential sources of food for a significant portion of the world’s population – the institute will develop solutions that can be applied to relevant regions around the world. The institute will ensure its work and voice contribute to critical global discussions on food security solutions.
Governance of the institute
The institute will have its own Board of Directors and report through the University of Saskatchewan’s president to the university’s Board of Governors. To facilitate the institute’s start-up phase, the founding members will appoint a transitional interim Board and interim Executive Director and CEO. A leadership search is underway.
Independent and relevant research is critical to the success of the institute and all faculty and research scientists will be subject to the principles and policies pertaining to academic freedom at the university. The institute will create measurement tools to ensure that research innovations are targeted to areas of greatest need, adequately resourced and demonstrate impact on global food security.
To complement Saskatchewan’s research strengths ensuring global collaboration and world-class research excellence, the institute will also establish a science leadership panel of internationally recognized scientists.
The three founding members, the Province of Saskatchewan, the University of Saskatchewan and PotashCorp, are partnering to provide initial core resources to the institute. Under the terms of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), PotashCorp will contribute up to CDN$35 million over seven years and the government will contribute CDN$15 million over the same period. The university’s world-class facilities and expertise will be critical to the institute’s success. It is expected the institute’s funding base will increase substantially over time through new contributions from both public and private sector donors and partners.
Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
With the world’s population expected to reach nine billion by 2050 and food production stagnating, global food production will have to increase by an estimated 70 per cent to keep pace with increasing demand. As well, the food system will need to change dramatically to effectively deliver safer, more nutritious food to consumers.
Given the planet’s diminishing arable land, meeting this growing demand for food cannot be achieved with existing capacity.
Unpredictable impacts of climate change on the global food system, combined with a significantly reduced and degraded environmental resource base, especially the increasing shortage of water, will further exacerbate food insecurity.
Nearly one billion people – one out of six globally – lack access to adequate food and nutrition. By 2050, the global population will surpass nine billion people, and demand for agricultural products is expected to double. Source: FAO
By 2050, food production needs to increase by 70 percent but the total arable land in developing countries may increase by no more than 12 per cent mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Source: FAO
By 2050, 50 per cent of the land in Latin America will be subject to desertification. Source: International Fund for Agricultural Development
By 2050, climate change could cause yield declines of 13 percent for irrigated wheat crops and 15 percent for irrigated rice in developing countries. In Africa, farmers of maize, a crop not well-suited to higher temperatures, could lose 10 to 20 percent of their yields. Source: Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
Malnutrition in the world is unacceptably high
In addition to increasing overall production, there is a growing focus on increasing the nutritional value of food produced and on understanding changing consumer food preferences as countries become more affluent.
Estimates are that more than 50 million children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition. Each year, 3.5 million children die of malnutrition-related causes. Source: Action Against Hunger
Investments in agriculture are essential
Global institutions like the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Bank, the World Food Programme and major donor countries agree investments in agricultural-related research are essential to ensure global food security.
The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition announced by the G8 leaders earlier this year launched the latest global food security initiative to achieve sustained and inclusive agricultural growth and raise 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years. It calls for increased strategic domestic and foreign private investments through public-private partnerships in agricultural value chains and food systems. It also calls for increased investments in agricultural research, extension and technology transfer.
Over the past three years, food security and economic crises have highlighted both the urgent need and the potential for developing sustainable agricultural systems. At the same time, the world’s agricultural systems will be increasingly challenged by water scarcity, climate change and volatility, raising the risk of production shortfalls.
With today’s complex global food system, research leadership is urgently needed to develop both the new science and technologies to increase production as well as policies to improve how the various components of the food system interact.
Agricultural growth is particularly effective in reducing hunger and malnutrition. Most of the extreme poor depend on agriculture and related activities for a significant part of their livelihoods. Agricultural growth involving smallholders, especially women, will be most effective in reducing extreme poverty and hunger when it increases returns to labour and generates employment for the poor. Source: FAO The State of Food Security in the World 2012
Now, more than ever, the world needs to increase investment in agriculture, which is two to four times more effective in raising incomes among the very poor than growth in other sectors. Source: The World Bank
Substantial gains in agricultural productivity can be realized through investment, innovation, policy and other improvements. However, realizing these gains will require an exceptional level of collaboration among stakeholders in the agricultural value chain, including governments, companies, multilateral and civil-society organizations, farmers, consumers and entrepreneurs. Stakeholder alignment around shared priorities and large-scale initiatives is therefore key to success. Source: World Economic Forum, 2012
Science and research are public goods. In an era of globalization, it’s critical that knowledge on issues like the economy, green growth, and technology be explored and shared across borders so that we might build safer, healthier, and more equitable societies. Source: International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
The University of Saskatchewan, based in Saskatoon, Canada, is at the forefront of Canada’s research efforts to become a global innovator in solving food security challenges. Over the past century, and through international collaborations in its signature area of food security, the University has led visionary research and innovation to help grow a province and feed a growing nation.
World-renowned centre of excellence in crop development
New and improved crops:
Food and bio-products for a sustainable future – a signature area of U of S research
The institute’s CDN$50 million in partner funding will provide research solutions across the food supply system. Funding will enable recruitment of top faculty, students and other research personnel; new research and training projects and programs; development of international partnerships; hiring of undergraduate research assistants; purchase of specialized research equipment; and a visiting scholars program.
U of S activity in food security around the world:
Transforming agriculture through new and improved crops
More than 345 commercial crop varieties have been developed at the University of Saskatchewan, with innovations in spring and winter wheat, durum, barley, oats, flax, and pulses. The research was the main driver behind Saskatchewan’s billion-dollar pulse crop industry. The research conducted at the University’s Crop Development Centre has allowed Saskatchewan to lead the world in exporting peas, lentils, and chickpeas – staple foods in fast-growing countries such as India, China, Bangladesh, and northern Africa.
Improving international health through synchrotron research
University of Saskatchewan synchrotron scientists and Canada Research Chairs – Ingrid Pickering and Graham George – are part of an international team using the Canadian Light Source synchrotron to help solve the mystery of why millions of people in Bangladesh and parts of India get sick from drinking well water. The wells do contain low levels of naturally occurring arsenic, but the team theorized that perhaps the Bangladeshis weren’t actually suffering from arsenic poisoning, but rather that arsenic in the drinking water was eliminating the already scant selenium in the body, making the population selenium deficient. The team’s groundbreaking research uncovered the mechanism behind this binding of elements – work that has led to an American-led clinical trial to test the effect of selenium dietary supplements. As Saskatchewan soil is rich in selenium, Saskatchewan lentil crops can play a key role in improving the health of people in the Bangladesh region.
Agriculture grassland research
Agriculture researcher Dr. Bruce Coulman has a collaborative research project with the Inner Mongolia Agricultural University (IMAU) on the use of perennial forage legumes and grasses for sustainable feed production in crop areas and for complementary grazing and hay systems for native grasslands. The team found that none of the Chinese varieties performed well in Canada, but some of the Canadian varieties did very well in China. This may be valuable information for Chinese farmers and for Canadian seed companies that export Canadian forage seed to China.
Improving Food Security in the Highlands of Ethiopia through improved and sustainable agricultural productivity and human nutrition
Partnering with Hawassa University (HU) in Ethiopia, as well as International Development and Research Centre (IDRC) and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), University of Saskatchewan researchers are working to increase the capacity of Ethiopia to improve food security and human nutrition. This is being done through training agricultural specialists on the breeding, cultivation and farm implementation of pulse crops and targeting Ethiopian women as “agents” for change for adopting and integrating improved production methods.
Integrated nutrient and water management for sustainable food production in the Sahel
Partnering with Canadian development agencies and researchers, the University of Saskatchewan is involved in a project in the West African countries of Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, and Benin to increase production of cowpea sorghum and millets by improving the availability of soil nutrients and moisture for these crops. Traditionally grown by women, expanding production will enhance household income and promote gender equality.
Development of a Subunit Vaccine for Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia in Africa
Partnering with the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, the Veterinary Research Center (KARI-VRC) and Kenya’s International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), University of Saskatchewan researchers are working to develop a safe and highly effective subunit vaccine to address the severe impact of Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), one of the most economically important trade diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. Such a vaccine will be cost effective, easy to produce and of great economic benefit to livestock owners in sub-Saharan Africa.
On Dec. 10, 2012, The Honourable Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan; Dr. Ilene Busch-Vishniac, President of the University of Saskatchewan; and William J. Doyle, President and Chief Executive Officer of PotashCorp, signed a Memorandum of Agreement for the creation of the Global Institute for Food Security at the University of Saskatchewan.
The Global Institute for Food Security is in the process of securing its initial leadership team.
In the interim, please contact its member partners for more information:
Director, U of S Research Communications
Director, Communications – Ministry of Agriculture, Province of Saskatchewan
Senior Director, Public Affairs – PotashCorp