Ending Stunting in Rural Africa through Enhanced Nutrition and Micro-Nutrients in Plants". It is not so much a question of more food. It is more a question of better food.

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Howard-Yana Shapiro has been involved with sustainable agricultural and sustainable tree cropping systems for over thirty years with projects in the USA, the EU, Mexico & Latin America (Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Costa Rica), South America (Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia), West Africa (Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast) and South East Asia (Papua New Guinea, Sulawesi, Viet Nam). A two-time Ford Foundation Fellow, Fulbright Scholar, and recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Award, he is a former university professor and for the last eleven years has been VP for Agriculture for Seeds of Change, an organic seed and food company. Mars purchased Seeds of Change in 1997, and since then he has also served as Senior Scientist in Agroforestry/Agroecology for M&M, Mars, and since early 2000, he has assumed the role of Research Manager, Plant Science, M&M/Mars. In addition he coordinates the Mars Sustainable Treecrop Initiatives Team throughout the world and acts as manager of the Multi-Disciplinary Research Unit.

He has worked with local, state, and federal governments throughout the world and with many NGO's over the last three decades. He farms on the banks of the Rio Grande in Northern New Mexico on land that was first farmed by the Tewa, then by Spanish conquistadors, and has been cultivated continuously for over 3000 years. The farm, which includes orchards and a seed cleaning facility, has been certified organic for more than a decade. His work in plant breeding has included capsicums, brassicas, helianthus, tagetes, maize, theobroma and a wide variety of temperate and tropical legumes. He has spoken at meetings dealing with agricultural development, agroforestry, agroecology, and agroeconomics in the North, Latin and South America, the EU, Africa, Asia and Australia. He has been widely quoted in print, radio and television and is author of two books. He has been a consultant on many public and privately funded projects. He considers himself a biodiversifarian or one who is interested in all plants.


Stunting caused by chronic hunger and malnutrition will not be easily ended through food supplementation. With more than 35% of the children in rural Africa and more than 45% of the rural children in India stun ted, a global effort on the fundamental food crops of those populations must be improved to end stunting. This effort would be unprecedented in plant science. It is not a single crop but a large portfolio of diverse crops being worked on simultaneously that will allow the world to reduce the incidence of stunting and its devastating impact. This effort is underway with the African Orphan Crops Consortium. Using state of the art genomics, 101 key food crops of Africa will be breed for nutritional enhance ment, increased yields, climatic resistance, water and nutrient use efficiency, and pest and disease resistance. This is the first step in an improved nutritional and food security system.

Presentation: 58 minutes

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