24) James Bolger affirms support, as ICRISAT Ambassador of Goodwill, for science-based solutions to poverty and hunger

Rt. Hon James Bolger, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Chair of the World Agricultural Forum (WAF) Advisory Board, receives the ICRISAT Ambassador of Goodwill plaque from Dr William Dar (right), Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT).

Wellington, New Zealand (25 August 2014) – “The world will have to feed 10 billion people by 2050. Today, a billion people are hungry and about 3 billion are not eating well. To overcome poverty, hunger and malnutrition, science is an essential component that must be behind all our efforts,” said Rt. Hon James Bolger, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Chair of the World Agricultural Forum (WAF) Advisory Board.

“ICRISAT plays an important role in this, particularly in the drylands that are resource-poor, marginal environments of the world. I am pleased and proud to be an Ambassador of Goodwill for the work of ICRISAT,” he continued. The ICRISAT Ambassador of Goodwill is a role which recognizes that 75% of the world’s extremely poor people live in the rural areas and are dependent on agriculture, and so the best way to overcome poverty is to make farming profitable.

Rt. Hon Bolger affirmed his commitment as an ICRISAT Ambassador of Goodwill as he was awarded a special plaque by Dr William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT, in a courtesy meeting in Wellington on 25 August 2014.

Rt. Hon Bolger accepted to become an ICRISAT Ambassador during his attendance to the World Agricultural Forum Congress (WAF) held in Hyderabad, India in November 2013, and has since been championing the need for science-based solutions for farming in the fight against poverty, hunger, malnutrition and environmental degradation.

“We cannot be any prouder of all our Ambassadors of Goodwill, who have agreed to work closely with us and serve as our voices, in order to make a difference for the poor farmers throughout Asia and Africa,” said Dr Dar.

“The drylands are also the producers of the new Smart Foods – foods that are not only good for you but also good for the environment because of their low usage of water and other inputs, as well as being lifesavers for the rural poor who have few other options. Crops like millets are less known but are hailed to be the next quinoa and the new Smart Food,” Dr Dar continued.

“Through our Ambassadors like Rt. Hon Bolger, we can further spread the word on crops like millets and legumes that have triple benefits of being highly nutritious, good for the planet and play an important role in overcoming poverty and malnutrition in poor areas,” he added.

Rt. Hon James Bolger is the current Advisory Board Chair of the WAF, a policy neutral and internationally inclusive agriculture forum that brings together leaders from the private sector with policy makers and key policy influencers to focus on providing food, fuel, fiber and water to the world’s growing population. He was the 35th Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1990 to 1997, elected on the promise of delivering a “Decent Society”.

The ICRISAT Ambassadors of Goodwill program was launched in May 2013 with the acceptance of Mr Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to become the first Ambassador during his visit to the ICRISAT global headquarters.

Mr Bill Gates and Rt. Hon Bolger have since been joined by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, renowned scientist and 11th President of India; Dr Akinwumi Adesina, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria; Dr Nigel Poole, former Chair, ICRISAT Governing Board; Professor MS Swaminathan, renowned agricultural scientist and Father of India's Green Revolution; and Ms Saina Nehwal, Olympic medalist, ace badminton player and youth icon of India, as ICRISAT Ambassadors.

During Dr Dar’s visit to New Zealand, he explored the possibility of partnering with public and private entities in the fight against hidden hunger in the country, which has now become an increasing concern, especially among low income households. While all are getting enough food to stay alive, ICRISAT’s new Smart Foods has a huge potential in helping those who are not getting the food they need to stay healthy.

Dr Dar, along with Ms Joanna Kane-Potaka, Director of ICRISAT’s Strategic Marketing and Communication, took the opportunity to meet with representatives from key organizations in New Zealand to discuss the new Smart Foods campaign against hidden hunger, attended by: Rt. Hon Bolger; Trish Ramsted, Ministry for Primary Industries; Prof Alister Jones, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Waikato University; Prof Holland, Waikato University – NZ’s expert on water TBC; Sarah Meikle, Chief Executive, Wellington Culinary Events Trust, Festival Director; Lian Redding, Redding Cereals Limited; and C J (Stan) Vandersyp, Development Manager, International Financial Institutions, Partnerships, Humanitarian and Multilateral Division, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Siobhan Molloy, Executive Director, Agencies for Nutrition Action and Chef Alfonso Basile, The Wellington Club.


For media enquiries, contact: Joanna Kane-Potaka, Director, Strategic Marketing and Communication, +91 9652883227, or J(dot)Kane-Potaka(at)cgiar(dot)org. or
Cristina P Bejosano, Head, Public Awareness and Marketing Support, +91 40 3071 3227, C(dot)Bejosano(at)cgiar(dot)org.
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