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Roadmap for a New Vision

Seventeen food and agribusiness companies launched a plan for a new vision for agriculture at The World Economic Forum last Friday. The plan involves a 20-20-20 strategy for the next decade: 20% increase in production, 20% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, and 20% decrease in rural poverty.

Those all sound like good things to do, right? If we can commit to increasing production and improving the plight of the poor, while simultaneously reducing the harmful effects of food production, we would seem to be taking an important step in the right direction.

Penn State's Bryan McDonald, contributor to our Bioethics blog and author of the recent book "Food Security: Addressing Challenges from Malnutrition, Food Safety and Environmental Change", is hopeful that these targets will provide helpful benchmarks for assessing the strategy and making modifications to it over time. Others, however, including author of "Diet for a Hot Planet" and co-founder of the Small Planet InstituteAnna Lapp�, are expressing concern that the New Vision will serve to increase market domination and further threaten food sovereignty.

What do you think about this new plan? How do you go about weighing the benefits it promises against the harms that implementing it could cause?

What are some of the factors that might be motivating food and agribusinesses to adopt these goals? Does it matter why they are doing it as long as they are good goals to pursue? Why or why not?

What factors might be motivating those who express concerns about the plan? How important are these in deciding whether or not we, too, should be worried about its outcomes?

If you had to decide whether or not food and agribusinesses would follow this roadmap, what would you do?