Let the Harvest Begin

Letter sponsored by Monsanto Company

We would like you to know how we feel about the benefits of biotechnology.

Across the farms of Europe and the United States, crops grow plentifully, providing an over-abundance of food. But in other parts of the world, food shortages still confront the population every day. Finding new ways to meet our global need for food, while maintaining ecological balance, might be the greatest challenge we face in the next century.

We all share the same planet - and the same needs. In agriculture, many of our needs have an ally in biotechnology and the promising advances it offers for our future. Biotechnology is the science of changing the genetic makeup of seeds that grow our food to add new benefits. Healthier, more abundant yields. Reduced reliance on pesticides and fossil fuels. A cleaner environment.

As we stand on the edge of a new millennium, we dream of a tomorrow without hunger. To achieve that dream, we must overcome many hurdles, including poverty, distribution, water supply, soil erosion and crop disease. Biotechnology alone cannot address all of these hurdles, but it is an important tool in our hands today. We know advances in biotechnology must be tested and safe, but they should not be unduly delayed.

In the next century, we need food that is more plentiful and more affordable than it is today. With more productivity needed from less tillable land, we need new ways to yield more from what is left. To strengthen our economies, we need to grow our own food as independently as we can. Agricultural biotechnology can help play a major role in realizing the hope we all share. This science can help make a dramatic difference in millions of lives.

Securing food for our future is the beginning of a better life for us all. Let the harvest begin.

Costa Rica
Dr. Oscar Arias
Former President,
Nobel Peace Laureate
Carlos E. Aquino González
Director General, IICA,
Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture

Nicolas Ardito-Barletta
Former President

Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada
Former President

Juan Carlos Hurtado-Miller
Former Prime Minister,
Former Minister of
Agriculture and Economy

Prof. Francisco Delgado de la Flor
President, Universidad Agraria,
La Molina

Dr. Carlos Amat y Leon
Dean, School of Economics,
Universidad del Pacífico,
Former Agriculture Minister

Ing. Adelaida Harries
President, National Seed Institute

Dr. Isaias Schor
Consultant Professor of Nutrition,
Faculty of Medicine,
University of Buenos Aires

Luiz Marcos Suplicy Hafers
President, Sociedade Rural Brasileira

Renato Johnsson
Federal Deputy for Parana

Dr. Norman E. Borlaug
Senior Consultant, CIMMYT,
International Maize and Wheat Imporvement Center,
President, Sasakawa Africa Foundation,
Nobel Laureate

Dr. Francisco Bolívar
Mexican Academy of Sciences, and Vice President for Research, Universidad Nacional
Autónoma de México

Prof. Antonio Velazquez
Dept. of Nutrition and Genetics, Universidad Nacional
Autónoma de México

Jorge Kondo Lopez
National Institute of Agricultural, Livestock and Forestry Research, Ministry of Agriculture,
Livestock and Rural Development

Dr. Maher A. Wally
Dean, Faculty of Agriculture,
Al Azhar University

M. Shafik Gabr
Chairman & Managing
Director, Artoc Group for Investment and Development

Prof. Ilan Chet
Vice President for Research and Chairman, Authority for R&D,
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Abdelhafid Kadiri
Former Agriculture Minister and Ambassador to Spain

Babacar N'Diaye
Former President,
African Development Bank

Prof. Adebayo Adedeji
Former UN Under Secretary
General and Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Africa

Dr. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti
Former Chairman of the Executive Board, World Health Organization

Dr. Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe
Vice President

Joyce F. Mungherera
National Executive Director,
Hunger Project Laureate

South Africa
Ina Perlman
Operation Hunger

Prof. Thomas R. Odhiambo
Managing Trustee,
RANDFORUM - Research and Development Forum for Science-Led Development in Africa

Dr. Cyrus G. Ndiritu
Kenya Agricultural Research Institute

Prof. George Benneh
Former Minister, Lands and Natural Resources, and
Former Chairman, Central Bank

Dr. Esther Ocloo
Women's World Banking,
Hunger Project Laureate

Lucia Quachey
Ghana Association
of Women Entrepreneurs

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Former Director,
Regional Bureau for Africa, UNDP

Sierra Leone
Dr. Abdulai O. Conteh
Former Vice President,
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Attorney General

Dr. Harry N. Will
Minister of Agriculture,
Forestry and the Environment

Prof. Walter J. Kamba
Dean, Faculty of Law, and
UNESCO Professor of Human Rights, Democracy and Law, University of Namibia

The Russian Federation
Aleksandr Yakovlev
Presidential Commission on
Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Repressions

Prof. Konstatin Skryabin
Institute of Bioengineering of Russian Agricultural Sciences

Dr. Zhelyu Zhelev
Former President

Prof. Atanas Atanassov
Professor and Director,
Institute of Genetic Engineering

Dr. Valeriy E. Kolomoitsev
National Deputy and Advisor to
the President

Czech Republic
Prof. Jaroslav Drobnik
Biotechnology Institute,
Karlovy University

Drago N. Nedic
Deputy Minister,
Ministry of Agriculture,
Forestry and Water Economy

Bal Ram Jakhar
Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha),
Former Minister of Agriculture

Niaz A. Naik
Former Foreign Secretary,
Former UN Ambassador

Sri Lanka
Dr. R.O.B. Wijesekera
Chairman, Governing Board,
Ceylon Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research (CISIR)

He Kang
Former Minister of Agriculture

Prof. Gufan Hong
Director, National Center
for Gene Research,
Chinese Academy of Science

Dr. Kim Kihwan
Ambassador-at-Large for Economic Affairs and Chairman, Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency

Dr. Dewi Motik Pramono
International Federation of
Women Entrepreneurs

Papua New Guinea
Sir Michael Thomas Somare, CMG
Former Prime Minister

Dr. Nerius I. Roperos
Executive Director, National Seed Industry Council, and
Director, Bureau of Plant Industry, Department of Agriculture

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