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The World Agricultural Forum (WAF) will hold its second World Congress on May 20-22, 2001, in St. Louis. WAF is a nonprofit organization that serves as the only neutral venue for global dialogue about issues critical to the supply of food, fiber and fuel to the world’s growing population in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Through its biennial World Congress, the WAF seeks to stimulate ideas, foster understanding, and promote an inclusive and constructive dialogue on agricultural issues among leaders from government, the private sector and nongovernmental organizations around the world.

The theme of the 2001 World Congress will be "A New Age in Agriculture: Feeding the World." The agenda - developed in consultation with the organization’s international advisory board - will cover both current and emerging issues related to global trends, international trade policies, sustainability, food security, the role of the small farmer, water supply issues, technology development and access, and transportation and infrastructure needs. A special focus of the 2001 Congress agenda will be on the agricultural challenges facing developing countries and markets.

Officials from several foreign governments and international agencies already have accepted invitations to participate in the 2001 World Congress. They include:

• President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal;

• Jacques Diouf, director general of the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations;

• Franz Fischler, agriculture commissioner of the European Union;

• Gerard Viatte, director for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); and

• senior-level officials from Australia, Colombia and Indonesia.

Former U.S. Sen. John C. Danforth, chairman of the WAF’s international board of advisors, says the 2001 Congress serves a vital purpose. "Food is our most basic need and right of people around the world," he explains. "Yet we live on a planet where millions of people in developing countries each day suffer from hunger or malnourishment while many in the industrialized world take their food supply for granted.

"The World Agricultural Forum and its 2001 World Congress offer an opportunity for world leaders to share their perspectives on global agriculture’s challenges and begin to identify possible solutions that are in the interests of both industrialized and developing nations," Danforth adds.

The organization’s first World Congress in 1999 drew more than 350 agricultural leaders from around the world, including senior government officials from the United States and seven other countries. The 1999 World Congress was broadcast live via satellite around the world. Its proceedings have been made available in book form and through the organization’s Web site at

"What makes the World Agricultural Forum a unique and innovative approach to agricultural policy discussions is its continuing, neutral and inclusive mechanism for idea sharing and consensus building," says Dr. Leonard Guarraia, chairman and president of the World Agricultural Forum.

"The Forum’s World Congress provides a venue where thought leaders and decision makers from around the world have an opportunity to discuss and share their ideas and knowledge about the critical issues facing the global agricultural system and begin to build bridges of understanding among each other," Guarraia explains. "No other organization or conference - whether sponsored by industry or government or independent - provides this service for agriculture’s many stakeholders."

The World Agricultural Forum is funded through corporate donations and foundation grants. In recognition of the WAF’s role in focusing global attention upon St. Louis and the importance of agriculture and agribusiness to the region, The Danforth Foudation has provided a $1 million grant to fund the organization’s operations through 2003. The WAF is planning to launch a journal and hold regional conferences outside the United States to broaden participation. AM

Corporate support for the WAF and its World Congress is being sought. Doane Agricultural Services is spearheading the drive to engage agribusiness. More information and a sponsorship packet are available by contacting Lynn O. Henderson, Doane CEO, at 800/535-2342.

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