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Dr. Prem Warrior
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Seattle, WA, USA
Agbiotech:  The Global Sustainability Challenge
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
8:25 - 9:10 am

Abstract: The world population is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050; the return on investment in agricultural research and development has been generally high over the past several years and over the past three decades alone. Cereal productivity has increased 2.8 per cent mostly attributed to increases in per unit area yield. However, approximately 75% of the world’s poorest economies still practice smallholder farming and face very low productivity. These regions experience lack of resources, low capacity for carrying out R&D and low private sector interest. They are also constrained by a very poor policy environment, in relation to their land use, property rights, and available inputs along with a host other socio-political issues. The rapidly increasing demand for food presents both challenges and opportunities. Agricultural development is a powerful and sustainable answer to hunger and poverty reduction. Innovation in agricultural productivity at smallholder level is the key lever that can help. These efforts must be implemented across the value chain from the seed to the final produce. Monitoring and evaluation processes need to be developed, taking into consideration the specific context. Newer tools as well as implementation models in crop improvement and crop management are needed to achieve the food security for this and the next generation. Addressing the concerns to improve adoption of the newer biotechnology tools in food and agriculture is the key to overcoming the productivity issues. Biotechnology has created significant positive impact in enhancing agricultural production in the developed world and several developing countries such India, China and Brazil. Technologies such as drought-tolerance, nitrogen use efficiency and herbicide/insecticide resistance had positive impact of biotech crops around the world. Agricultural biotechnology will help the struggling population in the least developed parts of the world overcome the fears about food security and improve the quality of life.

Prem Warrior joined the Gates Foundation in April 2008 as a Senior Program Officer in the Agricultural Development group (Science & Technology team). He is currently responsible for developing a portfolio of grants in the crop management area including biological nitrogen fixation, integrated pest management, evaluation of crop protection products including seed treatment products, as well as evaluating options for private sector engagement.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Dr. Warrior was in an executive leadership role managing technology and directing global programs in agricultural research, formulations, and technology assessments at Valent BioSciences Corporation, USA (an independent subsidiary of Sumitomo Chemical Corporation, Japan). VBC was divested from the agricultural group of Abbott Laboratories, a global leader in Pharmaceutical and Diagnostic products. Prem has hands-on experience in the discovery, development and commercialization of crop protection products including Bt-based insecticides, nematicides, fungicides, herbicides and plant growth regulators. In his corporate roles, he has also managed the corporate IP portfolio, developed processes for scientific/business assessment of technologies in agriculture, evaluated over 100 technology leads, developed partnerships with private and public sector enterprises as well as completed licensing, acquisition and business development. He has filed 40+ patents and has published more than 50 scientific papers, book chapters in the plant sciences/public health fields. Dr. Warrior has a Ph. D. in Plant pathology and an MBA in general business.

Click to view Prem Warrior's ABIC 2010 presentation