FORT VALLEY -- With the world population expected to grow by a billion people over the next 10 years, improving farm production is essential, said a top U.S. Department of Agriculture official.
Sonny Ramaswamy, the new director of the USDAs National Institute of Food and Agriculture, made the comments to about 70 people at Fort Valley State University Thursday.
His department is the USDAs link to land grant colleges like FVSU, and it provides funds for agricultural research. Ramaswamy said land grant colleges are vital to improving efficiency of food production, particularly in developing plants that need less water.
The kind of research done at FVSU and other similar institutions already has made American farmers the most efficient in the world, he said.
There is no country on earth that has been able to achieve what the American farmer has been able to achieve, Ramaswamy said. A single American farmer can feed 150 people. There is no other country on earth that has been able to do that.
He also noted that of every dollar an American spends, 7 cents of that goes toward food. In comparison, Europeans spend about 15-19 cents on the dollar, Japan 23 cents, and African countries spend about 80 cents.
Can you imagine if you spend 80 cents of every dollar on food, you have to work a very long day to put food on the table, he said. And then you dont have much to spend on anything else.
Ramaswamy said he has been traveling around to land grant schools to meet those doing agriculture research and develop ideas for what can be done in the future.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.