Day 2 :
University of Illinois Springfield, USA
Time : 10:05-10:40
Ali M Nizamuddin is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Illinois Springfield. He has received his PhD from Columbia University in International Relations. His dissertation examined the impact of market risks on investment patterns and the bargaining interaction between multinational corporations and host governments over the life cycle of an investment project. His research has been published in numerous academic journals including the Journal of Pacific Affairs, Asian Journal of Social Science, the International Social Science Review and the Encyclopedia of International Political Economy.
Throughout world history, what human beings ate was determined by what local producers cultivated and what they planted was determined by seasonal cycles. Some seeds that could withstand harsh weather were planted in the fall while most seeds were planted in the spring. After the harvest, farmers reclaimed the seeds so that they could replant them the following season. Today, however, these age-old practices that guided countless generations are becoming extinct. What we eat, the quality of our food and even the tastes that we develop are dictated by powerful corporations who are driven by the profit motive. My book entitled “The Patenting of Life, Limiting Liberty and the Corporate Pursuit of Seeds” investigates the corporate dominance of the world’s seed supply. The seed is nature’s gift and the first link in the food chain. This life form is becoming the exclusive intellectual property of the corporation. The advent of genetically modified seeds and strict patent protection accorded to them enable companies to own the seed even after the farmer has bought, planted and harvested the seed. Multinational corporations have a monopoly control over seeds and the accompanying pesticides which is leading to monocultures in the food system and the disappearance of traditional methods of farming. Local producers are forced to buy seeds each year, thereby fostering a feudalistic relationship of perpetual dependence. An imbalance of power has emerged and farmers are transformed from producers to consumers by these new arrangements. The leap to embrace biotechnology and genetically modified foods has been quite swift and conducted without the public’s knowledge. The food that our stomachs ingest may be increasingly bad for us. Case studies from four developing countries are presented for consideration.
University of the Philippines, Philippines
Francis R Samonte is an academic Pediatric and Adult Neurologist and Public Health Nutrition Specialist. From 1998 to 2010, he was a Clinical and Basic Neuroscience Fellow at Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School with special concentration on cognitive sciences and later as a Research Fellow in Human Brain Development in children with neuro-developmental disabilities. He has completed his Clinical Fellowship at Harvard institutions and inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa honor society at Johns Hopkins University where he studied Neurobiology and Regulatory Affairs. For the past 5 years, he has researched into food security, nutrigenomics and cognitive functional outcomes across the lifespan of diseases in the Philippines. He is currently on Faculty at the University of the Philippines where his primary focus is on nutritional cognitive neurosciences and climate change/food security.
Statement of the Problem: The challenge of globalization has led to dramatic changes in food security, most especially in much of the developing nations. Globalization has played a central role in altering the access and availability of foods in developing nations through liberalization of food markets and the dynamic of transnational food companies spanning across the world. This dynamic change has created a nutritional transition or a dietary shift in lifestyle leading to higher levels of food security but also adversely caused increased rates of nutritional deficiencies and childhood obesity. Furthermore, climate change has greatly affected food security in many low lying nations. Environmental changes have led to chronic risks of food production and supply. Macronutrient and micronutrient deficiency is widespread in many developing countries affected by climate change. This burden of nutrition transition and climate change has clear socioeconomic implications that threatens the survival of the cultural dietary values and status in the Philippines; where economic development and climate change has come together to present a unique phenomenon.
Methodology: Data from the Philippine government agencies (Philippine Statistical Authority and Food and Nutrition Research Institute) related to nutritional, agricultural output and poverty were obtained spanning from 1990-2015. Features of the data included but not limited to the following: Demographic data (age, income, education, urban/rural), topographical data (coastal vs. inland), anthropometric measurements and nutritional survey (caloric density).
Conclusion & Significance: In the element of food security, the double burden of nutrition transition and climate change presents itself as a crossroad in the current challenges in the Philippines. The problems of obesity, malnutrition, declining quality of agricultural production create a difficult and volatile socioeconomic status that requires further assessment and careful national planning.