Boosting food security and ensuring the small cultivator’s proper access to and a fair deal in the market have been the key areas of William Dar’s work as scientist, policymaker and administrator. The author, “a farmer’s son”, says he chose to read agronomy at university because “the science that explains the sprouting of seeds and growing of crops … was almost hard-wired in me”.
Feeding the Forgotten Poor is an autobiography in which personal reminiscences serve as a vehicle for voicing concern for the dis-privileged. It takes up large issues and draws attention to “orphan crops” and “hidden hunger”. Noting that more than one billion of the world’s seven billion people go hungry or are malnourished, the book critically examines the political, economic and environmental issues to which contemporary agriculture is closely tied—tariffs and farm subsidies, water pollution, biofuels, the prospects and problems of genetically modified organisms, the growing backlash against mechanised agriculture and increasing support for sustainable practices.
Envisioning the scenario in the year 2050, when the global population is projected to cross the nine million mark, Dar draws the important general conclusion that viable solutions are not just about technology and science—they require a change in mindsets, sound policy and adroit handling of institutions.