emerging blog

Feeding the Planet, Energy for life: World Food Day at Expo Milan 2015

Since 1981, every 16th of October has been the day to remember that every woman, man or child has the right to nutritious and adequate food. According to FAO 795 million people in the world do not have enough food and live in hunger. As if that weren't bad enough, if women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.

This Year celebration took place at the Expo Milano, whose main theme is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for life”. The opening ceremony was attended by important leaders such as the Italian President Sergio Mattarella, the UN SG Ban Ki Moon and the three heads of the UN Rome based agencies. Ban Ki Moon received a symbolic document named the Milan Charter, which called on citizens, associations, businesses and institutions to assume a responsible role towards the achievement of the right to food for future generations to come.

Everyone can sign this document. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel; the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the Nobel Prize Amartya Sen, all have signed. You can sign here. But beyond signing, we need to reflect. Donate to those who live in hunger. Stop wasting food. Make better and more nutritious choices that also respect the environment. As the UN Secretary General said during the ceremony “We made our promises. Now it is time for action”.

WFP Hunger Map
View the WFP Hunger Map here: http://documents.wfp.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/communications/wfp275057.pdf

Women’s Empowerment: Solutions at the Nexus of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Enterprise

The Private Sector Mechanism (PSM) of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) organized a roundtable discussion and high-level luncheon on women’s empowerment on Friday, October 9, 2015.  Entitled “Solutions at the nexus of agriculture, nutrition, and enterprise,” the event took place at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome, Italy, just before the annual meeting of the CFS.

A broad cross section of stakeholders from governments – including 14 Ambassadors to the Rome-Based Agencies, international organizations, academia, foundations, NGOs and delegates from the Private Sector Mechanism – addressed the barriers to women’s productive participation in food supply chains and entrepreneurship. The event focused on three key areas related to women’s empowerment in the food supply chain.

  • Women’s access to productive resources (finance, tools, technology, land)

  • Women’s contributions to health and nutrition and the impact on families and communities

  • The role of women in fostering food security


For more information on the event, visit the International Agri-food Network website.

My First Impressions with Emerging

One month at Emerging Ag inc. went so fast! It felt like a couple of weeks, though very intense. I don’t really have a background on agriculture and I have been learning so much about this industry since I started this new job. The team is internationally based and has such bright, intelligent, motivated women who are on top of all their subjects.

The virtual office concept is very modern and gives a lot of flexibility. It is challenging in the best way because it inspires us to always stay professional, reliable and be team players, even more with the fact that the consultants are in different time zones.

The Emerging spirit is a mix of passion and dedication, strong motivation and did I say passion again?

After few weeks with Emerging I traveled to Burkina Faso, Morocco, Italy and heading to London in couple of weeks while being based in Mauritania. I believe that it is quite amazing to be able to travel and meet individuals from other cultures, environments and to be confronted with real issues with first-hand information through events like the Committee on Food Security in Rome.

What I enjoy most is the will and dedication of Emerging Ag consultants to understand the clients, their needs, expectations and how to guide them through the challenging issues of providing food security on a global scale. I am also discovering the vast and multi sector worldwide industry agriculture is. You must consider food first. Where does it come from and how?When we are evolving outside the food and agriculture industry we rarely think about the whole value chain! When we are enjoying a pulse made dinner for instance!

This is a whole new universe I am more than delighted to be thriving in at this moment of my professional career. More than that, working at Emerging Ag is exactly what I needed since I have always wanted to contribute to the development of Africa and learn more about the worldwide agriculture industry where the real heroes are the farmers.

All Pulses Dinner

A simple pulse can make the most extraordinary meal even more extraordinary when it is a multi-course dinner served garden-side by talented hosts. Mr. Ahmad Farooq, Alternate Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN agencies in Rome and the co-chair of the International Steering Committee for the International Year of Pulses (2016) and his skilled wife hosted the members of the steering committee. They were kind enough to include me.

The menu shows the extraordinary diversity of what can be done with pulses – right down to the desserts.  My favorite dish was the Qeema, but everything I sampled was a joy.  We can’t wait to see what Pakistan supplies as the national signature dish for the year of pulses.


My Favorite Pulse Dish: Lentils Couscous

Pulse dish 2- hapsa

The Lentils Couscous is a traditional Fulani dish that I transformed. Usually it is cooked with pearl millet, but I wanted to try a different type of cereal and I liked it so much that I now cook it using barley couscous more often. For my choice of pulses, lentils are a personal favorite and any excuse is good to add them to a meal!


50gr Lentils
2 onions
2 tomatos
4 garlics
150gr barley
100gr barley couscous


Chop the garlic, the onions and the tomatoes, then sauté the mix in a teaspoon of vegetable oil with salt and pepper.

In the meantime boil some water with a little salt in which you will add the lentils (pour the water until it just covers the lentils) and let rest. If you'd like extra spice, add a hot pepper.

Happily mix the two preparations!

The Lentils Couscous is a side dish which can be eaten with your choice of main, I suggest ribs!

Emerging ag is in Rome for CFS42

Myself and the rest of the Emerging team is in Rome preparing for CFS42, which takes place next week at the FAO. With over 120 Private Sector representatives registered, the week will be filled with presentations and a series of interesting Side Events all focusing on food security.

This is my first time in Rome, so as one could imagine – I’m very excited to be here. It’s only a bonus that I get to attend such a substantial meeting on World Food Security in the heart of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

The International Agri-food Network (IAFN) will be live-tweeting the event! Be sure to follow @AgriFoodNet and @UN_CFS on Twitter, and use the hashtags #B4FoodSecurity and #CFS42 to join the conversation. A list of active Twitter accounts for the delegates involved can be found here.

Follow along, and enjoy the excitement!

The Pope and the SDGs at the UN today!


17 Heads of State, 1 Pope, 17 goals for a new global partnership makes for a lot of security and a lot of media.

Thrill for one farm girl.

My Favorite Pulse Dish: Sweet Potatoes, Butternut and Beans


This recipe is one of my favourites because it’s just so easy and quick to make and those bright colours are lovely for a winter meal. It is derived from a similar recipe for a Brazilian stew that used to be served at the World Food Café in London’s Covent Garden. Sadly the Café is gone, but the cookbook remains and over time I made that recipe my own.

This is a very simple dish to make, it can be made as a vegetarian recipe - or not - and can be customised to fit your taste! It’s ready in 30 min or so and can easily be reheated too…

Sweet Potatoes, Butternut and Beans 

For 2-3 as a main course


  • Half a butternut, peeled and cubed

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

  • 2 or 3 cans of beans – choose the ones you like best, this one is made with butter beans and pinto beans but anything goes!

  • 2 red peppers, cut into pieces

  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

  • Vegetable or chicken stock

  • Feta or a similar tangy cheese

  • Olive oil

  • Cumin – 1 tablespoon

  • Smoked paprika – 1 tablespoon

  • Oregano (fresh or dry) - a handful fresh or 2 small teaspoons

  • Optional:

    • Chorizo or another type of spicy sausage

    • Pancetta, diced

    • Fresh or flaked dry chilli peppers (1 chilli chopped or less, to taste)

    • Avocado, sliced


  • Sauté the garlic in olive oil

  • When it starts to become a little transparent, add the cubed sweet potato and butternut

  • If using cooking chorizo, pancetta, or chilli, add now

  • Add the spices

  • Sauté for another 5-10 min

  • Add the vegetable or chicken stock until the vegetables are just covered.

  • Put the lid on let it simmer 15 min

  • Add the drained and rinsed beans

  • Add the cubed peppers

  • Let it simmer until the sweet potato and butternut are cooked through

  • Add salt and pepper to taste

  • Serve with feta crumbled on top and optionally, a slices of avocado

You can serve with a side of rice also.

Amazing Ag Adventure at Kelburn Farm

Brian D Campbell Food and Farm Discovery Centre

On Wednesday, September 16th, I was given the opportunity to go to Ag in the Classroom (AITC-M) “Amazing Ag Adventure” tour at Kelburn Farms in Manitoba. Let me begin by saying that it was an amazing experience. I’m always so thankful to be working in this industry after attending its many events. The people who work with Ag in the Classroom are upbeat, engaged, funny and so inspiring. The goal of the evening was to show how the program runs for children, in order to help them learn farming practices and how their food is grown.

The evening started at 5:00 pm, when myself and many other industry members met at Kelburn Farms located in the Red River Valley of Manitoba. We were then driven to Glenlea farm to explore the Brian D. Campbell Farm & Food Discovery Centre. Here, leaders explain the happenings behind breeding, birthing and feeding pigs; how biosecurity works and why it’s important; what are the many different nutrients which are good for the plants and crops; and finally, what foods are most grown in Manitoba, and why they are good for our health. These are lessons which benefit children by teaching them why farming and farmers are important.

A volunteer farmer and his chickens

The Glenlea Research farm has barns which contain mini chicken coups, dairy cows, cattle and pigs. Having real-life farmers volunteer to bring their animals to help describe their farm processes is such a valuable experience for young students. This way they’re able to see the animals up close, see how they are cared for, and learn how they are used in our food. We are told by many volunteers that a large number of the students who come through the farm have never stepped foot in a barn before, or have never seen a live cow. Bringing their food to life helps them learn to be grateful to our farmers, as well as inspires them to join the industry.

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My Favorite Pulse Dish: Fabae Vitellianae (beans in the style of Vitellius)

When looking to get creative with pulses, instead of trying something new, why not try something very old? This recipe is taken from an ancient Roman cookbook (commonly known as Apicius or de re coquinaria, “on culinary things”) generally dated to the fourth or fifth century, shortly before the fall of the Western Roman Empire. It is named after the first century emperor Vitellius, who ruled for an extremely brief period during the Year of the Four Emperors (he was the third). Vitellius was famous for his extravagant banquets and vast appetite. According to contemporary histories, when he attempted to flee Rome to avoid Vespasian, the soon-to-be fourth emperor of the year, he abandoned all his possessions and most of his staff, insisting on being accompanied only by his cook and his pastry chef.

The dish itself is a semi-sweet bean paste made with egg yolks, ginger, honey, white wine, and fish sauce (ubiquitous in ancient roman cooking). I favour Borlotti beans, but chickpeas work well for this recipe too. It is perfect as an appetizer, served with flat bread and/or olives. Like its namesake, this dish is rich, thick, and guaranteed to disappear quickly!


  • 500g beans or chickpeas, boiled
  • 3 egg yolks, hard boiled
  • 2/3 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • ground black pepper to taste

Process the beans in a food processor. Add egg yolks, honey, ginger, and pepper and mix well. Put wine, fish sauce, and vinegar into a saucepan and heat. Add bean paste to the saucepan, and stir gently allowing the mixture to thicken to the desired consistency. Can be served hot or cold.