Robynne has extensive experience in the agriculture and food sector, working throughout the value chain – from basic inputs to farmers in the field to the grocery store shelf. She works internationally in the sector, including speaking at the United Nations on agriculture and food issues, and representing the International Agri-Food Network at...
Robynne has extensive experience in the agriculture and food sector, working throughout the value chain – from basic inputs to farmers in the field to the grocery store shelf. She works internationally in the sector, including speaking at the United Nations on agriculture and food issues, and representing the International Agri-Food Network at the UN.Throughout her career she has worked with farm organisations like the Prairie Oat Growers Association, the National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi and the Himalayan Farmers Association, as well as global groups, to further the voice of agriculture in the food debate. She has also worked with Fortune 500 companies growing worldwide businesses to assist them with issues management and strategy decisions.

Youth Taking Action - PSM 2022 Youth Forums

Youth are truly the future of food.  That’s why we are continually working to include youth in global discussions about the food system and encourage young people to look at agriculture and food as a long-term career. 

Certainly I have learned, youth must take a central and leading role in shaping fair and equitable food systems around the world. Often they are the ones who see past old lines drawn in the agriculture sector to bright new ways to do things.  So we are helping give young people a platform to share innovative solutions and highlights ways we can better engage youth in the food system.

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Sustaining Food Production and Trade in Crisis Situations

My heart goes out to all the people caught up in conflict and to people around the world facing uncertainty.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has underscored the urgent need to place agricultural productivity and trade on the global agenda. Supply chain and logistical disruptions, restrictions on exports, and shortages in inputs supply pose a serious threat to food security. Already, international food prices are volatile, having reached an all-time high in February 2022 (FAO). The uncertainty of the intensity and duration of the conflict will worsen the situation further as the disruptions and restrictions persist and will affect the entire globe.

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Gender Equality in Agriculture for Sustainable Food Systems in a Changing Climate

Today is International Women’s Day when women worldwide are celebrated yet many women continue to face gender inequality especially in the agricultural sector. According to the FAO, 80% of the farmland in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia is managed by small-holder farmers and about 2.5 billion people in poor countries are employed within the agricultural sector. Most of these are women. Women make up 43% of the agricultural workforce in the Global South and an estimated 66% of livestock keepers yet many of them do not have land ownership right nor access to resources. This is a challenge which threatens global food security and the sustainability of food systems especially in rural areas where more people suffer from hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. 

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Looking back on 2021

After a challenging 2020 filled with lockdowns and cancellations of in-person meetings as well as travel restrictions, we looked forward to a better year in 2021 and we were not disappointed! As we adjusted to a new normal filled with hybrid meetings or new travel requirements, we also welcomed all the exciting projects, conferences and achievements. Here are a few highlights: 

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World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue 2021: Nutrition-Sensitive Food Systems Roundtable

One of my highlights of the past year was 2021 Borlaug Dialogue Roundtable on Nutrition-Sensitive Food Systems organised by Barbara Stinson’s team at the World Food Prize Foundation. I had the privilege of moderating a discussion between experts, farmers, and past World Food Prize winners on how to achieve better nutrition globally. It is key to improve access to and affordability of healthier foods, including fruits and vegetables, pulses, dairy, and blue foods. 

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Climbing the Summit

The conversation about food has taken on a whole new meaning thanks to the UN Food Systems Summit. Food has always played a key role in our lives: from bringing family and friends together, to providing a source of income to millions of people, to shaping national and international policy. The importance of food can never be overstated. However, the discussion on food has usually been quite narrow and limited. Until recently, the idea of food only pointed to what we eat. The Summit has expanded the traditional idea of food to include the whole life cycle of getting what we eat from farm to table. 

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Private Sector Collaboration for Resilient Food Systems

The Food Systems Summit held on September 23 climaxed the long-standing debate on food systems transformation. The wide-ranging and inclusive process leading to the Summit and the discussions were clear: transforming food systems was the best response to addressing food insecurity, food affordability, and food accessibility.

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World Food Prize winner collaborates with SAWBO to educate African sweet potato farmers

It will be an honour to moderate a roundtable on nutrition during the World Food Prize. So, it couldn’t be more fitting to see a client collaborate with a past winner. 

In arid regions in Africa, smallholder sweet potato farmers often struggle to store planting material for the next season. In response to this challenge, researchers of the International Potato Centre (CIP) developed the Triple S technique. Adopting this technique helped farmers have vines available to plant in the rainy season and led to increased yields. In order to propagate this information, Scientific Animation Without Borders partnered with CIP Principal Scientist and 2016 World Food Prize winner Dr Jan Low to animate this technique.

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Resilient Trade Ecosystems for Improved Food Systems

On July 6, the World Trade Organization Secretariat in collaboration with the United Nations Food Systems Summit organised a Global Summit Dialogue on Trade. During this event, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala highlighted the vital role trade plays in food security.

In light of this, on July 26th at the United Nations Pre-Summit, the Government of Brazil and The International Agri-Food Network organised an Affiliated Session with the support of private sector members such as the International Chamber of Commerce and the International Grain Trade Coalition.

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Shaping the Path to Resilient Food Systems in Africa

From September 6 – 10, actors in the agricultural sector will gather to dialogue on how to change the status quo for Africa at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2021 Summit. All around the world, global leaders, researchers, heads of state, and several other stakeholders have noted with great concern the importance of food systems. This year also marks a period of recovery for the world after extensive lockdowns, high numbers in COVID-related deaths, and economic regression. In reflection of these key pathways, the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) has selected the theme “Pathways to recovery and resilient food systems”. Just like previous years, sessions and dialogues will be based on ten thematic areas including agri-investment & SME finance, youth employment in agriculture, and ag-tech & digitalization.

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