In a continuing string of virtual events, the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) is fast approaching! AGRF is Africa’s largest agriculture and food systems event. The summit is intended to be a forum that allows for sustainable and actionable plans to be developed which will help African countries continue to grow their agricultural sectors. This 10th annual summit will take place September 8th – 11th and bring together thousands of participants including government officials, civil society and private sector members, research fellows, and development partners.
This article was originally posted through Farming First.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on nearly every facet of life, and food systems are no exception.
On July 8th Emerging ag Inc, in partnership with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) hosted a Zoom webinar entitled Food Systems and Nutrition Patterns: Biodiversity, Resilience and Food Security.
On June 9th I had the great pleasure of taking part in the webinar "Agricultural Solutions to Mega Global Challenges " presented by the North America Climate Smart Agricultural Alliance (NACSAA) and Solutions from the Land.
The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us of the primacy of access to food for food security. The immediate problem has been access to food and the need for shelf-stable foods. Disruption at borders and supply chains will have a medium term and longer if there are challenges getting the inputs into the ground or the harvest off next growing season.
As we prepare for the Food Systems Summit next year, we have a great opportunity to reflect and set a path to the sustainable food system we all want for the future. As part of this effort, we must find a way to work together, instead of spending time propagating false dichotomies that permeate food systems discussions. Rural versus urban, farmers versus consumers, hunger versus obesity, food versus planet – these conversations ignore the interrelationships and the impossibility that any can survive without the other. We are all part of the same system. It’s about making different pieces work together for a diverse food system, capable of supporting nutrition, biodiversity and farmers’ needs.
It was a pleasure to work with Henry Gordon Smith’s team at Agritecture and be part of their timely Digital Conference Series available here.
Today’s farmer lives in unprecedented times. From volatile commodity markets as a result of natural shocks from weather, pests and diseases, to the climate crisis that is increasing calls for radical transformation in food systems, there is uncertainty about the future of agriculture. Farmers today must transform their thinking to effectively respond to the challenges facing agriculture and continue feeding a growing world population – and one that is also in a crisis. With the current challenges, the next agricultural revolution is imminent.
In 2010, I founded Emerging ag and felt then there was no need for an office and I’ve never looked longingly at conventional space. The virtual office approach has allowed me to engage some of the most talented people from around the world and all 20 of us really enjoy working together. So, in these times, here are a few ideas based on our experiences.
Multilateralism – a 15 letter word that is getting a 75-year anniversary. The United Nations hits 75 at a moment when the world should be most reminded of the need for peace, stability and cooperation. Whether it is the role of the World Health Organisation of the UN to help coordinate response to coronavirus, or the leadership of emergency response in the face of a plague of locusts in Eastern Africa by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, or the front line efforts of the World Food Programme in Yemen, the world is better for trying to tackle tough problems together.
Just like climate change, these aren’t easy problems. The UN is often skewered for being ineffective, but let’s be realistic, if an issue is at the UN, it is already a thorny difficult global one. It is a little like…
“Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…”
Winston S Churchill, 11 November 1947
The UN was born out of World War II. On 24 October 1945, 51 nations came together to establish the UN to prevent another war, forming a new organization for world peace. Today, with a membership of 193 states, the UN has evolved into an agency not only for achieving world peace but also increasing cooperation among the nations to tackle some of the world’s most pressing needs. The UN’s work today covers a myriad of issues such as peace and security, climate change, sustainable development, human rights, disarmament, terrorism, humanitarian and health emergencies, gender equality, governance, food production, and more.
Its hard to imagine where we would be with the discussions on biodiversity without the Rio Conference, over 30 years ago, when issues of sustainability were first raised. Or as concerning as COVID-19 is, imagine a world without WHO’s efforts to coordinate a response at a global level.
As it hits its 75th anniversary, we should all pause to be thankful for multilateralism. Without question, the world is in an imperfect place, but it is certainly better for having coordinated attempts to address its challenges than none at all. For as much as we see challenges, the world is improved compared to when it came out of World War II. Perhaps shoring up its most vital institution of global cooperation is the best investment we can make to regain lost ground of the past few years.
The rational reaction to increasing numbers of hungry, geopolitical conflict, coronavirus, and the state of our oceans is to improve the UN and be thankful for the gains made to date on women’s literacy, global poverty, and identifying planetary boundaries.
October 24 has been celebrated as the United Nations Day and is observed by member states as a public holiday. To mark its 75th anniversary, the UN has adopted the theme ‘2020 and Beyond: Shaping our future together’ and is planning to host the largest global conversation on the role of global cooperation in building the future we want. Throughout the year, the UN will work with partners to initiate dialogues within and across borders, sectors and generations. The aim is to reach as many people as possible: to listen to their hopes and fears; learn from their experiences; and empower them to think and act globally. You can be part of the conversation by following the hashtag #UN75 and using the Media Toolkit.
Ottawa, ON - February 11, 2020 - The Canadian Chamber of Commerce launched its Agriculture and Agri-Food Working Group today to support the industry’s ability to grow and reach new customers. The Working Group will reflect the Canadian Chamber’s role as the country’s largest business association by representing all segments of the agriculture and agri-food value chain from farm to fork across sectors.
The Working Group will initially focus on regulatory reform, international trade, and labour shortages as three key areas where our country needs to improve the business environment if we are to reach our full potential as a global agricultural powerhouse.