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.

A Crop Whose Time has Come

This article was originally posted in the IPGA Pulse India magazine. Download the magazine here.

Pulses have never been so relevant. Celebrated in the EAT-Lancet report and the newly declared World Pulses Day – peas, lentils, chickpeas and other pulses are riding a wave of growing attention.  For India, pulses are a timeless part of the diet, but in many other countries, pulses are part of a growing trend to focus on plant-based proteins. 

What we eat sends a signal to the supply chain and the signal is about pulses as a sustainable part of the food basket.  While the discussion of meat lately has not fairly reflected the disparity in developed and developing countries, certainly pulses are part of a more sustainable and healthier future. 

Continue reading

The Legacy of Pulses: #WorldPulsesDay

Thanks to the formidable leadership of Burkina Faso, the Second Committee of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted, by consensus, in November 2018 a draft resolution establishing 10 February as World Pulses Day (WPD). The establishment of this day will be a lasting legacy of the enormously successful 2016 International Year of Pulses. World Pulses Day is a new opportunity to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of eating pulses! Read the UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution here. World Pulses Day is meant to also reaffirm the contribution of pulses for sustainable agriculture and achieving the 2030 Agenda.

Continue reading

POGA launches Oats Canada in China

The Prairie Oat Growers Association (POGA) has started a project focusing on finding solutions to the phytosanitary problem for oats in China.  POGA launched a website in Chinese in November ahead of the mission that took place November 12 to 18 in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing along with the delegation of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Ministerial Trade Mission to China. 

China is the second largest importer of oats globally. Australia largely dominates the market holding almost the 97% of the shares. Canadian oat exports for human and animal use to China are blocked due to the absence of specific phytosanitary protocols. Therefore, Canadian oats products have only a partial access to the market, mainly as oat seeds and processed oats. Notwithstanding this significant limitation Canadian oats have quickly gained market shares over the last 5 years. ln 2017 Canadian oat exports in China had a remarkable 345% increase compared to 2016, which made Canada becoming the second oat exporter in China after Australia. 

A new logo “Oats China” was created and a new website was launched ahead of the mission. In addition, a series of recipe cards were created in Chinese.  As the project continues through the new year, we are excited to explore new ways to promote Canadian oats in China. 

2018 in Review

Happy Holidays!

As 2018 comes to a close, here is a short selection of some of our proudest accomplishments of the past year. 


The Outreach Network for Gene Drive Research launched

The Outreach Network for Gene Drive Research was created and launched this year with Emerging as its Secretariat. The network supports coordination among members, information sharing, and engagement with key stakeholders, in order to raise awareness of the value of gene drive research for the public good and of the need for continuous efforts in its advancement. Their work this year focused on engagement in the policy process for the Convention for Biological Diversity, which met for the 14th Conference of the Parties (COP14) in Egypt in November. An open letter was published ahead of the convention to discuss how research on gene drive technology can benefit environmental conservation and public health goals. Take a look at their website for more information on the work they do.

Target Malaria develops new resources

Our collaboration with the Target Malaria project is growing strong and we’re excited to be helping a group tackling such an important issue. This year we’ve supported the creation of new communication tools that support learning and understanding of the project. These include; development of infographics, factsheets, as well as a series of videos, such as one made to describe the mark, release and recapture process as it collects information on mosquito vectors in Burkina Faso. 

Emerging Team Retreat

The Emerging team gathered in Calgary, Alberta, for their annual winter team retreat. Together we were able to review our work, and had time to enjoy the Canadian snow!


World Pulses Day

On behalf of the Global Pulse Confederation (GPC), Emerging has been advocating for the establishment of World Pulses Day. Burkina Faso has taken the leadership in advocating for Wold Pulses Day. The government hosted a celebration on February 10, 2018 in Ouagadougou and around the country. Since then, the Second Committee of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted, by consensus, in November 2018 a draft resolution establishing 10 February as World Pulses Day (WPD). The establishment of this day will be a lasting legacy of the enormously successful 2016 International Year of Pulses. The draft resolution should soon be endorsed by the Plenary of the UN General Assembly making the WPD a Day to be observed and celebrated internationally. Learn more here.


Healthy By Design: How Products and Nutrition Guidelines Meet

On March 28th, Emerging assisted members of the Private Sector Mechanism (PSM) in hosting an innovative event called Healthy by Design: How Products and Guidelines Meet. This interactive, educational event consisted of a luncheon and series of tastings guided by members of the private sector to consider the challenges of producing foods that are nutritious while also being affordable, accessible, and tasty.





IAFN & PSM Annual General Meetings

Emerging provides Secretariat services to the International Agri-Food Network (IAFN) and to the Private Sector Mechanism (PSM) to the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS).

On April 6, 21 members of the Private Sector Mechanism gathered in Rome for the PSM Annual General Meeting (AGM). The group was honored to have the opportunity to meet personally with the Chair of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS), H.E Mario Arvelo, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic, who expressed his appreciation for the PSM as a vital mechanism within the Committee.

On April 6th, 11 representatives of the associations that make up the International Agri-Food Network gathered for their AGM. This meeting followed a week of activities that included the FAO 2nd International Symposium on Agroecology and an Agroeocology Panel & Discussion for Member States that was organized by the IAFN Secretariat, which is serviced by Emerging. 


World Milk Day

Emerging assisted the Global Dairy Platform (GDP) in coordinating global celebrations for World Milk Day on June 1, 2017 and 2018. In 2018, World Milk Day was a worldwide success again; taking place over 42 hours around the world with 586 registered events in 72 countries. Emerging coordinated a worldwide social media campaign that generated 868 million impressions on social media for #WorldMilkDay. The Global Campaign which included #WorldMilkDay, #RaiseAGlass and 19 other translations and local hashtags received over 1.1 billion impressions on social media.  Read the full report here.

ISF World Seed Congress

Emerging assisted the International Seed Federation (ISF) in their social media campaigns for the World Seed Congress the past two years. This year, the Congress took place in Brisbane, Australia with over 1200 attendees. Emerging was onsite to coordinate social media streams, manage live updates and conduct social media training to congress delegates.


SDG Business Forum 2018

Emerging coordinated the participation of agri-food delegates to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. One of them was Thato Moagi, CEO, LeGae La Banareng Farms, who was a panelist at a special event presented by the SDG Business Forum, on July 18. The event, entitled “A new era for responsible business – a conversation with CEOs” was moderated by Femi Oke, International Journalist and Broadcaster. Thato and the other two panelists spoke about how they are responding to the challenge of sustainability in their farm operations and their vision for SDG implementation. 



Investing in Reshaping Food Systems at HLPF 2018

In the context of the High Level Political Forum, Emerging worked with the Permanent Missions of Canada and Jamaica to the United Nations and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to host the Side Event "Investing for Reshaping Food Systems" to bring attention to the importance of investing in reshaping food systems to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and achieve broad-based development. The Side Event, convened on July 11, advocated for food systems that can help achieve multiple SDGs by 2030 – food systems that are efficient, inclusive, climate-smart, sustainable, nutrition- and health-driven, and business-friendly.



Global Dairy Platform at HLPF 2018

A number of representatives of the Global Dairy Platform (GDP) participated in the third HLPF, from 9 to 18 July, 2018. Emerging worked with these Dairy Ambassadors to information on the important role of dairy in delivering and implementing the SDGs by supporting the lives of one billion people around the world.


45th United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS)








The UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is the foremost intergovernmental platform  to ensure good nutrition and food security for all. The Committee meets every year at the FAO. Emerging, as the Secretariat for the Private Sector Mechanism (PSM), coordinated our largest delegation to date, with 180 business leaders from 40 countries, including over 65 youth and representatives of youth organizations. PSM members hosted five side-events, spoke in plenary, appeared on panels, met with the Director General of FAO, and actively met with CFS stakeholders. Emerging also hosted the High Level Dinner, which attracted 190  diplomats and senior business representatives who spent the evening discussing how to Engage, Attract and Retain Youth in Agriculture. Read the HLD report here.

World Pulses Day

On behalf of Global Pulse Confederation and Permanent Mission of Burkina Faso, Emerging hosted a reception on October 25th in New York to support the UN resolution of establishing 10 February as World Pulses Day.  


Avena Canada campaigns for World Diabetes Day

Emerging is working for the Prairie Oat Growers Association to encourage oat consumption in Mexico in order to curb the obesity and diabetes epidemics in the country. Emerging has been running a digital marketing campaign called Avena Canada, through a Facebook page and a website promoting delicious oat-based recipes. The Facebook fan page exceeded 200,000 fans. We run recipe contests and partner with local Mexican food bloggers to develop more recipes to grow a positive community of oat-loving foodies online!

For World Diabetes Day on November 14, the Prairie Oat Growers Association partnered with the Mexican Diabetes Federation and held a series of events focusing on the role of oats in a nutritious and healthy diet, including a culinary event held at the Colegio Superior de Gastronomia, a media event with journalists, a diabetes fair and digital promotion to encourage early diabetes diagnosis.

POGA China builds momentum

The Prairie Oat Growers Association joined the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Ministerial Trade Mission to China tto spark interest for Canadian oats and resolve a phytosanitary trade problem. Emerging joined the Canadian delegation and organized meetings with importers, traders, and government officials in Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Dalian. 

Emerging also launched a new Oats Canada website for the Chinese market. Check it out here.

International Symposium on Agricultural Innovation for Family Farmers

The 1st International Symposium on Agricultural Innovation for Family Farmers was held in Rome November 21 to 23, with the goal of unlocking the potential of agricultural innovation to achieve the sustainable development goals. Emerging coordinated a delegation of 45 registered attendees from 17 countries, including 9 youth representatives, and hosted several events including "Accelerating Innovation" and "The Future of Farming".  



Agriculture and Livestock in the Climate Change Negotiations

Emerging attended the 24th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), that took place in Katowice, Poland, from December 2nd to 14th, 2018. In Katowice climate change negotiators must finish the work on the rules and guidelines that will help countries implement the Paris Agreement and turn the carbon-cutting vision set in Paris in 2015 into reality. The meeting will also contribute to the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and advance SDG 13 (climate action).

Emerging took part in the global debate on climate change to find common solutions to the challenges that climate change is especially posing to agriculture production and food and nutrition security.


Want to learn more about our projects?

Or, meet all of our team!



Global Campaigning on Global Goals: North American Tea Conference

Last month, I had the opportunity to speak at the North American Tea Conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Global Campaigning on Global Goals: At a time when tea is benefiting from social and health trends, it is timely to make sure your promise lives up to modern expectations. The Global Goals agreed by the United Nations, known at the Sustainable Development Goals, apply to all countries–developed and developing–and provide the basis for social license to operate. The Sustainable Development Goals are the key lines currently shaping the global development agenda. As such, they are responsible for both directing and informing internationally significant ongoing trends and perspectives with regards to socio-economic and ethical issues, the environment, and human health. They have been agreed upon by the United Nations, and apply to all countries, developed and developing alike. Aligning values and practices with the 2030 Agenda is therefore crucial for any business seeking to make a positive contribution to the well being of the planet, and the people who inhabit it. This is doubly important in sectors comprising world spanning networks of trade, information, and investment, such as the tea industry. The vast and internationally interconnected nature of their supply chains creates enormous potential for progressive policies to generate exceptional achievements in combating poverty and myriad forms of deprivation. 

There are many Goals that are particularly relevant to the tea sector, including:

  • Goal 1 “no poverty”. The tea community has an important role to play in ensuring that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources and access to basic services. They can do this by empowering youth and smallholder farmers, and ensuring that wages and working conditions for all of those implicated in their supply chains provide a standard of living above global poverty thresholds. 
  • Goal 2 “zero hunger”. In an increasingly hungry world, improving the sustainability of supply chains, investing in agronomics, and diverting surplus that would otherwise end up as food waste to food banks can make a big difference. 
  • Goal 5 “gender equality”. Tea companies must put in place gender inclusion programs, and guarantee that women in their supply chains benefit from security, social protection services, and the possibility of maternity leave. 
  • Goal 6 “clean water and sanitation”. Businesses must seek to make their water use as efficient as possible, and crack down on wastage.
  • Goal 8 “decent work and economic growth”. This will only be achievable through scaling-up sustainable supply chains, including processing and packaging activities, and ensuring that appropriate labor standards are enforced throughout.
  • Goal 12 “responsible production and consumption”. This will entail businesses cutting down on food loss and waste at every stage of their supply chains, and investigating the life cycle of the packaging they employ, to make them as environmentally sustainable as possible.
  • Goal 13 “climate action”. Mitigating the impacts of climate change is a moral imperative, meaning that tea industry leaders must explore practices such as carbon off-setting and climate-smart agriculture, to attempt to reduce as much as possible their greenhouse gas footprints.
  • Goal 14 “life below water”. In addition to efficiently managing trade-offs in water demand between agricultural and urban users, companies must also seek to minimize, and eventually eliminate their contributions to marine pollution
  • Goal 15 “life on land”. Around 1.6 billion people currently depend on forests for their livelihoods. More sustainable forestry practices must be a key component of tea industry operations going forward, given that the tea drying process can use as much as the output of one hectare of timber to dry the output of three hectares of tea, and that tea plantations are often located in or around biodiversity hotspots.
  • Goal 17 “partnerships for the goals”. Finally, active engagement with the Goals and those seeking to fulfill them will be vital to any business seeking to make a difference. This will require a pro-active approach to monitoring and reporting on relevant economic, social, and governance indicators related to their activities and supply chains.

Each of these goals presents wonderful opportunities for the tea industry to prove themselves leaders in ongoing global efforts to build a brighter and more sustainable future.


Balancing our Approach to Agriculture: The Global Livestock Advocacy for Development

I have thoroughly enjoyed working on the Global Livestock Advocacy for Development (GLAD) project. GLAD is a two-year project working to raise interest in livestock-related research for development. 

GLAD distils and presents evidence on sustainable livestock and its development impacts. Since the project was launched in 2016, progress has been exciting. Recently, key livestock actors convened at several high level international events and engaged stakeholders in livestock advocacy communications. This engagement led to the inclusion of livestock in key global policy discussions relating to food security and sustainable development. 

This project has highlighted why we need to rebalance our approach to agriculture and value all its components from crops, to livestock, to horticulture, to agro-forestry, to fisheries.

Read "Enhancing global livestock advocacy for sustainable development" on the ILRI news site.

Learn more about GLAD:  


Celebrating World Milk Day Events

Since 2001, World Milk Day has been observed by the United Nations on June 1st. It was initiated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN to mark the importance of dairy. World Milk Day focuses on raising public awareness about the importance of milk as part of a healthy and balanced diet and as an agricultural product – in other words, with the perspective of a consumer and also with the perspective of a producer.

Continue reading

Tackling Childhood Growth Failure with Pulses

Pulses can be a major player in the fight against one of the most urgent global food challenges: malnutrition. A recent clinical study in Malawi has found that complementary feeding with cowpeas reduces stunting in children and improves overall gut health.

Continue reading

Respect: Advancing Women in Agriculture 

When you think about agriculture and food, women are involved in every aspect.  We represent most of the world’s smallholder farmers, livestock keepers, grocery buyers, and household cooks. So if women are a vast part of every aspect of producing and serving our food, why is there a dearth of them in leadership in agriculture? 

Continue reading

More Than Pretty Landscapes: How Canada Stacks Up Globally on Sustainability

Our friends at Real Agriculture took the time to interview me at FarmTech in Alberta.  It is always fun to chat with Shaun, and got to discuss how Canada is doing on sustainable agriculture.  It is particularly important since progress is being made on some global indicators that would allow more consistent and direct comparisons between countries.  I think Canada is going to stack up well.  Canada’s already made lots of progress on soil health through the use of conversation tillage.  Now we need to focus in on improving crop rotations and measures on biodiversity.  It’s great to see people already thinking about intercropping and other solutions to drive us to the next great innovations in agriculture. Onwards to continuous improvement!

Continue reading