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.

Fertilizer In Africa Moves Forward

The International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) made a great announcement in conjunction with the African Development Bank at the Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa this week.

The Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM) is being operationalization this year by the African Development Bank.  Charlotte Hebebrand, IFA’s Director General, congratulated the Bank and its  incoming President, Minister Akin Adesina, who “was one of the architects of the 2006 Abuja Fertilizer Summit, and understands so well the importance of sustainable input use for driving agricultural productivity.”

Hebebrand pledged financial support from the industry to the AFFM, which should be used to support access to finance to strengthen the “missing link of the African fertilizer supply chain:” the SMEs who can bridge the gap between fertilizer producers and farmers. Hebebrand spoke of IFA’s pledge as one of the fertilizer industry’s contributions to helping implement the Sustainable Development Goals.

Read the full press release here.

The Road to Reduce Poverty and Undernourishment in Africa: How Investment in Research and Agriculture Can Help

With Financing for Development a hot topic, there are clear signs that investing in agriculture is the right thing to do. Globally, 842 million people are estimated to be undernourished. By 2012 alone, the number of hungry people in Africa grew to 239 million. The goal to reduce poverty and undernourishment by half is unachievable for the year 2015, and will require serious focus within Africa. Agriculture plays a critical role in African livelihoods, and the competitiveness of this industry affects the income earnings of the African population. My friend Richard Mkandawire co-authored an article which speaks to Africa's challenges in attaining MDG1 by 2015 and will be published by the University of Capetown in a couple of months. Richard believes that "accelerated growth in African agriculture, which contributes more than any other sector to rising incomes in rural areas where most people live and work, is essential to achieve Millennium Development Goal 1".

Read my take on this topic in the full article, which was featured on the Huffington Post.

Ag’s Future Lies in Information and New Solutions

The team at Farming First, a coalition I helped found, has posted a particularly insightful blog on the role of data, information, and precision agriculture. These are all areas where the Emerging team has worked extensively and you see their rise in production systems already.



Read the blog post Bob Morris: Move Over Cleantech, Agtech Has Arrived

Bioenterprise Corporation is Set to Open its Fourth Office in Halifax, NS

As a member of the Board of BioEnterprise, I am pleased to celebrate the announcement of the corporations fourth office opening in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This exciting expansion is a result of the two-year partnership with Innovacorp, which promises commercialization of agricultural technologies and innovations. Innovacorp is a venture capital organization which helps fund and foster Nova Scotia start-ups with a bright future.

Please visit http://www.bioenterprise.ca/index.cfm?page=news&coord=205#itm205 for the full news release.

 

OatMeals

OatMeals, the world039;s first oatmeal bar.
OatMeals, the world's first oatmeal bar, where they put modern twists on an old-fashioned favourite!

During my recent trip to New York, I had to visit OatMeals - a venue dedicated to oats. Of course, I ordered the Canadian - oatmeal topped with cinnamon apples, bacon, cheddar cheese, and a drizzle of maple syrup. Can't wait to see the owner speak in at the Prairie Oat Growers Association annual meeting.

Private Sector Mechanism Meets in Rome

Morgane Danielou, Robynne Anderson, and Katy Lee of Emerging ag
Morgane Danielou, Robynne Anderson, and Katy Lee of Emerging ag provide the secretariat services to the Private Sector Mechanism through the International Agri-Food Network.

Almost 40 representatives from organisations all over the world came together in May during the annual meeting of the Private Sector Mechanism to the CFS (2015) in Rome. Covering virtually every sector of the agri-food value chain, we had representatives from beverages, biofuels, farmers, fisheries, forestry, inputs, livestock, grain trade, pulses, processors, and grocery products.

The Deputy Director-General of FAO, Dan Gustafson, met with the private sector for lunch on Wednesday. Discussion was centred around improved modalities of engagement for the private sector with FAO, better communication and engagement with the private sector concerning FAO’s programming "on the ground", and increased opportunities for PSM members to be able to participate as observers and to convene side events at FAO conference.

More than 30 diplomatic attendees attended our reception on Tuesday evening at which Jaine Chisolm Caunt, the newly elected Chair of the International Agri-Food Network, welcomed the guests and invited special guest Minister Gustavo Infante, Vice-Chair of the CFS to bring remarks.

More than 60 countries, as well as UN Agencies, were reached during all of the meetings. The discussions helped to strengthen the foundation for long-term engagement and policy effectiveness at CFS and this year they were conducted in English, French and Spanish. Meetings with the private sector were arranged with:

  • African Union
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Austria
  • Bangladesh
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cote D'Ivoire
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • European Union
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Italy
  • Kenya
  • Latvia
  • Liberia
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • South Sudan
  • Spain
  • Sudan
  • Switzerland
  • Uganda
  • UK
  • USA
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Adesina Elected to Head African Development Bank

It is great news for agriculture to have Dr. Akinwumi (Akin) Adesina elected to be the next President of the African Development Bank (ADB). His passion for agriculture in his past roles at Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria and at AGRA, as well as his PhD in agriculture economics from Purdue make him an expert on the foundation of most African economies.



Marshall Matz of Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc. has written a great piece Why Adesina's election is important for agriculture for AGRA.

Post 2015: Zero Draft of Sustainable Development Goals

The UN has just posted the zero draft of the sustainable development goals. The goals and targets remain consistent and the co-chairs have proposed the long-discussed coherence changes to them. None of these proposed changes affect Goal 2 on sustainable agriculture, food and nutrition. The new material is the opening declaration and the section on review and follow up.



Please visit https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015 to read the Zero draft of the outcome document for the UN Summit to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda.


Robynne Anderson speaks in General Assembly Hall

Robynne Anderson speaks in General Assembly Hall
Robynne Anderson prepares to speak at the Interactive Hearing with Civil Society, convened by the President of the General Assembly.
During the Interactive Hearing with Civil Society convened by the President of the General Assembly on May 26-27, I had the opportunity to be the final speaker. The Post 2015 agenda will set new Sustainable Development Goals to create the world we want in 2015. My remarks on monitoring and reporting emphasize the instrumental roles for all stakeholders and the willingness of business to take up the new agenda when it is finalised in September.

Here is a transcript of my statement.

Statement by Robynne Anderson of International Agri-Food Network (www.agrifood.net)

On behalf of the Business and Industry Major Group PGA Hearing on Post-2015 Monitoring

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Good afternoon your excellencies,

I come from a family farm and am active in the agriculture sector, where as Director General of the International Agri-Food Network I co-ordinate the Private Sector Mechanism under the Committee for Food Security. I am honoured to speak on behalf of the Global Business Alliance on Post 2015 goals and the Business and Industry Major Group.

Of course, review and monitoring are essential to ensuring the achievement of these goals if we take the information gained to identify our gaps and refine our implementation efforts.

An important element of monitoring is to understand what we don’t know. We are aware that about 805 million people are suffering from chronic undernourishment. We are also aware that by 2050 the world’s population will reach 9.1 billion and that in order to feed them, the global food production must increase by 70 percent. This worrying issue raises many questions, including what if - in reality - many more people live in hunger and poverty?

A recent report published by the Development Progress project, has brought to light that 350 million people worldwide are not covered by household surveys. Taking this into account, there could be as many as a quarter more people living on less than $1.25 a day than current estimates suggest, because they have been missed out of surveys.

These people need decent jobs, the opportunities to create their own businesses, and can benefit from industrialization.

The private sector in all its forms – farms, small enterprises, family owned companies, national firms, and multinationals can contribute to achieving sustainable development goals. All of us in this multistakeholder session, are here to help achieve the goals.

I have had the good fortune to be engaged in the process from before the Rio+20 meetings. It is also my privilege to work with farmers, scientists, NGOs, and businesses in the coalitions we build and thus have worked with several major groups. Mr. Joshi made the point eloquently in his comments yesterday that all actors should be working together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

We hope that countries and the UN system will be prepared to be inclusive. Calls to exclude business from this process, in other sessions, seem out of keeping with the role business plays in employing people, in creating infrastructure, and in capital. In fact, every aspect of doing business whether on a family farm or in a big corporation can contribute towards achieving the SDGs.

To make progress in implementation, we will need to have an open-minded and mutually respectful approach with the political space for partners to report on results and refine engagement, including at HLPF and thematic venues like the UN Committee on Food Security. We encourage there to be a separate track for private sector participation as there is at the FfD process.

We are all here to work together and we need methods to do this now and during the implementation process.

Public, private, domestic, and international investments are all needed to implement the goals – as are stable, efficient regulatory systems, anti-corruption regimes, and rule of law. We, literally, can’t afford to do this without each other.

Through the UN Global Compact and 1000s of standards, plus countless voluntary programs, businesses stand ready to take the SDGs on board. Many companies and associations already gather and report environment and sustainability information and we encourage an transparency and accountability framework that will emerge here to recognize and work in synergy with those established initiatives.

For instance, the extractives sector (which was originally supposed to speak today) asked me to observe that: for them measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) is a critical component it must be done in a manner that is efficient and effective. It must effectively work with existing reporting regimes in a way that does not unduly tax internal resources.

That will involve immediate work after September to do “coherence check” (to use a term from the FfD) to capture the goals. As noted, this morning we need science to do this.

We do believe the reporting of all sectors on their progress toward those commitments is the best way to garner momentum for the goals. Governments, businesses, philanthropists (as we heard from the Rockefeller Foundation yesterday) all need to report and last week we heard the representative of Liberia talk about the accountability for NGOs too. We are all in this together.

Businesses need and want the opportunity to make their contributions: from the provision of data, to the creation of jobs, from good environmental outcomes, and to better social equity. All this must be done in the context of the context of rule of law, peace and inclusiveness.

Asking Questions

Our dear friend, RB Halaby, is featured in Giants of the Seed Industry at my former magazine Seed World. Shawn Brook did a great job exploring how RB’s firm AgriCapital has come to be such an effective advocate for agriculture. One of RB’s answers I loved was to focus on asking questions. No one person has enough knowledge to skip asking questions. We should all do it more.



Watch the interview here