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.

The World We Want

In my role as Director General of the International Agri-Food Network, I will participate on the interactive hearings at the UN in New York, together with representatives of non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations and other major groups. It was a thrill to be chosen from among 225 applicants. On behalf of the private sector, I will specifically participate in the roundtable discussion on “Follow up and Review,” to be held on Wednesday, 27 May 2015, from 3:00pm to 5:30 pm (EDT).

The full event will be translated live into the six official UN languages. It will be web cast live at

This event will provide an opportunity to exchange views and make proposals on the post-2015 development agenda at a critical stage of the intergovernmental negotiations. Visit to learn more about the challenges the world faces in 2030.

By 2030, absolute hunger levels are predicted to go down, both in real and percentage terms, but some groups, such as sub-Saharan Africans and rural women, will remain disproportionally behind. Global food demand is expected to rise by 35 per cent. The vast majority of additional food will need to come from increases in the yield achieved, or reductions in food waste if we are to reduce poverty and increase feeding.

Equator Initiative Partnership Calls for Equator Prize 2015 Nominations

This year, as a special contribution to United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP21), the Equator Prize 2015 will honor 20 outstanding local and indigenous community initiatives that are reducing poverty, protecting nature and strengthening resilience in the face of climate change.

The theme of this cycle of the Equator Prize is ‘empowerment, rights, and partnerships for local climate action'. Emphasis has been placed on indigenous peoples and local communities that are:

  • Protecting, restoring and sustainably managing forests

  • Promoting sustainable agriculture and food security

  • Advancing community-based adaptation to climate change

  • Protecting and securing rights to communal lands, territories and natural resources

  • Forging innovative partnerships for sustainable development

The Equator Prize 2015 is open to community-based initiatives active in all countries receiving support from the UN Development Programme, making this a truly global award for local best practice.

To nominate and eligible project, you can do so through their Online Nomination System by the nomination deadline, May 27, 2015.

Explore The Story of Agriculture’s Central Role in Sustainable Development Goals Interactively

In New York this week with a Farming First delegation to the UN negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals, it is a great time to look at the breadth of the impact agriculture has on all aspects of development, including poverty, resilience, and water use. This great new Farming First interactive essay "The Story of Agriculture and the Sustainable Development Goals" offers key information on the role of agriculture.

The essay also features a detailed breakdown of data relating to Sustainable Development Goal 2 which directly calls to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”, to inform policymaking around this issue. For instance:

  • More than three-quarters of the increased food we will need to produce by 2030 needs to come from increased productivity.

  • A warming climate could cut crop yields by more than 25%.

  • 10% of the biodiversity seen in 2000 may be lost by 2030, resulting due to infrastructure, agriculture & climate impacts

  • $239 billion invested over 15 years, in road, rail & electricity would yield benefits of $3.1 trillion by reducing food waste

  • Every $1 invested in agriculture results in a reduction of 68kgC of emissions.

Click here to get "The Story of Agriculture and the Sustainable Development Goals"

Farming First to Co-Host SDG Side Event at United Nations in New York

Farming First is joining forces with the International Coalition for Advocating Nutrition (ICAN) and WaterAid to hold a side event on how the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), nutrition and agricultural sectors can partner to deliver a comprehensive Post 2015 Development Framework and explore the feasibility of collaborative implementation, monitoring, and measurement of progress. The event will be titled “Multipurpose indicators: Linking WASH, Nutrition and Agriculture to Achieve a Comprehensive and Sustainable Post 2015 Development Agenda”. Event details are:

Multipurpose indicators: Linking WASH, Nutrition and Agriculture to Achieve a Comprehensive and Sustainable Post 2015 Development Agenda

23rd April 2015, 1:15 – 2:30 PM

Room 13, UNHQ Conference Building

New York, NY, U.S.A

Nutrition-sensitive agricultural interventions address both hunger and nutrition, and failure to address WASH issues can undermine both nutrition and food security. Worldwide, 748 million people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion people don’t have adequate sanitation. Poor nutrition during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life – from conception to a child’s second birthday – can result in irreversible damage to one’s physical and cognitive development as well as consequences at the community and national level. These WASH and nutrition factors – among many other issues – are root causes of why nearly half of the world’s population lives on less than two dollars a day. This is unnecessary human suffering caused by a cycle of poverty.

This side event will be carried out as a participatory follow-up to ICAN’s recent Inter-Governmental Negotiations side event titled Indicators with Impact: How to Measure Nutrition in the Post 2015 Development Agenda due to requests for a more technical discussion focusing on nutrition’s linkages to the to WASH and agricultural sectors.

This technical discussion will address effective, integrated approaches – including monitoring and indicators for measurement – for a post-2015 framework that will ambitiously tackle complex development problems. Case studies, reflections and opportunities for implementing such indicators will be discussed and assessed in terms of national ownership of the SDGs and increasing capacity through strategic multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Bunge and Saudis take Leadership in Wheat Board

The Canadian grain handling landscape just got more interesting. With the acquisition of a majority ownership of the Canadian Wheat Board, Bunge Canada and the Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company (SALIC) are providing more options and important equity into the handling system. It is interesting times.

From the press release:

G3 Global Grain Group invests in CWB

G3 Global Grain Group (G3), a newly established agribusiness joint venture based in Canada, has been named the successful investor in CWB. The investment of C$250 million (subject to certain closing conditions and adjustments) will result in G3 acquiring a majority ownership interest of 50.1% in CWB, with the minority ownership interest to be held in trust for the benefit of farmers. The transaction is expected to close in July 2015.

G3 is a joint venture between Bunge Canada, a subsidiary of Bunge Limited (NYSE: BG) and SALIC Canada Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company (SALIC). The new Canadian company will be headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba. CWB is a grain handling and trading company that operates a network of seven grain elevators in Western Canada and port terminals in Thunder Bay, Ontario and Trois Rivieres, Quebec. CWB is building four additional state-of-the-art grain handling facilities in Bloom and St. Adolphe, Manitoba, and Colonsay and Pasqua, Saskatchewan. Bunge's export terminal in Quebec City as well as four elevators in Quebec will be part of the transaction.

"It is a dynamic time for Canadian agriculture. As global demand for agri-products grows, consumers continue to demand the high quality grain produced by our Canadian farmers," says Karl Gerrand, CEO, G3. "Our vision is to establish a highly efficient coast-to-coast Canadian grain enterprise that provides stronger market access solutions for growers and delivers value to our stakeholders and the Canadian agriculture industry as a whole. We welcome the CWB team and farmer equity owners, and look forward to working together to build a new and dynamic company."

"Bunge's relationship with Canadian farmers extends nearly 50 years through our grain operations in Eastern Canadaand our oilseed processing facilities throughout the country," said Todd Bastean, CEO, Bunge North America. "The investment in G3 and CWB complements our existing Canadian footprint and strengthens our origination and export capabilities in one of the world's premier growing regions."

"Canada is poised to play an increasing role in providing food to a growing world population and in capturing a larger share of the international market demand," says Abdullah Al-Rubaian, Chairman, SALIC. "SALIC is committed to infrastructure investment in countries such as Canada, which are exporters of surplus supplies of high quality grain. The launch of G3 will enable us to invest in infrastructure across Canada, providing more market choices for Canadian producers. We are committed to G3's growth strategy and are excited to work with Bunge, CWB, and the Canadian farming community."

"G3 considerably strengthens SALIC's position as a global agribusiness investor," says Abdullah Aldubaikhi, CEO, SALIC. "The CWB opportunity offers an excellent strategic fit with SALIC's global agribusiness investment plans, and we are extremely happy and proud that G3 has been chosen as the strategic investor in CWB."
"CWB is pleased to complete the initiative to commercialize CWB and are excited at the prospect of G3 as our strategic investor. G3 brings substantial financial strength and extensive operational experience to execute on this growth strategy, and we are pleased that the farmers will be able to continue to participate in the commercialized CWB," says Ian White, CEO, CWB.

4R Nutrient Stewardship

Agriculture is under continual pressure and incentive to improve its use of resources. For two decades the fertilizer sector has been promoting ways to make sure the right amount of fertilizer gets used by applying the 4Rs – Right source, Right rate, Right time and Right place.

The International Fertilizer Industry Association recently released this neat infographic that illustrated these four principles to help promote their 4R Nutrient Stewardship Policy Toolkit (PDF, 1.5MB).

4R Principles of Nutrient Stewardship
4R Principles of Nutrient Stewardship

Ag Research Getting Focused on the SDGs

Having been working on the process to create new Millennium Development Goals, to be called Sustainable Development Goals with a strong focus on agriculture, nutrition and food, it is exciting to see the galvanizing role they are playing

In a guest post on Farming First, a global coalition for sustainable agricultural development, Frank Rijsberman, CEO of CGIAR Consortium outlines how the world’s biggest agricultural research partnership intends to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals, and not just the ones that relate to hunger.

You can read the full post here:

IFA Outreach in New York, 23rd-27th March

A delegation of fertilizer industry leaders from across the globe was present in New York during the week of the 23rd to 27th March for the latest session of negotiations surrounding the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. These goals are meant to follow on from the Millennium Development goals, which are to be realized in 2015, and will play a large role in setting the agenda for worldwide development policies in the near future.

It is with this in mind that the delegation of the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) conducted bilateral meetings with representatives from over a dozen United Nations bodies and national delegations. These proved to be an excellent opportunity for a frank exchange of views concerning the central importance of agriculture for sustainable development, and the role that private sector actors can play in alleviating poverty and achieving food security. The IFA delegates were able to have honest and rewarding conversations with those at the heart of the negotiations, and to establish and strengthen relationships that will be useful for a wide range of activities.

Hopefully, these efforts will prove to be a solid link in the chain pulling the world towards a more food secure future. This future cannot be forged by government actors alone, and it is vital that the private sector be able to engage with them in order to achieve sustainable agricultural intensification to meet the planet’s growing food and nutrition needs.

Reduce and Research, the Key to Food Security and Nutrition

From Reduce and Research, the Key to Food Security and Nutrition, The Huffington Post, March 23, 2015.

According to the WFP, "There are 805 million hungry people in the world and 98 percent of them are in developing countries." According to the World Food Program, hunger kills more people each year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

These sad facts are even sadder when we consider that an estimated one-quarter of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted each year. Halving that would save enough to feed the whole population that lives in hunger.

Food loss and waste occurs both in developed and developing countries. In the developed it tends to happen more at the end of the food chain -- on the store shelf and in the kitchen. In developing countries food losses are mostly at production, post-harvest and processing stages. This is largely due to the lack of infrastructure -- from accessible roads to poor storage facilities.

The Copenhagen Consensus Center has taken on the task of examining the costs and benefits of reducing post-harvest losses and their findings can be found in the report Benefits and Costs of the Food and Security Nutrition Targets for the Post 2015 Development Agenda. What really struck me were the figures on research and development.

The paper studied different scenarios to show that investment in infrastructure contributes to lower food prices, improved food security and has positive economic rates of return. Such improvements are estimated to cost $240 billion over the next 15 years, but will reduce the number of hungry people by 57 million, avoid the malnourishment of four million children and generate $13 of benefits per dollar spent. Although this would be a significant step towards the achievement of the sustainable development goals, there may be a better way.

The Copenhagen Consensus Center points out: "There is an even better food target: an extra $88 billion in agricultural research and development over the next 15 years will increase yield growth by an additional 0.4% each year. For each dollar spent, this will achieve $34 of social benefits. It will save 79m people from hunger and avoid 5m children being malnourished."

It seems it is time to get focused on ways to kick start R&D, as well as post harvest losses in the developing world. According to the UN-DESA, "During the last decade, global R&D increased approximately 22 per cent." However, public spending in R&D did not increase but on the contrary has been declining in highly food insecure countries. China and India, increased their public spending on R&D and have significantly accelerating their agricultural productivity. Fortunately, the private sector has been dedicating resources to R&D. According to USDA, in 2010 global private sector investment hit $11 billion.

Reductions in post-harvest losses will require large public and private investments in infrastructure and should be complemented with agriculture R&D that is focused on long-term productivity growth and food and nutrition security.

As we look to new goals for agriculture, we need to make sure agriculture is getting funding and that is breaking ground on research and post harvest losses.

Emerging Team Grows

Morgane Danielou - New Vice-President Operations

Morgane Danielou - Vice President Operations
Morgane Danielou - Vice President Operations

Emerging Ag is adding new talent to serve our clients in light of growing demand for our specialised services in issues management. I am delighted to inform you that Morgane Danielou will be joining Emerging Ag as Vice-President - Operations in May. Morgane has been with the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) where she was Director of Communications and Public Affairs. In this role, we have worked closely with her for the past 6 years in the founding of the Farming First coalition as well as the establishment of the Private Sector Mechanism at the UN Committee on World Food Security.

Morgane has a strong background in international development and communications in relation to the agrifood sector. She brings 15 years of experience at the service of international organizations (World Bank, CGIAR), NGOs, and the private sector. She has been a spokesperson for specific industries as well as business groups in international policy processes. She was also vice-chair of the Food and Agriculture Committee of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the OECD for the past 3 years.

Morgane's addition to our team will further position Emerging Ag as a leader in helping our clients tell their stories effectively, be visible in international processes, build strategic partnerships with global stakeholders and develop strong reputations and thriving businesses.

Morgane's bio is available here.