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.

Mars and IBM launch Food Safety Project

Sequencing the Food Supply Chain Infographic
Sequencing the Food Supply Chain Infographic.

Mars, a member of the private sector mechanism we resource (, is partnering with IBM to undertake a ground breaking effort on food safety. It is estimated 2 million people a year die in emerging areas due to food borne infections. In the U.S. alone, one in six people are affected by food-borne diseases each year, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations, 3,000 deaths, and $9 billion in medical costs. Another $75 billion worth of contaminated food is recalled and discarded annually.

Together a food company and a science company will conduct the largest-ever metagenomics study to categorize and understand micro-organisms and the factors that influence their activity in a normal, safe factory environment.

Click the infographic at the right to see the full size version, and read the Press Release.

Multi-stakeholder Model

The UN Committee on Food Security is a unique multi-stakeholder model that has governments, research bodies, private sector, civil society and foundations all working together. It was an honour to be included in a video on the impacts of the reform. Please visit:

And congratulations to fellow delegates on their engagement including:

  1. Jan Dyer, Canadian Canola Growers’ Association

  2. Mike Michener, CropLife International

  3. Nico Van Belzen, International Dairy Federation

  4. Natalia Federighi, Yara International

  5. Charles Ogang, Uganda National Farmers Federation

  6. Barrie Bain, Informa

An Event Worth Attending

World Vision is launching “Advancing the Debate: Cross-sector partnerships, business and the post-2015 development agenda." on Tuesday, 10 February 2015, from 8:15-9:30 am (light breakfast will be served at 8:00 am) at the UN Millennium Hotel, Riverview conference room (28th floor), 1 United Nations Plaza, New York, (East 44th Street, between First and Second Avenues). The list of speakers includes:


Charles Badenoch,

Vice-President for Global Advocacy. World Vision

Panelists include:

Cheryl Freeman, Senior Director, Global Advocacy. World Vision

Ambassador Palitha T.B. Kohona, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN.

Gary Cohen, Acting CEO, GBCHealth

Louise Kantrow, Permanent Representative to the UN, International Chamber of Commerce

Other Representatives from UN Missions – TBC

For more information or to RSVP, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Real Resource Crisis - Peak Food

Increases in the production of rice have been falling since 1988.
Increases in the production of rice have been falling since 1988.

Would you be surprised to know that production of rice, the most commonly consumed grain in the word and a staple in many diets, reached peak production in 1988? I recently learned this myself after reading a fascinating, and very important, article from The Independent that focuses light on the subject of “Peak Food”. To be clear, the concept of peak food doesn’t mean that we have less rice now than we did in 1988, what it means is that the rate at which production is increasing has been slowing since 1988.

The repercussions of declining increases of production of many of the staple foodstuffs we consume cannot be overstated in a world that is projected to have a population of nine billion people by 2050. Our best chance of feeding a population of that size lays in increasing the production we harvest from the finite resources needed to produce food – land and water. There is simply not enough land and water available to produce the food needed to feed that many people at current production rates. This article,, is a must-read.

UN Stresses Need for Preventing Loss of Agricultural Genetic Resources

The need for the preservation and study of genetic diversity in agriculture took centre-stage during the FAO's Commission biennial meeting on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture on January 19.

In the context of rapidly advancing climate change and a growing global population, FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo was present at the event to stress the need for prevention plans in action specially to preserve agricultural genetic resources that will feed the world.

“In a warmer world with harsher, more variable weather, plants and animals raised for food will need to have the biological capacity to adapt more quickly than ever before,” the Deputy Director-General said. “Preventing further losses of agricultural genetic resources and diverting more attention to studying them and their potential will boost humankind's ability to adapt to climate change.”

One of the expected outcomes of this meeting, is a series of guidelines for integrating genetic resources into climate change adaptation plans that the FAO has developed in line with guidance from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The draft guidelines contain a range of recommendations aimed at helping countries to implement them in their policies and strategies.

A representative of the International Seed Federation attended the meeting to share the private sector views on this important subject.

For more information on Biodiversity for Food Security and Nutrition, check out this Flickr Album that FAO posted in 2013:

You can also have a look at this video Emerging, with help from our friends at Suckerpunch, produced for the International Seed Federation: Variety is Life - How the Seed Sector Protects Biodiversity.

Brazil: Lentils for Prosperity in 2015

Katy Lee shows off the lentils that are traditionally eaten in Brazil to start off New Year.
Katy Lee shows off the lentils that are traditionally eaten in Brazil to start off New Year.

Emerging’s Stakeholder Relations Director, Katy Lee, joined a Brazilian family in the southern state of Santa Catarina to see the New Year in with a bowl of lentils, which tradition dictates should be eaten on the first of January to guarantee wealth and prosperity over the coming twelve months.

Brazil, being the world’s biggest consumer of beans, is a strong supporter of research and development into pulse crops. In 2015, Brazilian pulse producer organisations will contribute as one of the 30 national promotion committees preparing for the International Year of Pulses 2016 with the Global Pulse Confederation. For them, the Year will be an opportunity to promote the unique value of pulses in terms of nutrition, soil health, natural resource use and of course... prosperity!

Farming First's Top Ten

Farming First has released a list of Ten Must-See Farming First Videos of 2014 that have gone behind the scenes at food and agriculture conferences throughout the year to bring exclusive expert interviews that dig deeper into the issues facing global food security and development. The must-see topics of the videos include:

  1. Rose Akaki speaks out for female farmers

  2. President of IFAD explains why money matters for smallholders

  3. Ertharin Cousin outlines the World Food Programme’s new approach

  4. African Union Commissioner shares vision for 2014

  5. New IFPRI report on best technologies for food security explained

  6. Concept of resilience takes hold

  7. FARA turns 15

  8. New report uncovers why smallholders adopt new practices

  9. Soil health creeps up global agenda

  10. Why do we need an International Year of Soils?

View the Ten Must-See Farming First Videos of 2014


Manyinga Working Group Sets Goals for the Next Three Years

Manyinga Working Group
The Manyinga Working Group, L to R - Richard Thiessen, Wendi Thiessen, Cam Dahl, Allan Ronald, Myrna Ronald, Jody Dundas, Robynne Anderson, Dorothy Murrell, Art Enns, Jennifer Karton (missing David Bossman)

Committee members Allan and Myrna Ronald hosting a meeting of the Manyinga Working Group on Wednesday evening, at which the goals and budgets for the next three years were the topic of conversation. The project is entering a period of transition, with ongoing negotiations with the Zambian government to assume responsibility for the funding of the schools. The purpose of the meeting was to identify areas of the project that would continue to be supported by donations and begin developing transition plans for those area that would be transferred to government responsibility.

Many members had not met in person until this event, and we are all thankful to Allan and Myrna for arranging and hosting the gathering.

The Manyinga Project supports two schools built to meet the needs of orphan and vulnerable children at Chinema and Samafunda, small villages in the Manyinga region of Zambia that has been devastated by multiple public health challenges and the grinding reality of poverty.To find out more about the Manyinga Project, please visit

Are Views on GMOs Changing?

Brooke Borel asks that very question in this post on Popular Science about a recent sold out Oxford-style debate on GMOs hosted by Intelligence Squared U.S. in New York. It is exciting to see what good debate can do and with the discussion and the movement in the audience it seems like it is possible to broker middle ground in the GM debate. The polarisation of the GM discussion is not good and it is a great time to think about framing the discussion in new, more constructive ways.

United Nations highlights: Just another “International Year”?

The Emerging team was present in Rome for today’s launch of the United Nations International Year of Soils 2015. We were especially pleased to hear from Morgane Danielou of the International Fertilizer Industry Association, who spoke on the panel to make the case for public-private partnerships in sustainable development, and a multiplicity of approaches to agricultural production.

The value of a UN ‘International Year’ was a topic of conversation sparked by the Bolivian government representative at the event, who felt very strongly that 2013’s International Year of Quinoa had a direct and positive impact on the production and export of the crop for Bolivia.

As pulse producers and traders across the world prepare for the launch of the International Year of Pulses 2016 here in Rome next year, today was a useful opportunity to see UN actors get behind such an initiative – from businesses, to the DG of FAO Jose Graziano da Silva, to NGOs and government representatives the world over.