Emerging Ag is seeking a Protocol Officer

We are looking for a dynamic and motivated protocol officer to be based in Rome.

This role aims at coordinating delegations of representatives who come to attend events that are implemented vis-à-vis United Nations Rome-Based Agencies.

Continue reading

Africa Biotech Conference 2017

The International Agri-Food Network is proud to be supporting the attendance of seven farmers and SME representatives at the FAO Regional Meeting on Agricultural Biotechnologies in Sustainable Food Systems and Nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa, which will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from November 21st – 25th, 2017. 

These seven extraordinary individuals are:

  • Daniel Kamanga, Director for the Communication Program at Africa Harvest Biotech International Foundation, a member of CropLife International network, in South Africa. Daniel has helped Africa Harvest to develop extensive media networks in Africa to facilitate the public’s acceptance of biotech across the African continent. 
  • Ruramiso Mashumba, Executive Director of Chomwedzi Farm and founder of Mnandi Africa in Zimbabwe, an initiative that provides skills development, market access, and agro-technology services, with a focus on celebrating indigenous grains. 
  • Francis Wanjohi, Chairman at the Agricultural Biotechnology Awareness Association in Kenya, a non-profit founded by agricultural biotechnology professionals to educate the public about the great opportunities in biotech. 
  • Bransford Owusu, a smallholder farmer from Ghana and a member of the Global Farmer Network.
  • Gideon Mugo Makanga, a farmer from Kenya and leader of Integrated Community Organisation for Sustainable Education and Empowerment for Development (ICOSEED), a community-based non-profit that works to enhance sustainable community livelihoods. 
  • Gilbert Arap Bor, a lecturer at Catholic University of Eastern Africa and manager of a farming cooperative in Western Kenya. He is also a member of the Global Farmer Network and frequently writes articles that are published in local and international media. 
  • Peter Wamboga-Mugirya, a leader at The Science Foundation for Livelihoods and Development (SCIFODE) in Uganda, an organisation that exists to harness the benefits of science and technology for development impact. 
Continue reading

Improving Capacity Development to Retain Youth in Agriculture

In order to feed a world of nine billion people by 2050, we need more people working in agriculture in all its forms. Despite the universal agreement on the importance of agriculture to our future, we are not succeeding in attracting young people to the field. While the reasons for this are many, we believe that one central problem in the context of capacity-development programs is insufficient attention to the creation and maintenance of meaningful and supportive networks post-program. 

Many excellent capacity-development programs for young agricultural leaders exist; a few inspiring examples have already been mentioned in this discussion. To the credit of those programs illustrated here, several highlight the importance of their post-program network. We see formal, committed networks – which, depending on context, might connect people in a particular geographical area; build relationships between new farmers and experienced ones; improve integration between various actors along the food value chain; provide fora for discussing problems and solutions across locales; and more – as serving many functions in supporting impactful young agricultural leaders. First, being part of a formal network helps increase access to investment and mitigate risk, since networks multiply connections. This fact is particularly essential to youth, whose individual networks may not provide the resources they need to begin their careers in agriculture. Second, networks, even largely virtual ones, help to satisfy social needs that can be compromised when one chooses a life in agriculture. They also provide opportunities for formal and informal mentorship. Third, and perhaps most importantly, active networks create an enabling environment in which partnerships between agripreneurs are born. Active networks can be considered in some ways as incubators for grassroots problem-solving of not only SDG2 but many of the other goals as well.

Modern technology can and should absolutely play a central role in establishing and maintaining networks of support, enabling knowledge sharing, and encouraging innovation. While having strong connections with other farmers and agripreneurs in one’s geographical area provides one type of essential support, the nature of technology provides a complement to local knowledge in the form of geographically diverse problem solving. Activating such networks is not only a key way to fast-track the implementation of solutions; it is also a way to clarify to young agricultural leaders that they are part of a meaningful global profession, not a lone farmer in the field. 

If we wish to celebrate agriculture as a profession that is modern, profitable, and cool, then farmers and agripreneurs cannot be perceived as isolated people hidden in rural locales. They must be socially, intellectually, and financially engaged with other farmers, processors, distributors, vendors, researchers, restaurateurs, and all food chain actors. Accomplishing this means investing not only in capacity development programs themselves but also in post-program networks that are productive, solutions-oriented, and specifically designed to meet young agricultural leaders’ needs. 

 

Discovering Oats in Mexico

On 9 November 2017, in the context of the World diabetes day, POGA and the Mexican federation of diabetes jointly co-organised a workshop and cooking training to promote the benefit of oats as part of a healthy diet for people suffering from diabetes. The event was hosted by the culinary school Colegio Superior de Gastronomia, the first gastronomic university in Latin America, and attracted 40 attendants including many young people affiliated to the Mexican federation of diabetes, media reporters and radio speakers. 

This initiative followed a series of activities that POGA has carried out in Mexico in the previous months such as the website – avenacanada.com - where Mexican visitors can find information on all the nutritional properties of oats, the Facebook page with more than 170,000 followers and the two recipes contests for which Mexicans enthusiastically created more than 180 new recipes based on oats and local ingredients. 

Continue reading

The Communicator highlights induction into Ag Hall of Fame

I am so grateful to CAAR for the role they played in my early career, and for their continued support. The association took a big chance on me. CAAR has written an article highlighting my upcoming induction.

Read the full article here

Continue reading

Is the #young generation ready to lead us into a sustainable tomorrow?

The perennial leaders who have used their experience to lead us are increasingly out of step in a world of grassroot and global movement spread by the digital revolution- and led by a new generation. 

The youth of today are leading the charge for better world and they will be leaders tomorrow. It’s time we provided them with the expertise and institutional knowledge to carry out the plan we’ve built to sustain our planet through 2030 – the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Achieving the SDGs is not an easy task, nor a quick one; it requires an intergenerational approach precisely because the actions we take today will affect the lives of future generations. For this reason, over the next 13 years and beyond, young people the world over will need to lead our efforts to achieve the SDGs. They will also bear the consequences of inaction, and as such have the biggest stake in the success of the SDGs.

In this, the younger generations have somewhat of a leg up on the current leading generations. They are technologically savvier, always ready to learn more, keen to activate new solutions and update their understanding to move the world forward. They are unburdened by bureaucracy or the mantra of “this is the way it’s always been done.”  But they need the knowledge, skills and tools that will make them successful.

So how do we prepare young people to thrive in this increasingly fragile, vulnerable world, and help them acquire the skills to achieve the SDGs?

Education about sustainable development is imperative. And it requires:

  • First, a deeper understanding of the critical challenges across economics, climate change, health, education, gender issues, human rights, biodiversity, agriculture, urban development and many other realms;
  • Second, the ability to identify how each Sustainable Development Goal impacts the others;
  • Third, the ability to take this overarching, global knowledge about the past, present and future of sustainable development and bring it to their own hometowns and local communities, taking global issues and translating them into regional, national and local contexts;
  • Fourth, combining theoretical knowledge with real, practical applications by acquiring practical skills of management, communication and implementation;

Universities are beginning to grapple with the complexities of teaching sustainable development, but traditional institutional structures and limited resources can make it hard for them to offer programs that combine all these aspects.

Initiative to educate and empower young people in a unique way will be required to reach our young leaders of tomorrow and prepare them for the future.

 

UN Signals Positive Role for Forestry in Food Security and Nutrition

Forests cover 30.6% of the Earth’s land area (nearly 4 billion hectares) and are essential to human well-being and sustainable development. An estimated 1.6 billion people – 25% of the global population – depend on forests for subsistence, livelihood, employment and income generation. 

However, the role that forestry plays in food security and human nutrition remains under-researched, and under-appreciated by policymakers. Very often, in the context of halting deforestation, we hear “protect forests, do agriculture better” – but where is the role for forestry itself? Despite the crucial contribution of forests to Food Security and Nutrition, deforestation and forest degradation continue in many regions of the world. Greater policy focus on sustainable forestry will help strengthen food security and promote nutritionally adequate diets. 

I wish to congratulate the United Nations Committee on Food Security (CFS) on having selected forestry as a key issue to work on as promoting sustainable forest management as essential to delivering the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

Last week, I participated in the debated conclusion of CFS policy recommendations for all forest stakeholders that will – when implemented – have a significant and positive impact on the forestry sector and forest-dependent communities. 

In my view, some of the key highlights from the policy recommendations were; 

First, investing in forestry research should be a global priority. Establishing and promoting best practices with regards to forestry and agroforestry will depend upon the availability of a solid knowledge base. 

Secondly, It is also fundamental that science-based technical support, extension services, integrated forestry sustainability programs are available to those working in this sector, particularly smallholders and forest-dependent communities. 

We need leadership on governance to ensure that the policy recommendation get implemented and advances reach those who need it the most. 

To conclude, I strongly urge member states to explore, and implement all available solutions for enhancing forest cover, and the private sector, with its experience, technology and knowledge stand ready to assist. 

The policy recommendation can be found here.

 

Registration open for UNEA-3: The UN Environment Assembly

The UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) is the world’s highest-level decision-making body on environmental action. The Assembly provides environment ministers, stakeholders, and experts from around the world an opportunity to come together to discuss environmental challenges and work on resolutions to advance climate action.

This year’s session, the third UNEA (UNEA-3), will take place from December 4th to December 6th in Nairobi, Kenya, on the theme “Towards a Pollution-free Planet”. The outcomes of the Assembly are expected to include a political declaration on importance of acting against pollution, supported through voluntary commitments to reduce pollution by governments and stakeholders. In addition, member States are expected to consider resolutions on issues ranging from marine debris to lead paint. 

UNEA provides a unique platform for dialogue on environmental sustainability and a number of activites will take place before and during the Assembly, offering additional opportunities for high-level engagement and discussion:

  • 27-28 November: Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum will discuss the enhancement of stakeholder participation in UNEA. It is a self-organized event by Major Groups and Stakeholders accredited to UN Environment, and will enable participants to share knowledge and expertise on the topic, as well as coordinate inputs for both the Open-ended meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (OECPR) and the Assembly itself.
  • 29 November – 1 December: Third Open-ended meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives will be the final opportunity before the UNEA for Member-States and engaged stakeholders to share progress of resolutions adopted in previous Assembly meetings, as well as to refine and negotiate new decisions and outcomes.
  • 2-3 December: Science, Policy and Business Forum will bring scientists, civil society organisations, policymakers and business leaders to promote science-driven policies to address environmental challenges, while focusing on the achievement of the SDGs.
  • 4-6 December 2017: the Sustainable Innovation Expo will provide a platform for the private sector to engage with government officials and to present and showcase innovative technology to tackle the world’s environmental challenges while protecting the planet for future generations. It is considered the Assembly’s platform for sharing innovative technology.

Registration for UNEA-3 is currently open. For more information, please visit: http://www.unep.org/environmentassembly/  

 

CFS44: Agriculture and Food and its potential to Achieve the SDGs

Throughout the Sustainable Development Goals process, the International Agri-Food Network has been engaged in the negotiations. As part of the Global Business Alliance, we have placed a priority on the 5 P’s: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership. 

The SDGs place People-centred approaches at the core of the development aspirations of the UN. Agriculture programs are needed that are ‘farmer-centred and knowledge-based’ so that the full potential of farmers, both men and women can be harnessed. Farmers need access to land, water, knowledge, inputs, and credit to grow a crop and functioning markets to sell their products. 

The private sector plays a central role in sustainable development and human prosperity and serves as an essential partner. In fact, a recent PwC study indicated that 92% of businesses are aware of the SDGs, 71% of businesses are planning how they will respond to SDGs and 13% have already identified the tools they need to do so. 

The Private Sector Mechanism with more than 100 delegates will attend CFS44 in Rome, Italy, from October 9-13 to discuss the potential of agriculture and food through the SDGs. Science, technology and farming are vital to advance the SDGs. 

I am personally looking forward to hearing from farmers, policy makers, private sector and researchers on how through trade, partnerships, and agricultural research, we can make advances in food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture 

 

Learn more about CFS44 here

CFS44: Urbanization, rural transformation and implications for food security and nutrition

Demographics are changing. Just over half of the global population lives in towns and cities, and absolute numbers of rural inhabitants are projected to begin declining in the near future.  

Policies and interventions will have to adopt an integrated approach to development, dealing with rural and urban regions not as distinct and isolated environments, but as part of a unified continuum of food systems. Policies should seek synergistic solutions in order to enable agriculture, not at the expense of either urban or rural populations, but to their mutual advantage.

The UN Committee on Food Security (CFS) has begun to reckon with this challenge, firstly by hosting a high level forum on urbanization, rural transformation and implications for food security and nutrition in the fall of 2016. This was an opportunity for policy-makers and experts to exchange views and discuss practical experiences on the challenges, opportunities, and positives outcomes that have resulted from more integrated approaches to managing these processes of change. Following this, based both on the discussions at the forum and submissions sent in through the Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition, the CFS created a compilation document of experiences and effective policy approaches entitled “addressing food security and nutrition in the context of changing rural-urban dynamics”, which will be officially endorsed at the next plenary session of the CFS in October. 

Both of these initiatives will serve as the foundations for the future exploratory work of the Committee related to this topic, which will involve the hosting of 2 intersessional events over the course of 2018. These events will help CFS stakeholders to assess the feasibility of undertaking eventual policy convergence activities, to develop a policy product which can be implemented into national and regional policy frameworks.    

In order to inform these undertakings, the Private Sector Mechanism (PSM) of the CFS has developed a position paper which presents a series of policy recommendations to strengthen food security in the face of a changing rural-urban nexus. These include:

  • Leveraging and expanding dynamic rural-urban linkages to ensure food security and improved nutrition for all.
  • Supporting the development of off-farm economic activities in rural areas.
  • Supporting the sustainable intensification and integration of urban agriculture.
  • Avoiding urban encroachment on rural and peri-urban agricultural land.
  • Engaging youth in farming.

CFS44 will take place October 9-13 in Rome, Italy to discuss issues and solutions to global food security and nutrition. The PSM will be advocating to ensure the above issues are recognized and addressed. Urbanization and rural transformation represent some of the most dramatic and influential trends currently affecting food security and nutrition on a global scale. Their successful management necessitates coordinated action and expertise from all stakeholders, to ensure a better future for all. Learn more about CFS here.

Learn more about urbanization and rural transformation here.