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Talent Development in Agriculture – Growing Ambitions for Food

IAFN Talent Development in Ag_Banner

The third International Conference on Financing for Development recently concluded in Addis Ababa with significant outcomes and much media exposure. The Addis Accord is supposed to be a stepping stone for a new global action agenda for financing sustainable development and a major contribution to the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in September in New York.

One of our clients, the International Agri-Food Network (IAFN), was hosting with five partners a side-event on Talent Development in Agriculture. It was fascinating to see how central agriculture was during the entire conference in the Ethiopian capital. No less than 17 side-events focused on agriculture, food security, and nutrition took place over the course of the 4 days. For a detailed review of the Accord and the role of agriculture, please see my colleague Isabelle Coche’s blog post.

The side-event was moderated by Robson Mutandi, Country Programme Director, Angola & Mozambique at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). In his opening remarks Mr Mutandi pointed at the role of agriculture as a force of economic growth representing close to 40% of the global workforce and as the world’s largest provider of jobs. Agriculture employs over 1.3 billion people. “To transform agriculture into a more productive, sustainable, competitive, and efficient sector, demands modern knowledge and skill transfer to develop talent in agriculture”, he noted.

The International Agri-Food Network shared its recently launched Call to Action on Talent Development. Given the critical need to attract and train a new generation of farmers, farm leaders, agribusiness workers and managers, a coalition of interested partners have brought in front of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) a call to action “Growing Ambitions for Agricultural Professionals” to define strategies for improving talent development systems in agriculture. The CFS will be holding a special event on October 15th in Rome on “Developing the knowledge, skills and talent of youth to further food security and nutrition”. This interactive discussion will bring lessons learned and potential policy implications in how to develop the knowledge, skills and talent of youth. CFS is also encouraging youth to pitch their ideas for making agriculture more attractive to young talent through a new initiative, the CFS 42 Youth for Food Security and Nutrition (Y4FSN) Idea Incubator.

Ahead of these events, the coalition developed its call to action and focused on 5 key areas that have been identified to work on progressive goals and innovative partnerships. The side-event’s five speakers shared important messages related to the call to action, such as:

  • Up-skilling and re-tooling of the current agricultural workforce.
  • Retaining people with skills.
  • Attracting new personnel and expanding the range of career opportunities available in the agriculture-food-nutrition-environment nexus.
  • Creating incentives and campaigns that encourage young people to see agriculture as a one of the best options for a career choice.

Daniel Gad is the CEO of Omega Farms in Ethiopia, Member of World Farmers Organisation (WFO) and spoke on “Agropreneurs: Youthful Future in Africa”.

Lawrence Ndambuki Muli is Programmes and Policy Advisor at the African Observatory for Policy Practice and Youth Studies and spoke on “Consolidating Finance for Africa’s Youth in Agro-Value Chains”

Divine Ntiokam is Global Youth Digital Advocate for Post-2015 Development Agenda and Founder, Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN) and spoke on “Mobilizing Finance for Mainstreaming Women and Youth in Climate-Smart Agriculture”

Shaan Mavani is Team Leader, Analytics Team at the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), Government of Ethiopia and spoke on “ATA’s Analytics Team: Young Graduates Providing Analytical Support to the Agri-Food Sector”

Tip O’Neill is CEO of International Raw Materials (IRM) and member of the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) and spoke on “The role of Business in Promoting Talent Development in Agriculture, Experiences from IRM”

Organising Partners:

  • Young Professionals in Agricultural Research and Development (YPARD)
  • International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD);
  • African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS)
  • Global Forum for Agricultural Research Services (GFRAS)
  • Tropical Agriculture Platform
  • International Agri Food Network (IAFN)


Morgane Danielou

Morgane has been working in international development and communications in relation to the agrifood sector for the past 15 years. She has worked for international organizations, NGOs, and the private sector. She has been a spokesperson for specific industries as well as business groups in international policy processes. For two years, she was the private sector representative at the UN Committee on World Food Security where she helped found the Private Sector Mechanism. She was also vice-chair of the Food and Agriculture Committee of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the OECD. Morgane is passionate about building engagement with diverse stakeholders and representing civil society in United Nations processes and agencies. She has a strong background in corporate and digital communications.

Prior to joining Emerging Ag, Morgane was Director of Communications at the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA). During her time at IFA, she co-chaired the Farming First coalition. She also worked for the World Bank and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). She has conducted fieldwork in Latin America and Africa. A French national, Morgane is fluent in French, English, Portuguese and Spanish. She holds a Master of Science in Development Studies from the London School of Economics, an MBA from the Sorbonne Graduate Business School, a BA in History from the Sorbonne University and a BA in Chinese from the International Institute of Oriental Languages.

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