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In a world where food security is a pressing concern influenced by geopolitical dynamics, Agrico and SeedNL recently hosted the “Food Systems Transformation Symposium.” The collaboration aimed to shed light on the challenges hindering global food security and the imperative for a comprehensive transformation of existing food systems.
Ensuring Food Security: A Global Imperative
Food’s strategic significance on a global scale cannot be overstated. Disruptions, whether in the form of conflicts, import restrictions, or knowledge barriers, can severely impact food security. The symposium stressed the importance of inclusive and sustainable food systems, extending from the entire value chain to meet consumer demands, tailored to local conditions. This encompasses sustainable production, efficient storage, processing, market development, and distribution.
Achieving such a comprehensive system demands a well-functioning environment, continuous innovations, substantial investments, and collaboration among diverse stakeholders. Localized focus, coupled with a keen understanding of both formal and informal markets, emerges as a critical factor in successfully establishing and scaling up sustainable food systems.
Insights from Visionary Speakers
The symposium featured insightful talks from thought leaders in the field. Rob de Wijk, founder of HCSS, emphasized the geopolitical dimension of food, calling for attention in political manifestos. Bart de Steenhuijsen Piters from Wageningen University delved into the building blocks of sustainable food systems, highlighting the human-made nature of the food system itself.
Kenya’s ambassador to the Netherlands, M. Shava, addressed the inequities in transforming African food systems, pointing out that the value addition often occurs on the Western side of the world, affecting trade dynamics.
Policy Shifts for Change: A Panel Discussion
Following these enlightening talks, a panel discussion featuring Wijnand van IJssel, Myrtille Danse, and Roger Martini explored the necessary policy changes to drive transformation. The panel emphasized the complexity of the issue and the growing urgency for attention. Long-term vision, rather than short-term electoral focuses, emerged as a recurring theme in shaping impactful policies.
The symposium provided a platform for experts and stakeholders to delve into the intricacies of global food systems, emphasizing the need for sustained efforts, international cooperation, and visionary policies. As the agriculture landscape evolves, a shift towards long-term strategies is crucial for addressing the challenges posed by an ever-changing world.