Connecting knowledge for food security

Food Security11 Sep 2013Evert-jan Quak

Exciting news from The Broker! Together with Agri-ProFocus and the Centre for Development Innovation (Wageningen UR), The Broker has been selected by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to run the office of the Food and Business Knowledge Forum.

The partners will build a reliant and buoyant virtual place to increase collaboration and knowledge-sharing, research and innovation on food and nutrition security. Professionals and practitioners from a wide variety of organizations from local to global level will be invited to participate in the Knowledge Forum, with the aim of seeking answers and deepening our understanding of how food systems work in times of food crisis. This will entail rephrasing research questions and linking them more closely to other global, regional and local challenges.

One of the major challenges facing the world is how to feed its growing population, alleviate poverty and combat climate change. Nearly one-eighth of the world’s population suffers from chronic hunger and, with that population projected to reach more than nine billion in 2050, there are many problems ahead that will threaten the secure supply of affordable food. The solution is not only more production. We need to review the trade and investment regime, the way we consume (not only food but also other products that can affect food security), and the financialization of commodity, property and land markets.

From January to March The Broker worked with the steering committee of the Food and Business Knowledge Forum on the online consultation for a food secure world. This resulted in a final report of three articles synthesizing the consultation, which shed some light on many aspects of food security. The office, that acts as the secretariat of the Knowledge Forum, will continue that work and intensify dialogue, linking knowledge and finding new applications to secure knowledge development around a selection of topics.

This is a big task but we are looking forward to it. We will interconnect divergent multidisciplinary knowledge from start-ups to multinationals, from consumer organizations to rural umbrella organizations, from around the world. This will also enhance our overall mission of ‘connecting worlds of knowledge’.

So what exactly is the Knowledge Forum? The idea is that it will act as a dynamic and open meeting point, ‘the place to be’ where professionals, organizations and networks identify knowledge questions, are engaged in dialogues, share, plough back and deepen knowledge, showcase promising innovations, and nourish practice and policy. This should be done in such a way that knowledge and research products can be developed around new research questions, with the aim of contributing to a more effective knowledge agenda that is closely connected with practice and policy-making.

The office will facilitate and promote the activities of the Knowledge Forum. It will be staffed by knowledge brokers and support staff from the three partners, but will act as an independent and neutral entity located in The Hague. As we have just started in September and a lot will be happening in the weeks and months ahead. The Broker will keep you informed of our progress (website, public activities, a more detailed description of the objectives and scope of the Knowledge Forum and its initial activities) in our newsletters and on The Broker’s website and Twitter account.