Our food security findings captured – what to read and where

Food Security17 Apr 2013Karlijn Muiderman

After our three-month debate on food security, the report with the main findings and recommendations is online. Over 90 international experts helped determine key challenges and offered answers on how a knowledge-based policy can tackle global food issues.

This is outlined in three articles. The first analyzes the recommendations on key global food security issues along the value chain. The second is on how public private partnerships can contribute to food security policy in a knowledge- and expertise-sharing development agenda. And the third presents recommendations for further research and policy. This article captures the three-month process and serves as an overview of the dossier.

Framing the debate

From December until the end of March, The Broker facilitated a dossier on food security. The core of the dossier was an online debate organized jointly with the Dutch Food and Business Knowledge Forum, a new knowledge platform initiated by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to find innovative ways to address food insecurity. The focus of the debate was the Dutch government’s analysis of food security, which forms the basis of its policies on food security and nutrition, and to understand better the impact of these policies on developing countries. The ‘Opening Statement’ describes this process.

The debate departed from two sets of questions. The first set aimed to understand what are the main global food security issues and key actors. The second set addressed whether the Dutch government’s analysis to tackle these global issues is accurate. Two articles support the questions to place the debate in context. The article ‘Our Food Dossier’ is an overview of current global food issues. It emphasizes the need to study the food system as a whole – from the inputs, primary production, processing and manufacturing of food, to distribution, logistics, retail and domestic food preparation – to understand the external influences and outcomes. The article ‘Forming Dutch food security policy’ elaborates on the Dutch government’s aim to produce a policy that builds on knowledge- and expertise-sharing in public private partnerships.

Recent reports on food security’ encompasses recommendations for further reading on the global food security concerns. As such, the debate divides into two phases, marked by the mid-term analysis article ‘Food for Thought’, which summarizes and analyzes the main findings of the first term of the debate.

What we found

The experts’ contributions to the debate generated valuable information for the Food and Business Knowledge Forum to use in shaping its initiatives and policy. The experts – international researchers, politicians, practitioners and entrepreneurs – shed light on what should be key strategies, and what should not be overlooked in analyzing and researching the best approach to achieve global agricultural, food and nutrition security. They contributed to the debate from many angles and in multiple ways: 40 people posted blog posts on The Broker, and there were 23 comments on these blogs, 9 comments on the Agri-Hub Rwanda, 15 on the Agri-Hub Uganda and several comments on closed LinkedIn groups. The article ‘Building resilient and inclusive food markets’ identifies the final key challenges facing the food system and the need to develop an integrated approach. The article ‘PPPs: listen to the farmers‘captures how partnerships can tap into the agricultural potential of local farmers, which was identified as best practice and a precondition for successful policy during the debate. Assuming a joint approach would unleash agricultural potential and strengthen the market, Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) have dominated global food security strategies. Finally, the article ‘From local to global: prioritizing food security’ elaborates on effective directions for research and policy development.

Participants in the debate:

Nelson Godfried Agyemang, Coalition of Farmers Ghana ●Judith Bakirya, Busaino Fruits Uganda ● Frank Bakx, ● Lawrence Bategeka, Economic Policy Research Centre ● Vivienne Bennet, the Liberal Studies Department at California State University San Marcos ● Jos Bijman, Wageningen University ● Kees Blokland, Agriterra ● Ferko Bodnar, Policy and Programme Evaluation Department Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs ● Heleen Bos, Rijk Zwaan ● Bruce Byiers, ECDPM ● Bruce Campbell, CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security ● John Coonrod, The Hunger Project ● Paul Engel, ECDPM ● Shenggen Fan, International Food Policy Research Institute ● Tagel Gebrehiwot, the Laboratory for Social Interaction and Economic Behaviour of University of Twente ● Emmanuel Dieudonne Hererimana, ● Ina Horlings, Rural Sociology Group of Wageningen UR ● Sylvia Kay, Transnational Institute ● Aad Kessler, Soil Physics and Land Management group of Wageningen University ● Robert Kintu, ● Alex Kyeyune, ● Diana Lee-Smith, Mazingira Institute Kenya ● Brecht Lein, ECDPM ● Stephan Manning, University of Massachusetts Boston ● Mainza Mugoya, Eastern Africa Farmers Federation ● John Muhimbise, Apex Business Skills ● Albert Mukundane, ● Stephen Mung’oma, ● Pascal Murasira, Agri-Hub Rwanda for Agri-ProFocus ● Joost Nelen, SNV Mali ● Juma Bruno Ngomuo, ● Stineke Oenema, Icco ● Gloria Pracucci, Transnational Institute ● Isabelle Ramdoo, ECDPM ● Francesco Rampa, ECDPM ● Vanaja Ramprasad, ● Claudia Ranaboldo, Latin-American Center for Rural Development ● Coen Ritsema, Soil Physics and Land Management group of Wageningen University ● Ruerd Ruben, Policy and Programme Evaluation Department Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs ● Morrison Rwakakamba, Agency for Transformation ● Charles Rwebembera, ● Charles Rwebembera, ● Albin Ruto Sang, ● Ian Sayers, International Trade Centre ● Claudio Shuftan, People’s Health Movement ● Tim Siegenbeek van Heukelom, Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney ● Roel Snelder, AgriPro-Focus ● David Sogge, ● Petra Spliethoff, Centre for Development Innovation Wageningen-UR ● S.E. Tesha, ● Bahat Kandidussi Tweve, ● Bob van der Bijl, the Netherlands-African Business Council ● Tom van der Lee, Oxfam Novib ● Albertien van der Veen, ● Jasper van Teeffelen, Evert Vermeer Foundation ● Fantahun Wakie Birhanu, SNV Ethiopia ● Trevor Robert wasswa, ● Andy Wehkamp, ● Paul Wolvekamp, Both Ends ● Marco Wopereis, AfricaRice ● Myra Wopereis-Pura, Consultant