06 December 2023
Food Systems Transformation event examines long-term vision for global food security.
POTATO breeder Agrico joined forces with SeedNL, an organisation that aims to improve farmer access to quality seed for potato and other vegetable crops, to hold an international symposium looking into food security issues worldwide recently.
During the symposium, entitled Food Systems Transformation, experts advocated for a more strategic and long-term vision on providing food security and the need for transformation of current food systems.
It examined the development of the entire value chain up to consumer demand, appropriate to local conditions, including sustainable production, storage facilities, processing, market development and distribution, innovations, investments and the cooperation of multiple and diverse stakeholders.
The focus was on what is needed locally and having a good understanding of the market.
Founder of HCSS, Rob de Wijk, spoke, among other things, about how everyone can benefit from food as a strategic asset and what policy shifts are needed to do so. "Elections are coming up. I have read all the party manifestos and in almost all of them there is no attention to the geopolitical dimension of food, while it is of enormous importance and a very complex matter," he said.
Bart de Steenhuijsen Piters, from Wageningen University, spoke about what is involved in building a sustainable food system.
Kenya's ambassador to the Netherlands Ms M Shava argued that the transformation of the African food system and the strategic value of food cannot be separated from the broader context. "The money needed to transform African food systems is not going fairly to Africa. Value is not being added at the place of production (Africa). The trade laws force us to add the value on the Western side of the world. That is one of the critical factors affecting food systems," she said.
After the speakers, the panel discussion with Wijnand van IJssel (Senior Advisor Food Security at Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Myrtille Danse (head of corporate engagement & partnerships at Solidaridad) and Roger Martini (Policy analyst in agriculture at OECD) discussed what policies are needed to bring change in this. The panel indicated that it is a complex issue and that attention to the urgency is growing. Answers are not simple, but require a long-term vision rather than the short-term focus often seen in elections.