Robynne Anderson's Emerging Thoughts on Ag

Archived Posts

The Nairobi Network Soirée 2023

The Emerging Ag network in Nairobi has undergone an incredible transformation over the past seven years. It all began with a modest round table dinner in the Westlands area, a gathering of fewer than 10 individuals. Fast forward, on November 10th, 2023, nearly a hundred partners and friends convened in the middle of a Coffee Plantation at the Shamba Cafe, Loresho.

As I looked around the Shamba Cafe that evening, I was really happy to see proof that business connections can turn into meaningful friendships. The true beauty of this gathering lay not just in the diversity of sectors represented but in the shared passion in everyone present for revolutionizing Africa’s agricultural food system. It emphasized the integral role each stakeholder, whether a farmer tending the land, the SME Mentorship sessions or a policymaker shaping regulations, plays in shaping the future of agriculture in Africa, we can’t live in silos. Networking works and there is much more to come from the collaborations.

Reflecting on the journey in Nairobi, I can tell that the future is bright, and can only shine brighter. I am most thankful to the able team behind this success, the Emerging Ag Team Africa; Mumbi, Irina, Demas, Katrina & Steve. As the evening drew to a close, the rains started to pour, culminating the evening with showers of gratitude—a collective appreciation for the combined effort that brought the network to this pivotal moment.

Call for Side Events – Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit (AFSH)

The African Union, in collaboration with the Republic of Kenya, is organizing the Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit (5-7 November, 2023).

As a part of the Summit, opportunities are created for 15 side events over two days on topical technical, policy, and finance subjects related to soil health and fertilizer in Africa. A side event at the AFSH Summit is an opportunity to showcase research/development activities and strengthen partnerships/linkages with the Summit audience.

The subject of the side events should align with one or two of the following sub-themes of the Summit:

  1. Advances in monitoring soil health, land degradation, and agronomic performance and multi-stakeholder action for scaling soil health globally through evidence-based public and private investment.
  2. Soil information systems in Africa.
  3. Process for developing and implementing Country plans and Partnership modalities for implementation of AFSH-AP.
  4. Importance and benefits of integrated landscape soil and water management to optimize fertilizer use and soil health across agricultural land uses.
  5. The organic matter component of the ISFM equation: Challenges and realistic opportunities.
  6. Policy framework around fertilizer and soil health; incentive schemes for building soil health.
  7. Financing Africa’s Fertilizer Value Chains.

Deadline for submission is 20 October 2023.

Learn more about the application process here.

2024 Nuffield International Scholarship Applications NOW OPEN!

Nuffield International has officially opened its applications for the prestigious 2024 scholarships. If you are between the ages of 25 and 45 and involved in the agriculture industry, this is an opportunity you won’t want to miss!

The Nuffield International scholarships have a remarkable reputation for empowering individuals in the agricultural sector to grow their skills, expand their knowledge, and bolster their capacities. This year, they are offering over 12 scholarships to candidates from various countries, including Argentina, Chile, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Poland, the USA, and Zimbabwe.

Jodie Redcliffe, the CEO of Nuffield International, enthusiastically encourages all eligible individuals to apply, emphasizing that this scholarship provides a unique chance to make a significant impact in the world of agriculture.

“Nuffield International aims to inspire and develop individuals who will be the driving force shaping the future of the agricultural industry and their local and global communities,” says Jodie.

The scholarship program is generously supported by global agribusiness partners, and the Chris Reichstein Philanthropy Fund, whose philanthropic investment from 2014 Australian Scholar Chris Reichstein has made it possible to extend this opportunity to individuals in developing countries.

Nuffield International is looking for applicants who meet the following criteria:

  • Engaged in agriculture as either a primary producer or a professional working in the industry.
  • Aged between 25 and 45 years old (outstanding candidates outside this range will also be considered).
  • Eager to enhance their capacity and expertise through travel and exploration.
  • Residing in one of the eligible countries: Argentina, Chile, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Poland, the USA, or Zimbabwe.

If you know someone who fits these criteria, don’t hesitate to share this fantastic opportunity with them. To apply, interested candidates can visit their website here. All applications must be submitted before the deadline on 7 October.

Learn more about the scholarship opportunity here:

Celebrating the International Year of Millets: Nurturing Sustainable Food Systems

The 2023 International Year of Millets is a global initiative by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations aimed to raise awareness about the nutritional and environmental benefits of incorporating millets into our daily lives.

What are Millets?

Millets are a group of small-seeded grasses that are highly resilient to drought and require minimal water and inputs to grow, making them an ideal crop in arid and semi-arid regions. They are a staple crop in many regions, particularly in Asia and Africa, and are known for their resilience and adaptability to various climatic conditions. By consuming them, we can reduce the water footprint of our diets and mitigate the impact of climate change.

Millets come in a range of varieties, including pearl millet, finger millet, foxtail millet, and sorghum, among others. These grains are highly nutritious, gluten-free, and rich in fiber, minerals, and antioxidants.

The #IYM2023 Global Chefs Challenge!

This Year of Millets, the Chefs Manifesto is inviting participants to the #IYM2023 Global Chefs Challenge. The challenge emphasizes the versatility and culinary potential of millets. Chefs from around the world come together to showcase their creativity and expertise by incorporating millets into their signature dishes.

You can join the global community by sharing videos of your favorite millet recipes on Instagram and you might even get the chance to be featured in the prestigious IYM Global Recipe Book!

Get inspired by the Magnificent Millets Recipe Collection.


How Can you Participate?

  • Engage your families and communities in conversations about the power of millet to promote a healthy population and planet.
  • Showcase the versatility of millet in your menus, whether it’s in restaurants, hospitals, or schools, and demonstrate how easily it can be included.
  • Support smallholder farmers and sustainable agriculture by buying millet directly from them, especially from women and youth. By doing so, you can make a positive impact on rural livelihoods and combat the challenges posed by a changing climate.
  • Go a step further and forge partnerships with millet farmers, committing to purchasing their future harvests to minimize their investment risks.

Overall, the Year of Millets, in conjunction with the #IYM2023 Global Chefs Challenge, offers a platform to raise awareness, celebrate culinary diversity, promote healthy eating habits, and support sustainable food systems. By recognizing the immense potential of millets, we can contribute to a more resilient and inclusive future for global cuisine and agriculture.

Status of Women in Agrifood Systems

Status of Women in Agrifood Systems

Women empowerment is key to closing the gender gap.

“Closing the gender gap could see a one-off global GDP increase of nearly 1 trillion US dollars – which means 1% of global GDP – and the number of food insecure people could be reduced by 45 million.’’

FAO Director General QU Dongyu

If we are serious about food systems transformation and realizing food and nutrition security, then we really need to pay attention to what data is saying.  FAO Director General QU Dongyu launched the Status of Women in Agrifood Systems report. The findings continue to give the same message; food security, food systems transformation, social and economic progress will not be realized if women are left behind!

In numbers

Progress in closing the gender gap remains slow and, worse, the past few years have brought more significant blows to the women in the agrifood sector.  While agrifood systems are a more important source of livelihood for women than for men in many countries, the report indicates that:

  • The gender gap in land productivity between female- and male-managed farms of the same size is 24%.
  • Women engaged in wage employment in agriculture earn 82 cents for every dollar that men earn.
  • Between 2017 and 2021, the gender gap in women’s access to mobile internet in low- and middle-income countries narrowed from 25% to 16%.
  • While 75% of policy documents relating to agriculture and rural development from 68 countries recognize women’s roles and/or women’s challenges in agriculture and rural development, only 19% included policy goals related to gender.
  • The gap in food insecurity between men and women widened from 1.7 percentage points in 2019 to 4.3 percentage points in 2021.
  • Globally, 22% of women lost their jobs in the off-farm segment of agrifood systems in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, compared with only 2% of men.

Women empowerment is key to food security

The report underscores the need to increase women’s empowerment which is essential for women’s well-being and has a positive impact on agricultural production, food security, diets and child nutrition. Moving forward, there are great examples of what is working to close the gender gap. But we need to accelerate action so that these are scaled. The report notes that more work needs to be done to:

  • Develop gender-transformative approaches which show promise in changing social norms, are cost-effective and have high returns.
  • Strengthen interventions that address care and unpaid domestic work burdens, education and training, access to technology, resources, and childcare.
  • Implement reforms to close gaps in landownership and secure tenure.
  • Design extension services and resources such as technologies with women’s needs in mind. Digital tools and ICT have potential to close multiple gaps.
  • Enhance group-based approaches to increase women’s empowerment and resilience to shocks and stressors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.
  • Invest in social protection programmes which increase women’s employment and enhance their resilience.

Private sector taking action forward

I am glad to report that these pathways echo what has been the private sector position on gender. Most of these are reflected in the draft CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment. The private sector has been part of the process of developing these guidelines and we look forward to the successful conclusion of this process and adoption at CFS 51. There is no doubt the outcome of this process will be crucial to scaling up efforts by various actors, including the private sector. The private sector will continue to provide its support and work on the ground to advance gender equality.

Private sector is also keen on partnerships and is joining FAO in its commitment to further increase its work on gender equality and women’s empowerment. We are just concluding a FAO-IAFN jointly-led Accelerator Mentorship programme for women-led SMEs in Africa. The overwhelming response to the program shows how business mentorship can contribute to socio-economic empowerment of women. We received more than 500 applications for 50 slots! The need is immense, and we are seeking more partners to ensure as many women as they need this help can get it.

Privacy & Cookies: This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Privacy Policy
Close and Accept
Privacy & Cookies: This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Privacy Policy
Close and Accept