Robynne Anderson's Emerging Thoughts on Ag

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Launches Working Group to Grow Our Country’s Agriculture and Agri-Food Sector

Ottawa, ON – February 11, 2020 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce launched its Agriculture and Agri-Food Working Group today to support the industry’s ability to grow and reach new customers. The Working Group will reflect the Canadian Chamber’s role as the country’s largest business association by representing all segments of the agriculture and agri-food value chain from farm to fork across sectors.

The Working Group will initially focus on regulatory reform, international trade, and labour shortages as three key areas where our country needs to improve the business environment if we are to reach our full potential as a global agricultural powerhouse. Read More

You’ve Got What They Want: Protein Market Growth Helps Advance Pulse Opportunities Globally

The Evolving Debate on Sustainable Diets and Demand for Pulses

The debate on sustainable healthy diets has recently gained momentum, and the pulses market stands to gain significantly as the evolving definition of sustainable diets strongly advocates for more plant-based diets for a healthier planet. While food and healthy diets have traditionally been discussed within the confines of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the subject is now finding its way into non-traditional venues such as the United Nations Environment Assembly and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which are now looking up to sustainable food systems as part of the solution to tackling climate change.

Non-profits including conservation organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), funding organizations such as the Wellcome Trust, and global platforms such as the EAT-Lancet Commission have become major voices calling for global food systems that “operate within boundaries for human health and food production to ensure healthy diets from sustainable food systems for nearly 10 billion people by 2050.” The EAT Lancet report recommends a doubling of global consumption of fruits, vegetables, and legumes and notes that, “a diet rich in plant-based foods and with fewer animal source foods confers both improved health and environmental benefits.” At the UN Committee on Food Security (CFS), the definition of sustainable healthy diets is evolving, and the strength of the benefits of pulses are leading to a discussion where legumes are actually called out in the current draft of the Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition.

The past few years have seen pulses gain more attention globally such that 2016 was declared by the UN General Assembly as the International Year of the Pulses and February 10, 2019 marked the first World Pulses Day, an annual event to celebrate pulses worldwide and continue the important gains made with the 2016 International Year of Pulses.

Consumer behavior is also shifting as consumer-based alternative food movements are on the rise and demand more ethical and high-quality diets. In a 2018 consumer trends report, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) notes an increase in the number of “flexitarians (those who prefer plant-based dishes with the occasional inclusion of meat)” and that the number of products labelled as vegetarian has increased by 25% and those labelled as vegan by 257%! Read More

Farmers Being Heard

Young farmers are moving agriculture ahead, and it is privilege to get to interact with them. One bright light is Karol Kissane of Ireland, a Nuffield scholar. The Nuffield programme really does have an eye for talent and selects future leaders for a year of intensive engagement globally. Karol has just finished his scholarship year and here is a fun video where he provides some feedback on the adventures he had:

One of the highlights he cites is the chance to speak in plenary at the UN Committee on Food Security during a discussion on the Decade of Family Farming. What could be more important than having farmers be heard during such a decade. In that speech Karol stated “Today many people have referred to family farming as the backbone of the economy in many developing countries, but also those who are suffering the most. Let’s help all family farmers improve their livelihoods, build value chains and on-farm processing, and use innovation to improve the sustainability of their farms.”

There is also a great series out by Farming First with famers talking about the effects of climate change on them, but also the measures they are taking to tackle carbon emissions. No one is better placed to grow more crops, manage soils, plant more trees or sync more carbon than farmers. The potential to move to zero carbon farming relies on technologies and innovative practices that will have agriculture play its part to hit 1.5:

Digital Agriculture: A Savior for Agriculture Overall

Around the world, the agriculture sector is currently in the throes of a momentous shift. Consumers are demanding changes in the food system; labeling and traceability demands are surging; and more environmentally sound practices are expected. Digital agriculture can be seen as the savior to many of the pressures agriculture faces.

As the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has highlighted in its latest Global Assessment, changes are needed at many different levels of global food production system to reduce hunger and poverty, improve public health, and reverse ongoing biodiversity losses.

The article continues to discuss the developments and advancements that digital agriculture could provide in achieving a more efficient and sustainable agriculture system. You can read the full article, written by Emerging ag President Robynne Anderson, published in Startup City here.

A Crop Whose Time has Come

This article was originally posted in the IPGA Pulse India magazine. Download the magazine here

Pulses have never been so relevant. Celebrated in the EAT-Lancet report and the newly declared World Pulses Day – peas, lentils, chickpeas and other pulses are riding a wave of growing attention.  For India, pulses are a timeless part of the diet, but in many other countries, pulses are part of a growing trend to focus on plant-based proteins.

What we eat sends a signal to the supply chain and the signal is about pulses as a sustainable part of the food basket.  While the discussion of meat lately has not fairly reflected the disparity in developed and developing countries, certainly pulses are part of a more sustainable and healthier future.  Read More

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