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Innovation to counter food supply-chain disruptions and spur recovery
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: January 20, 2021 04:18PM

*Rome/Berlin -*Innovative solutions in agri-food systems helped
households and countries contain disruptions in food supply chains
during the COVID-19 pandemic, and more will be required to "build back
better and build back greener", FAO's Director-General QU Dongyu said today.

Innovation occurs on the technology frontier but also in policy making
and business models, he emphasized while speaking at a virtualhigh-level
how to help strengthen the sustainability of food systems and prevent
future pandemics.

The event was organized by FAO as part of the week-long Global Forum for
Food and Agriculture (GFFA []) in Berlin.
Other participants included Julia Kl??ckner, Germany's Federal Minister
of Food and Agriculture, Thoko Didiza, South Africa's Minister of
Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Jamshid Khodjaev,
Uzbekistan's Agriculture Minister, Christian Hofer, Director of
Switzerland's Federal Office for Agriculture, and Erik Fyrwald, Chief
Executive Officer of Syngenta Group, a leading seed and crop-production

Examples of innovation supported agri-food systems include green
channels connecting fresh food producers with urban centers, e-commerce
solutions deployed across the spectrum of agri-food systems, and
workarounds that have assured the functioning of food safety practices
amid widespread restrictions on the movement of people triggered by the
COVID-19 emergency.

Lockdowns made people more dependent on the digital business model, Qu
said, noting applications along the chain from "the farmer's field to
the consumer's plate". The point is to encourage efficiency,
effectiveness and agility in actions and responses across the spectrum,
he stressed.

In the wake of the pandemic and associated restrictions on the movement
of people and goods, FAO led a worldwide effort to mitigate potential
food price volatility and the risk of trade restrictions, organized and
supported innovative institutional approaches - including an African
Union Tripartite Ministerial Meeting spurring coherent integration of
the agriculture, trade and finance policy portfolios of Members, and
rolled out itsHand-in-Hand Initiative
[] the novelGeospatial Platform
[] Data lab

"Innovation isn't some theoretical idea - it's a reality," the
Director-General said.

Looking ahead, FAO'sCOVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme
identifies as drivers:  data for decision-making, social protection
programs, boosting smallholder resilience, empowering rural women, trade
facilitation and market transparency as well as the One Health approach
- promoted jointly with the World Health Organization and the World
Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) - integrating human and animal
disease strategies with those for protecting biodiversity and natural

FAO is also improving real-time tools, using novel inputs such as
satellite imagery to machine-learning, to calibrate and classify crop
prospects and monitor disruption risks to food production and trade.
That, and theInternational Platform for Digital Food and Agriculture
[], welcomed in last
year's GFFA ministerial meeting and now being set up by FAO, can also
help provide crucial support for Members implementing the One Health
approach as well as boost productivity in general, the Director-General

*The GFFA*

Organized by the German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture, the
Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (18-22 January) is one of the
sector's biggest events. It will conclude with a ministerial conference
attracting international organizations' chiefs and over 80 agriculture
ministers. The overarching theme for this year's conference is how to
feed the world in times of pandemics and climate change.

FAO organized two expert panels and its experts participated in others,
including two of the opening sessions hosted by the Committee on World
Food Security (CFS []), a multi-stakeholder
platform that develops and endorsespolicy recommendations and guidance
[] a wide range of food
security and nutrition topics.

CFS Chair Thanawat Tiensin participated, along with FAO Senior Economist
Andrea Cattaneo, in Monday'spanel
on the role of water as the primary medium through which we will feel
the effects of climate change. Challenges related to water scarcity was
the focus of FAO's flagshipThe State of Food and Agriculture report in
2020 [].

Boubaker Ben Belhassen, Director of FAO's Markets and Trade Division,
participated in another openingpanel
lessons learned during the COVID-19 emergency for resilience building
among agricultural value chains.

Earlier Tuesday, FAO hosted an expertpanel
how to enhance the resilience of city region food systems in the face of
pandemics and climate change. Some 80 percent of all food produced is
destined for consumption in urban spaces, putting a premium on robust
management of agri-food systems both in cities and their surrounding
areas. The event was moderated by Guido Santini, Coordinator for FAO's
City Region Food Systems Programme and core group member of theFAO Green
with the support of Germany is implementing initiatives in 8
the world.

*Need for innovation in livestock systems*

FAO's livestock experts presented anew report
[] opportunities for innovation in
livestock systems to tackle both pandemics and climate change.

The report notes that an encompassing priority is to make livestock
systems - which are often associated with GHG emissions, zoonotic
disease spillover risks and burgeoning use of anti-microbial agents but
are also critical suppliers of animal protein and support hundreds of
millions of livelihoods - greener, safer and more equitable.

The detailed report emphasizes the need for a robustOne Health approach
[] allows animal-health measure and
surveillance schemes to contribute to early-warning systems for emerging
pathogens, the bolstering of equity to assure market access for
vulnerable smallholders, supply-chain diversification and improved
cold-chain infrastructure to optimize incomes and reduce food loss and
waste, as well as land restoration, biodiversity protection, low-carbon
techniques and innovations in livestock feed and productivity.

FAO - News Article: Innovation to counter food supply-chain disruptions
and spur recovery []

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