"Extreme is the new normal"

As the climate changes, the population of Africa is growing and fertile land and jobs are becoming scarcer. New ways are currently leading to urbanisation of agriculture and a new mid-sized sector in the countryside

Thunderstorm in Angola © Christoph Püschner/Brot für die Welt

By Alexander Müller

Alexander Müller

Alexander Müller, a graduate sociologist, is the head of a global study of the UN Environment Program on "The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Agriculture and Food" and CEO of "TMG - Töpfer, Müller, Gaßner GmbH, ThinkTankforSustainabilty".

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By Jes Weigelt

Jes Weigelt is Head of Programmes at TMG Research gGmbH, the research wing of TMG. Töpfer, Müller, Gassner. ThinkTank for Sustainability. He tweets at @jes_tmg.

 

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TMG – ThinkTankforSustainabilty

GIZ

Since 1961, average annual temperatures in Africa have been rising as a result of the rising concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This increase is mainly due to the past and ongoing emissions of the industrialised countries. The consequences of this anthropogenic climate can already be observed on a regional and local level, for example in the variability of precipitation, and the forecasts are bleak. In its 5th assessment report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that corn yields in many sub-Saharan countries will fall by more than 20 percent - and maize is the central food source there. Forecasts by the Intergovernmental Science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) predict that the productivity of African lakes will be reduced by 20 to 30 percent by the year 2100, which means that animal and plant biodiversity will decline sharply. It is only vaguely clear to what extent the resulting loss of ecosystem services will affect agriculture and rural development opportunities. What is undisputed, however, is that climate change will exacerbate existing challenges to food security and rural development and must be considered as an amplifier to the major challenges that already exist.

 

These tasks will become all the more challenging if the internationally agreed goal of limiting average global warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius is reduced. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) presented so far will still lead to a temperature increase of around 3 degrees Celsius. There is consensus among scientists that temperatures in Africa are rising faster than the global average. Christoph Müller from the German Development Institute in Bonn provides the factor 1.5. That would mean a temperature increase of 4.5 degrees Celsius in Africa.

Adapting to climate change in Africa and resilience strategies (i.e. the ability to cope with crises) will be key tasks in the coming years. Climate change increases the vulnerability of people, especially the poor. This requires appropriate measures for shaping rural structural change and coping with massive urbanisation. This can only be accomplished by approaching rural development and urbanisation in new ways. Innovative forms of cooperation will be needed to secure food provision and maximise employment without overburdening natural resources.

 

We find it very important not to analyse these challenges individually, but rather in their complex interaction and, more importantly, with joint solution strategies in mind.

 

Development Trends

Climate change coincides with long-term trends, which must be understood as a framework for action over the next decades.

 

Population Growth and Urbanisation

Based on the so-called median population forecast, the population of Africa will increase from 1.5 billion today to more than 4 billion by 2100. This means that by 2050 an additional 1 billion people will need to be fed.

 

With an urbanisation rate of 40 percent, the population of Africa lives predominantly in rural areas. At the same time, the urban population is growing at a faster rate by global comparison. For that reason, the United Nations expects an urbanisation rate of 56 percent by 2050.

 

Need for Jobs

As the population grows, so will the demand for jobs. According to the African Development Bank, the number of young Africans aged 15-35 will double to more than 830 million by 2050. Of the 415 million young people in Africa today, one third are already without formal employment, one third in so-called precarious employment relationships and only one sixth have regular employment. And while 10 to 12 million young people enter the labour market every year, just under 3.1 million new jobs are created. The challenge also affects the entire education system. How many schools and universities need to be built and run, how many apprenticeships should there be outside the universities, how can equal opportunities be created for girls and boys in education to prepare for sustainable jobs? And what economic dynamism is needed to provide employment, income and a future for the graduates?

 

Malnutrition and Undernourishment

According to "The State of Food Security and Nutrition 2017", the number of starving people worldwide has been rising again since 2014. While there were around 900 million people starving in 2000, the number had fallen to 775 million in 2013, and has since risen to 815 million. The percentage of starving people in the total population also fell from 14.7 per cent in 2000 to 10.6 per cent in 2015, but has since risen again slightly. In sub-Saharan Africa, the absolute number of starving people has increased from 178 million in 2000 to 224 million in 2016.

 

 

 

At the same time, overweight and morbid obesity are on the rise worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that new cases of diabetes in Africa have increased from 3.1 per cent in 1980 to 7.1 per cent in 2014. The absolute number of people with diabetes has increased from 4 million to 25 million.

Scarcity and Loss of Fertile Land

According to estimates by the Intergovernmental Science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), approximately 500,000 square kilometres of land in Africa are already degraded by over-exploitation, erosion, salinization and pollution. According to the "Economics of Land Degradation" initiative, Africa could produce around 280 million metric tonnes more grain if it were able to stop the effects of man-made soil erosion. Overall, the initiative estimates that simply continuing to do things the same way and thus neglecting to take measures against the loss of fertile soil would reduce Africa's gross national product by 12 percent.

 

Complex Problems Require Systemic Answers

Sustainable food security strategies are needed in sub-Saharan Africa, covering both rural and urban areas. Focusing on either rural areas or cities alone will not sufficiently counteract the dynamic urbanisation and population growth rates. At the same time, strategies need to be differentiated to meet the individual needs and opportunities of vulnerable groups. As tempting as it is to solelyfocus on budgets, which are already positionedto become part of agri-economic growth strategies with market-based approaches, such an approach will not contribute to overcoming structural barriers to rural development. 

To avoid misunderstandings: These considerations are not aimed at stopping rural structural change. But even households without secure food resources must be successively bettered instead of pushing them further to the brink of poverty.

 

Taking the identified trends into consideration, three investment areas will be discussed here, which exemplify networked response strategies and which will play an important role in dealing with the challenges.

 

Urban Agriculture in Controlled Environments:

The high urbanisation rate and undernourishment among the urban middle class and poor populations highlights the importance of fresh food production in the cities. The image of the "prosumer", i.e. a person that is both producer and consumer of fresh agricultural products, is becoming increasingly important in cities as well. Creating jobs and improving nutrition go hand in hand. Food production in cities will take place in controlled environments, ranging from urban gardening to high-tech solutions that will allow production without pesticides. In combination with the increasing competitiveness of renewable energies, new forms of food production will become possible and necessary in the face of climate change and climate variability. This type of production is also an adaptation to climate change.

 

Creating a Framework for Ecosystem-Based Adaptation

Agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa will have to face increasing climate variability in the future. Heavy rain and prolonged periods of drought are just examples of climate extremes that will be the new normal due to climate change. Pilot projects have shown that successful ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change is possible through adaptation measures that are based on the proper use and protection of ecosystem services. These projects stand in contrast to pure infrastructure measures such as the construction of dams. Following the successful implementation of pilot projects, it is now necessary to create the framework for up-scaling, i.e. applying them on a larger scale. Thus, an ecosystem-based adaptation approach will become more "political" as issues of land use and land rights will become more prominent. Another challenge lies in how to design adapted financing systems for the preservation of ecosystems that allow both initial and long-term investments.

 

Designing Structural Change to be Active: SME Policies and "Responsive Service Systems"

 In the foreseeable future, insufficient jobs will be created in the service industry or in industrial production. The creation of new jobs in rural areas will therefore have to mainly focus on agriculture and the corresponding upstream and downstream sectors. For example, market-oriented companies can increasingly focus on specialised products, opening up new market opportunities for households with unsteady income and nutrition. A central component of food security strategies are responsive service systems that explicitly support such families. Agricultural production under the conditions of climate change will require even more intensive expertise. In many cases, households in sub-Saharan Africa with unsecured food availability often do not have access to agricultural advisory services and the necessary inputs. This means that the focus of demand-driven guidance systems must be on mixed counselling systems with content that is adapted and made available to vulnerable groups in an appropriate way.

 

Breaking New Ground!

The question is how solution strategies can be developed, tested and scaled up when faced with the size of the tasks, the time constraints and the complexity.

 

The 2030 Agenda and the adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement open up the possibility for nations to agree on development priorities. And they open up the opportunity for citizens to hold their governments accountable. This means that the follow-up and review processes established in these agreements are very important. They must be structured and implemented both globally and nationally.

 

The search for solution strategies involves research that uses the need for action by political leaders and civil societies as a point of reference and challenges them critically. Care must also be taken to ensure that these solution strategies do not involve the externalisation of problems and thus make it even more difficult to tackle the other challenges. An example of how to analyse such externalities in the food supply system is the TEEBAgriFood initiative, which proposes a systematic framework for analysis.

 

Such solution strategies must be rights-based. In its report "Governance and the Law", the World Bank has set out that elites influence the process of policy formulation. Measures for the implementation of economic, social and cultural human rights are a central element to counteract this influence. This includes increasing the accountability of political leaders.

 

The solutions outlined above require alliances for change to be implemented. Development policy concepts and strategies must therefore highlight commonalities instead of getting lost in limitation issues. 

 

But this overview also shows Germany's global responsibility. Initially, this concerns the contributions to the achievement of the German and European climate targets. Failure to achieve these targets does not only have political implications, but also a direct impact on our neighbours and their stability. This overview also shows that development policy and its partners should focus significantly on giving marginal populations a voice in the transformation processes.

 

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Do we have to dare a new food system?

A contribution by Dr. Felix zu Löwenstein (BÖLW)

Lack of seasonal workers and virus explosion in slaughterhouses, rising vegetable prices, climate crisis – all this demonstrates: Our food system is highly productive and (at least for the rich inhabitants of planet earth) guarantees an unprecedented rich and steady food supply - but it is not resilient.

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Video diaries in the days of Corona: Voices from the ground

A contribution by Sarah D´haen & Alexander Müller, Louisa Nelle, Bruno St. Jaques, Sarah Kirangu-Wissler and Matteo Lattanzi (TMG)

Young farmers’ insights on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on food systems in Sub-Saharan Africa @CovidFoodFuture and video diaries from Nairobi’s informal settlements.

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(c) Klara Palatova/WFP

A global signpost: What way is the market, please?

A contribution by the World Food Programme

There is a clear global task: We need to feed nine billion people by 2050. We, the people of Earth, must produce more food and waste less. That is the top priority of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), too - the description of a challenge.

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Frank Schultze / Agentur_ZS

Visions in agriculture

Video by Frank Schultze and Jan Rübel

At the beginning of December 2018, AGRA's board of directors met in Berlin. The "Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa" ​​panel discussed the next steps in their policy of modernizing agriculture. How to go on in the next ten years? One question - many answers from experts.

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The state of food security in Cape Town and St. Helena Bay

A study by Markus Hanisch, Agustina Malvido, Johanna Hansmann, Alexander Mewes, Moritz Reigl, Nicole Paganini (SLE)

Post-Covid-19 lockdown: How food governance processes could include marginalised communities - an extract of the results of an SLE study applying digital and participatory methods.

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Karel Prinsloo/Arete/Rockefeller Foundation/AGRA

"Nutrition is a human right"

Interview with Joe DeVries (AGRA)

Joe DeVries is a breeder – and Vice President of AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa). What are the chances and risks of a ’green revolution‘ in Africa? A discourse between Jan Rübel and him about productivity, needs, and paternalism.

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(c) Gudrun Barenbrock/GIZ

Edible bugs - the new beef?

A contribution by Marwa Shumo

Insect farming is economical and environmentally sustainable, they are high in protein and they live on agricultural waste. Marwa Abdel Hamid Shumo thinks: They are the best weapon to combat hunger

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(c) Thomas Lohnes / Brot für die Welt

The hype about urban gardening: farmers or hobby gardeners?

A contribution by Stig Tanzmann

Urban gardening is becoming increasingly popular in northern metropoles. People who consider themselves part of a green movement are establishing productive gardens in the city, for example on rooftops or in vacant lots. In severely impoverished regions of the global South, urban agriculture is a component of the food strategy.

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How the self-help approach empowers smallholder women

A report by INEF and Kindernothilfe

Supporting groups of smallholding women substantially contributes to strengthen rural operations economically. The organisation and associated group activities can help to reduce extreme poverty and improve the food situation.

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Global responsibility: Tackling hunger is the only way forward

A contribution by Lisa Hücking (WHH)

Chancellor Merkel has begun an ambitious European political programme: Striving for compromise in budget negotiations, an orderly Brexit as well as an appropriate response to the corona crisis. Unfortunately, one of her positions that she previously held is nowhere to be found: Africa's prosperity is in the interest of Europe. 

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Success story allotment garden: Food supply and women's empowerment

A contribution by Nadine Babatounde and Anne Floquet (MISEREOR)

To prevent malnutrition among young children and strengthen the role of women in their communities, Misereor, together with the local non-governmental organisation CEBEDES, is implementing a programme on integrated home gardens in Benin - a series of pictures.

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A partnership to fight hunger

A contribution by GAFSP

The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) was launched by the G20 countries in 2010 in response to the 2008-09 food price crisis to increase both public and private investment in agriculture. An overview of the programme's approach, results and impact.

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Hunger must not be a consequence of the epidemic!

A contribution by Michael Brüntrup (DIE)

Even though COVID-19 poses a threat to the health of humanity, the reaction to the pandemic must not cause more suffering than the disease itself. This is particularly relevant for poor developing countries, where the impact of the corona crisis on food security is even more severe!

 

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Developing countries hit doubly hard by coronavirus

A contribution by Gunter Beger (BMZ)

In most African countries, the infection COVID-19 is likely to trigger a combined health and food crisis. This means: In order to cope with this unprecedented crisis, consistently aligning our policies to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is more important than ever, our author maintains.

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Hier steht eine Bildbeschreibung

Statement from GAFSP Co-Chairs: GAFSP and COVID-19 Pandemic

A contribution by GAFSP

COVID-19 has unprecedented effects on the world. As always, the most vulnerable are the hardest hit, both at home and - especially - abroad. A joint appeal by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ) and the Department for International Development (DFID).

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(c) Michael Bruentrup/DIE

News from the starting block: Changeover

A contribution by Michael Brüntrup (DIE)

The region of Sub-Saharan Africa is on the decisive verge of a great development boost in farming: it could skip entire generations of technological development. But how? About possible roles and potentials of digital services.

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An investment in Africa's future

A contritbution by Essa Chanie Mussa (University of Gondar)

Rural youth need viable livelihood opportunities to escape out of poverty and realize their aspirations. How could they be helped to fully unleash their potential? This is an aloud call that needs novel strategies among governments, policy makers, and international development partners and donors.

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(c) Privat

Borderless food security

A contribution by Christine Wieck

Enabling smallholders to trade across regions and borders promotes food security and economic growth. Although everyone is calling for exactly that, implementation is still difficult

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JOERG BOETHLING / GIZ

Continent in an uptrend

A report by Dr. Agnes Kalibata (AGRA)

Partnering for Africa’s Century: Innovation and Leadership as Drivers of Growth and Productivity in Rural Areas

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What do you expect from this Pre Summit, Mr. Haddad?

Interview with Lawrence Haddad (GAIN)

Nutrition experts from all over the world are coming together in Rome. They are not only distilling 2000 ideas to improve food systems - they are also preparing for the big UN summit in New York in September. An interview. 

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Mr. Campari, how do we create sustainable food systems?

Interview with Joao Campari (WWF)

Journalist Jan Rübel spoke with Joao Campari ahead of the UNFSS Pre-Summit. The Chair of Action Track 3 highlights key challenges in transforming existing food systems towards sustainable production and shares his expectations for the Summit.

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Land Rights, Gender and Soil Fertility in Benin

A contribution by Dr. Karin Gaesing and Prof. Dr. Frank Bliss (INEF)

Especially in densely populated areas, land pressure leads to overexploitation of available land and a lack of conservation measures. The West African country of Benin, with heavily depleted soils in many places, is no exception.

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How do you campaign “Food Systems”?

Interview with Paul Newnham, Director of the SDG 2 Advocacy Hub.

The UN Food Systems pre-Summit in Rome dealt with transforming the ways of our nutrition. How do you bring that to a broad public? Questions to Paul Newnham, the Director of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 Advocacy Hub.

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Mr. Marí, what happened at the alternative summit?

An Interview with Francisco Marí (Brot für die Welt)

Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World) did not attend the UNFSS pre-summit. Instead, the organisation took part in a counter-summit that took place at the same time. A conversation with Francisco Marí about the reasons, the process - and an outlook for the future

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UNFSS Pre-Summit: What did it achieve?

Interview with Martina Fleckenstein (WWF), Michael Kühn (WHH) and Christel Weller-Molongua (GIZ)

After the summit means pre-summit: It was the first time that the United Nations held a summit on food systems. Martina Fleckenstein, Michael Kühn and Christel Weller-Molongua reviewed the situation in this joint interview.

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What is wrong with our nutrition in Germany, Mr. Plagge ?

An interview with Jan Plagge (Bioland)

Vitamin-poor nutrition must become more expensive, in-vitro meat is not a panacea, and agricultural systems should be more decentralised. Bioland President Jan Plagge in an interview about the challenge of (future) world nutrition.

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Food System Transformation Starts and Ends with Diversity

A Contribution by Emile Frison and Nick Jacobs (IPES-Food)

While having failed to solve the hunger problem, industrial agriculture appears to be causing additional ones both in environmental and health terms. Emile Frison and Nick Jacobs call for a transformation.

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(c) GIZ

Sustainable Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture in Rural Areas

Fish is important for combating malnutrition and undernourishment. But it is not only notable for its nutritional value, but also secures the livelihoods and employment for 600 million people worldwide.

A Project of GIZ

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(c) GIZ

Land Rights for Secure Livelihoods: My Land is My Life

Three quarters of the world's population do not have secure land rights, which hinders investment and innovation. The project "Improvement of Livelihood and Food Security" supports smallholder farmers in acquiring land.

A project of GIZ

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City, Country, Sea: 6 Innovations in the Fight Against Climate Change

A listicle for climate-neutral agriculture

Vertically growing plants, magnetic cotton. Hairy leftovers fertilizing fields, tractors running on algae? These six innovations could lead agriculture’s next Green Revolution!

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GFFA for New Perspectives on the Planet’s Soils

A Contribution by Journalist Jan Ruebel

For five days, the 2022 Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) in Berlin is all about strategies for a more sustainable land use.

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Engaging the Community to Solve the Bushmeat Crisis

A Contribution by the Forestry Research Institute Nigeria

The 'Domestication of Small Monogastric and Ruminant Animals' (DSMR) project led by a Nigerian research institute works with local communities to solve the bushmeat crisis.

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German G7 Presidency – fighting hunger with all our might

A Contribution by Welthungerhilfe

In the run-up to the G7 summit, experts from politics and civil society discussed sustainable and more effective options for action by the G7 states to combat hunger.

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‘Invite yourself’ – Farmers organisations as key stakeholders of food systems

A Contribution by Andreas-Hermes-Akademie

The Andreas Hermes Academy (AHA) discusses the transformation of food systems with 30 representatives of farmers organisations.

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The lessons learned from the last food crisis - A solution?

A Contribution by Agnes Kalibata

Inadequacy and fragility of food systems becomes more apparent with every food crisis. The question we must answer is “Where do we go from here?”

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From shared conviction to global response

A Contribution by Jan Rübel

The G7 is responding to the worsening global hunger crisis by mobilizing an additional $4.5 billion for this year alone. A key milestone for this in the run-up was the international conference on global food security "Uniting for Global Food Security".

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‘Preserving and restoring fertile soils is a global responsibility.’

An Interview with Jochen Flasbarth (BMZ)

Healthy, productive soils are a prerequisite for global food security – one of the priorities of German development cooperation. State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth on Germany’s efforts to support sustainable land management and why the VGGT are more important than ever today.

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Scaling up Food Security

An Artikel by Jan Rübel

How can we reach more people with successful approaches to food security? In Berlin, an international conference organized by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationaler Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) addressed this issue.

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Five tips to reduce food waste

A listicle against food waste

Whether it's banana bread made from brown bananas, conscious shopping plans or foodsharing, we give you five tips on how to reduce your everyday food waste.

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What does it take to truly shift the paradigm on food systems?

An Interview by GDPRD

Why are short- and long-term responses important to address current and future global crises? Sebastian Lesch, Head of the Agriculture Division at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), provides answers to these and other questions in an interview with the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development (GDPRD) and explains how much Germany welcomes all donors pulling together and acting in concert.

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Strengthening food markets across the rural-urban continuum

A Contribution by Thomas Forster

How to maintain functioning food markets in global food supply chains in the face of vulnerability and disruption? Markets that support local and territorial food systems are part of the solution. Thomas Forster presents proposals for these markets to cope with future shocks.

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A dashboard as a key tool for global food security

A Contribution by BMZ

The Global Alliance for Food Security (GAFS), jointly launched by the German G7 Presidency and the World Bank, released the Global Food and Nutrition Security Dashboard during COP27: A Rapid Response Tool for Coordinating Global Action for Food Security.

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The importance of water for sustainable rural development

A contribtion by WE4F

How can the challenges related to water, rural development and climate resilient agriculture be addressed? What innovations need to be promoted? The Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) initiative presents strategies and innovations for sustainable, integrated water management in German and international cooperation.

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From reaction to action

A contribtion by GIZ

A Year of Multiple Crises: Russian war against Ukraine, extreme weather events, high prices for energy and fertilizer, food crisis had severe implications for food security and agriculture globally and especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. A Transformation of the food systems is needed.

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How the War against Ukraine Destabilizes Global Grain Markets

A Contribution by GIZ

Since early February 2022, two of the biggest grain and oilseed exporters have been at war. An overview, which countries are affected most severely by the destabilized grain markets, and what comes next.

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The Black Sea Breadbasket in Crisis: Facts and Figures

An infographic by ONEWORLD no Hunger

Rising food and gas prices, physical destruction and supply chain disruptions: Why the Black Sea region matters and how the war in Ukraine affects global food security.

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The Rice Sector in West Africa: A Political Challenge

New insights on trade and value addition in the rice sector in West Africa

Low import tariffs, smuggling activities, unpredictable tax exemptions and weak enforcement of food safety standards: The potential of local rice value chains is undermined in West African countries.

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5 Questions for Jann Lay: What is Corona doing to the economy?

Interview with Jann Lay (GIGA)

The Corona pandemic is hitting economies around the world very hard - but developments in African countries are quite diverse. There are different speeds, resiliences and vulnerabilities. What are the reasons for this? Apl. Prof. Jann Lay of the GIGA Institute provides answers.

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Sustainable, feminist and socially just: The new Africa strategy of the BMZ

A contribution by Prof. Dr. Anna-Katharina Hornidge

In the video format "#99SecondsWith" of the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS), Prof. Dr Anna - Katharina Hornidge talks about the new Africa-Strategy of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

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The goals of transformation should leave no one behind

An Interview with Mareike Haase and Stig Tanzmann

Four interviews kick off the relaunch under the new name „Food4Transformation“, asking the same questions from different perspectives. Mareike Haase and Stig Tanzmann from Brot für die Welt explain why the right to food, inclusivity, agroecology and food sovereignty are the central levers for a successful transformation.

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Agricultural policy belongs in prime time

An interview with Dr. Julia Köhn

Four interviews kick off the relaunch under the new name „Food4Transformation“, asking the same questions from different perspectives. Dr Julia Köhn, Chair of the German AgriFood Society, points out in the interview: Only if innovation and transformation are profitable in the medium term can they close the food gap in the long term.

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BMZ releases video on the transformation of agricultural and food systems

A contribution by GIZ

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has released a video on the transformation of agricultural and food systems. In the video, Federal Minister Svenja Schulze also speaks about the urgent need to combat global hunger and contribute to resilient agricultural and food systems.

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“More of the same is not enough - we need to rethink”

An interview with Dirk Meyer

Four interviews kick off the relaunch under the new name „Food4Transformation“, asking the same questions from different perspectives. Dirk Meyer, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, thinks: less individual solutions are needed, but more systemic approaches. Because in addition to the goals for food security, the issues of climate and biodiversity must also be taken into account.

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Agricultural prices and food security – a complex relationship

A Contribution by Dr. Fatima Olanike Kareem and Dr. Olayinka Idowu Kareem

High agricultural prices affect developed and developing countries alike, but the problem is aggravated for the latter through the lack of or inadequate resilience measures. Dr. Fatima Olanike Kareem, AKADEMIYA2063, and Dr. Olayinka Idowu Kareem, University of Hohenheim, explain what can be done to mitigate the negative effects on food security.

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Strengthening the market linkages of smallholders in the face of global supply shocks

A Contribution by Niladri Sekhar Bagchi

The consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine have enabled many countries to open up new export markets for their agricultural goods. However, smallholder farms have been largely left out. Drawing on his experience in India, our author gives a brief overview of how this can be changed.

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Innovative donor approaches and sustainable finance – A Review of UNFSS+2

A contribution by the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development

Two years following the UN Food Systems Summit, the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development and the Shamba Centre for Food & Climate hosted an official side event at the UNFSS+2. The event explored how public donors can increase the impact of their investments.

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What is needed for a long-term fertiliser strategy?

A contribution by Michael Brüntrup

The world is currently experiencing a historic food crisis. High fertiliser prices are part of the problem. In addition to the necessary short-term aid measures, the crisis ought to be made use of to develop and implement longer-term fertiliser strategies for sustainable, in particular smallholder increases in production in the Global South.

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New Podcast – Out now!

A Podcast by Food4Transformation

In a world facing crises – from pandemics, armed conflicts, and climate change – how do we ensure everyone has enough food within planetary boundaries? A new podcast by Food4Transformation discover solutions talking to government officials, scientists, NGOs and farmers around the world.

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What the Middle East conflict means for the children in Gaza

An Interview by Jan Rübel

The Gaza Strip depends heavily on humanitarian aid, more than ever with the current war. Gaza population is very young: Half of them are children. What is their situation on the ground? Questions for Lucia Elmi, Unicef Special Representative to the State of Palestine.

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Agricultural Financing – from a broader Perspective

A Contribution by GIZ

In Sub-Saharan Africa, not all financial institutions (FIs) have access to knowledge about how to implement processes to enhance rural financial inclusion. The pan-African Community of Practice (CoP) plays a pivotal role in supporting these institutions along this transformative journey.

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Agriculture is more than Culture or Tradition

A Contribution by Simeon Kambalame

How can agriculture engage more young people in rural areas? Advocacy and education campaigns can play an important role here. Simeon Kambalame, Timveni Child and Youth Media Organisation, has launched such a campaign in Malawi.

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Gender Justice – a Precondition for Resilience

A contribution by IFPRI

Women and girls in poorer countries are affected in particular ways by the multiple crises the world is currently facing. Uncovering the linkages between gender, resilience and food security, experts from International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) look at ways to support women and girls’ capacity to respond to crises.

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Where can international cooperation in Gaza come in, Ms. Asseburg?

An Interview by Jan Rübel

The armed conflict between Israeli forces and the Hamas is escalating. What does this mean for a Gaza, region that was already heavily dependent on external aid? Questions for Dr. Muriel Asseburg, Senior Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin.

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Podcast: Fighting world hunger together

Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Podcast of the Federal Government

At the start of World Food Week around World Food Day on 16 October, Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed that the fight against global hunger will only be successful with international responsibility and solidarity (german only).

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Nature conservation around the world

A Contribution by WWF

From measures to promote biodiversity in Germany to more sustainable cocoa cultivation methods in Ecuador: WWF works at many different levels. At the Green Week, it will be demonstrated just how multifaceted nature conservation work is and what role each individual's decision plays.

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Together for food security in Zambia

A Contribution by Claudia Jordan (GIZ)

The Agriculture and Food Security Cluster of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Zambia shows how synergies among different projects and partner organisations can help people to eat healthier, diversified food. A delegation of the Bonn based Division of Agriculture and Rural Development learned this in a field visit in the Eastern Province of the Southern African country.

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Felix Phiri and two decades of Agriculture

A Conversation with Felix Phiri

Felix Phiri has been Head of the Department of Nutrition, HIV and AIDS at the Ministry of Health in Malawi for almost 20 years. A conversation about constants and change.

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“Healthy ground brings good and many fruits”

Interview with Ben Sekamatte and Boaz Ogola

Africa's cotton production plays a key role in the fight against poverty. The "Cotton Made in Africa" initiative promotes sustainable cultivation - one element of which is the use of organic pesticides. Entomologist Ben Sekamatte and cotton company manager Boaz Ogola talked with Jan Rübel about soil and yields.

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(c) Privat

How much private investment is the agricultural sector able to bear?

By Pedro Morazán

Small farmers in developing countries must modernise their farming methods, but poorly understood reforms could exacerbate poverty instead of alleviating it.

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Uli Reinhardt/Zeitenspiegel

No dirty dealing

Von Marlis Lindecke

Shit Business is Serious Business: A successful cooperation between research and the private sector.

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„You must be multisectoral in your thinking”

Interview with Adriano Campolina (FAO)

For years, place-based approaches to development have been considered important features in development cooperation, at the BMZ and in FAO. Both organisations are aiming at advancing these approaches: an interview with Adriano Campolina from the FAO on territorial and landscape perspectives.

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Support for sustainable start-ups

Companies in Africa that need financing between $20,000 and $200,000 find relatively few investors, as this sector is too large for microcredit and too small for institutional investors. This creates a "gap in the middle" where companies have limited options. A project of the World Resource Institute provides a remedy with the Landaccelerator 2020.

A World Resources Institute project

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(c) GIZ

COST-BENEFIT ANALYSES FOR MORE SOIL CONSERVATION

With the help of sustainable farming methods, soils can be preserved and made fertile again. The investment required is also worthwhile from a financial perspective.

A project of GIZ

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Pesticides – a blessing or a curse?

A debate between Lena Luig and Ludger Weß

What are the consequences of using synthetic pesticides in agriculture? Where do they help, where do they harm? Lena Luig, expert for the development policy organization INKOTA, and science journalist Ludger Weß discuss this controversial topic of international scope.

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© GIZ

One Health – What we are learning from the Corona crisis

A contribution by Dr. May Hokan and Dr. Arnulf Köhncke (WWF)

Due to the coronavirus crisis, the connection between human and animal health has gained new attention. Politicians and scientists are joining forces to propagate the solution: One Health. But what is behind the concept? And can it also guarantee food security for all people worldwide?

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Joerg Boethling/GIZ

"The Green Revolution reaches its limits"

Interview with Stig Tanzmann (BfdW)

Stig Tanzmann is a farmer and adviser on agricultural issues at ‘Bread for the World’. Jan Rübel interviewed him about his reservations about AGRA's strategy.

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(c) Privat

The 'Grey Gold'

A contribution by Maria Schmidt (GIZ)

The Cashew Council is the first international organisation for a raw material stemming from Africa. The industry promises to make progress in processing and refining cashew nuts - and answers to climate change

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(c) Privat

Human Rights, Land and Rural Development

A contribution by Michael Windfuhr (German Institute for Human Rights)

Land rights are no longer governed by the law of the strongest. That is what the international community has agreed to. Governments and private companies have a duty to respect human rights and avoid corruption.

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picture-alliance/Zentralbild

Land is Crucial for Development

A contribution by Roselyn Korleh and M. Sahr Nouwah (WHH)

The Liberian town of Kinjor is a picture-book example for what happens, if land rights aren’t protected, and it illustrates how to move forward from there. The keyword: Multi-Actor Partnership

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No rainforest for our consumption

A contribution by Jenny Walther-Thoß (WWF)

In the tropics rainforests are still being felled for the production of palm oil, meat and furniture. It is high time to act. Proposals are on the table.

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Biodiversity and agriculture – rivalry or a new friendship?

A contribution by Irene Hoffmann (FAO)

In this article, the author describes what we know about interlinkages, what role agriculture has to play in the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity, and what the necessary changes in agricultural systems might look like, both on small and large-scale farms.

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New legal initiatives towards deforestation-free supply chains as a game changer

A Contribution by Gerhard Langenberger

Regarding deforestation free supply chains, there are challenges and opportunities for smallholder farmers as well as for international forest governance. Also, responsibilities for companies and potential incentives for manufacturers to use materials from fair trade and sustainable sources need to be explored. But what does “deforestation-free” actually mean?

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The fight against illegal fishing

A Report

The oceans are important for our food supply, but they are overfished. To halt this trend the global community is now taking action against illegal fishing. Journalist Jan Rübel spoke with Francesco Marí, a specialist for world food, agricultural trade and maritime policy at "Brot für die Welt," and others.

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Water may offer the only chance

Interview with Caroline Milow and Ramon Brentführer

Groundwater resources remain dormant in the soil of African regions. Where does it make sense to use them – and where does overexploitation of nature begin? Caroline Milow (GIZ) and Ramon Brentführer (BGR) talk about potentials in the future and lessons from the past.

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Circular Economy: From Innovation to Upscaling

A Contribution by the Project RUNRES

Recycling organic waste into soil amendments and animal feed through a transdisciplinary approach – this is what the RUNRES project, launched in four sub-Saharan African countries four years ago, seeks to achieve. Three of the project's scientists report.

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"Agriculture can become a job engine"

Interview with Reiner Klingholz

How can agriculture modernise Africa? And does the road to the cities really lead out of poverty? Dr. Reiner Klingholz from the Berlin Institute for Population and Development in conversation with Jan Rübel .

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The Power of the Urban

An Interview by Jan Rübel

Cities play an important role in the transformation of food systems. But what exactly are the potentials and challenges? A three-way discussion between Ruth Okowa (Gain), Delphine Larrousse (World Vegetable Center) and Conrad Graf von Hoyos (GIZ).

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Answers from the youth: "Leave or stay? That depends on it!"

GIZ study; conducted by Geopoll

Does Africa's youth want to live in the city or in the country? Which career path seems particularly attractive? And how optimistic are the young people about the future? Young adults from rural areas answered these questions by SMS.

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Uli Reinhardt/Zeitenspiegel

Enough of being poor

By Marcellin Boguy

In western Africa a new middle class is emerging. Their consumer behaviour is determining the demand for products – home-produced and imported goods, on the internet or at the village market. The people of Ivory Coast in particular are looking to the future with optimism.

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New campaign for women: "Poverty is sexist"

Interview with Stephan Exo-Kreischer

This is a benchmark for everybody: More rights for women are a very influencing solution in the struggle against extreme poverty and hunger worldwide, says Stephan Exo-Kreischer, Director of ONE Germany. The organisation specialises in political campaigning as a lever for sustainable change.

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(c) Simon Veith

The Big Bang is possible

Interview with Joachim von Braun

Happy youngsters in rural areas, green development and the connection to the digital age – professor Joachim von Braun believes in this future sceneraio for Africa. For three decades the agricultural scienties has been researching how politics can create prosperty on the continent. 

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More than just a seat at the table

A contribution by Welthungerhilfe

Africa is home to the world’s youngest and fastest growing population. For many young people, agriculture could offer a job perspective. But to improve the living conditions and job prospects of young people in rural areas, political reforms and investments are desperately needed, as these people will be at the centre of agriculture and agricultural development in the future.

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(c) Foto Privat

Story: In Blocked Chains We Trust

A contribution by Solomon King Benge

It is 2080. We are on a farm somewhere in Africa. Everything is digital. The blockchain is an omnipotent point of reference, and the farm is flourishing. But then, everything goes wrong. A dystopian short story, written exclusively for SEWOH.

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An opportunity for the continent

A contribution by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Africa’s population is young and ready to take its destiny into its own hands. Agriculture offers amazing opportunities in this regard. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation wants to support the next generation in this way.

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(c) Christoph Pueschner/Zeitenspiegel

From start to finish: a vision of interconnectivity

A contribution by Tanja Reith

At the moment, the agricultural industries of African countries exist in relative isolation. Imagine peasant farmers digitally connected to the value chains of the global food industry. How could this happen? A guidebook.

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The Life of Their Dreams - What Children Want

Interview with Gnininkaboka Dabiré and Innocent Somé

Later on you want to become a farmer yourself, or would you prefer to take up another profession? Two young people from Burkina-Faso talked to representatives of the Dreyer Foundation about their parents' farms, the profession of farmer and their own plans for the future.

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“They said: You can do it”

A contribution by Bread for the World

As President of the IABM cooperative in Muhanga, Alphonsine Mukankusi is not simply focused on the figures. She has learned how to deal with people and how to take on responsibility. At the same time, her work helps her to come to terms with the past

 

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A new attempt at Africa's industrialization?

A contribution by Helmut Asche

Afrika is about ready. There are promising approaches for a sustainable industrialization. However, the path poses challenges to the continent.

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(c) Privat

Small Farms, big money

A contribution by Agnes Kalibata

Agnes Kalibata, AGRA president since 2014 and former minister of agriculture and wildlife in Rwanda, is convinced that Africa's economy will only grow sustainably if small-scale agriculture is also seen as an opportunity.

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(c) GIZ

Youth Employment in Rural Areas

The world’s population keeps on growing; with this rise comes an increased need for food as well as productive employment opportunities. Offering young people in rural areas better employment prospects is one of the objectives of the sector project. The young population is the key to a modern and efficient agricultural economy.

A project of GIZ

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Digitalization: The Driving Force in the Future of Agriculture?

A Contribution by GIZ

At the ICTforAg conference in March 2022, the digital agriculture community exchanged on the challenges and opportunities associated with the next green revolution.

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How a Nigerian fintech wants to secure 1 billion US dollars for farms

An Interview with Blessing Mene

Small farmers often have a hard time getting financing. An app in Nigeria wants to change that: Founder Blessing Mene about what his app offers - and about the opportunities and limitations of agricultural financing.

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Partners for change - Network meeting on transforming agricultural and food systems

A Contribution by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development

At the network meeting "Partners for change - Transformation to a food secure, resilient and sustainable future", almost 250 participants from over 20 countries came together to exchange experiences and ideas on the transformation of agricultural and food systems. The final product, joint recommendations to transform agricultural and food systems, can now be read online.

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The common thread is the importance of collaboration

A contribution by Scaling Up Nutrition Movement

It takes the joint efforts of diverse actors to achieve a transformative impact on the global food system. Barbara Rehbinder, Scaling Up Nutrition Movement (SUN), discusses four people-centred principles to get closer to this goal.

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Shu Wen Ng, the Clear-Sighted

An Interview with Shu Wen Ng

Shu Wen Ng is a health economist. She knows what is best suited to go on a plate. But how can this be achieved on a mass scale in countries with lower incomes? "The solutions to gett there already exist," she says, "but what is often missing is courageous leadership to implement them."

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School Feeding: A unique platform to address gender inequalities

A contribution by Carmen Burbano de Lara (WFP)

Besides the well known impacts of Covid19 lockdowns for the adult population, the associated school closures led to 90 percent of the world’s children with no access to schools. However, school meals are in often the only daily meal for children. Without access to this safety net, issues like hunger, poverty and malnutrition are exacerbated for hundreds of millions of children.

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Not waiting for a savior

An article by Lidet Tadesse

While Africa is the least affected region by Covid-19 so far, the number of confirmed cases and deaths on the continent is quickly rising. Despite the challenges many African countries continue to face, the African response to the coronavirus pandemic displays innovation and ingenuity.

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Good health is impossible without healthy food

A contribution by Heino von Meyer

Corona makes it even more difficult to achieve a world without hunger by 2030. So that this perspective does not get out of sight, Germany must play a stronger role internationally - a summary of the Strategic Advisory Group of SEWOH.

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How can the private sector prevent food loss and waste?

An interview with David Brand (GIZ)

From a circular food system in Rwanda to functioning cooled transports in Kenya: The lab of tomorrow addresses development challenges such as preventing food loss and waste

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