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Feed the Future on “Transforming the Food Production System”

By Deputy Coordinator for Diplomacy for Feed the Future

Jonathan Shrier, acting special representative for global food security at the Department of State, was a keynote panelist at the Royal Institute for International Affairs (“Chatham House”) conference in London in December on “Transforming the Food Production System.”

Other keynote panel members included David Nabarro, the UN special representative for Food Security and Nutrition; Michael Nkonu, executive director of Fairtrade Africa; and Ann Tutwiler, deputy director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Addressing an audienceof civil society members, the private sector, universities, and governments, Shrier discussed the areas of consensus and disagreement in this effort, and the comprehensive nature of effective food security interventions, highlighting the unique aspects of Feed the Future. He explained that a transformation of the food system is indeed required to improve global food security, and that first and foremost, this must include multinational coordinated action and financial commitment, symbolized by the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative launched at the G-8 Summit in 2009. 

Furthermore, this transformation must also be coordinated across all divisions of government, include country-led investment across entire agricultural value chains, and specifically focus on nutrition, partnerships, gender equality, and extensive investment in research. He emphasized that nutrition is a cost-effective investment in human capital formation, that the private sector is a critical partner in achieving sustainable economic growth in the agriculture sector, and that investments in research and innovation are critical to long-term productivity, especially in the face of climate change.

Other sessions of the Chatham House conference addressed the role of policy and science in food production, land management and reducing post-harvest losses, and managing risk in the food chain. 

Audience members expressed appreciation for Feed the Future and the comprehensive, forward-leaning approach to global food security that it embodies. 

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