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16th GFFA 2024: Great interest in the IAK stand at the Innovation Forum

As an international conference of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) on agricultural and food policy issues, the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) takes place every year in the run-up to the International Green Week in Berlin – this year from Jan 17-20, 2024, on the topic "Food Systems for Our Future: Joining Forces for a Zero Hunger World!". Around 2,000 international guests discussed the food systems of the future and closer cooperation at a global level in 16 expert panels, 2 high-level panels and a high-level debate as well as the innovation forum with 25 exhibitors.

On the last day of the GFFA, as every year, the International Agriculture Ministers' Conference took place, at which 60 agriculture ministers discussed the development towards sustainable and resilient agricultural and food systems under the chairmanship of Federal Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir. In their final declaration, they emphasized that this is the only way to implement the right to adequate food for all people.

IAK stand at the Innovation Forum

At our stand this time, we presented the Innovation Dialogue (ITD) on the introduction of water lentils as an ecological and plant-based protein alternative in Brazil, a project that we carried out on behalf of the BMEL and GFA Consulting Group GmbH (GFA) until the end of 2023. The aim was to establish water lentils, which was rediscovered a few years ago as a source of protein, especially in animal feed, and as a supplement to soy, as an alternative source of income for smallholder production, even in non-agricultural favorable locations that are already severely affected by climate change. The semi-arid north-east of Brazil is well suited to the cultivation of water lentils. As part of the ITD, e.g., fish ponds were set up here and water lentils was introduced as a source of protein for feeding fish. Small farmers were given technical advice and scientific support. The still relatively new water lentils value chain in Brazil must now be further researched. In future, it should remain entirely in the hands of smallholders to improve the local and regional food situation through diversification.

There was a great deal of interest in IAK Agrar Consulting GmbH (IAK) and the water lentils project – together with the team of the German-Brazilian Agricultural Policy Dialogue (APD Brazil) conducted by IAK on behalf of the BMEL and GFA and our expert PD Dr. Klaus-Jürgen Appenroth from the University of Jena, we welcomed numerous visitors to our stand, including high-ranking personalities such as the Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir, the Brazilian Minister for Agricultural Development Paulo Teixeira and the Uruguayan Minister of Agriculture Fernando Mattos Costa.

Expert panel "South America's challenges and opportunities with regard to establishing resilient supply chains"

Marnix Doorn, team leader of the German-Argentine Dialogue on Sustainable Agricultural Innovations implemented by IAK, moderated the event, in which he discussed solutions with four panel participants. Isabel M. Lizaso, member of the steering committee of Aapresid in Argentina, emphasized the importance of increasing agricultural productivity without increasing the negative effects of tillage. Dr. Jorge Sellare, agricultural economist at Wageningen University, spoke about efficient ways of counteracting tropical deforestation. Hendrik Schulze-Düllo, Senior Market Researcher at CLAAS, showed how technical innovations such as digitalization are being used to expand sustainable food systems. And last but not least, Ana Carolina Zimmermann, a young farmer from Brazil, pointed out that farmers need to be involved in the discussions.

Political kick-off of the Agricultural Policy Dialogue between the African Union and Germany to Strengthen the Resilience of Food Systems in Africa (APD AU)

On Jan 20, 2024, the political kick-off of the APD AU took place with Mr. Özdemir, Josefa Sacko, Commissioner for Agriculture of the African Union, as well as representatives of the BMEL, the GFA and the project team.

The project is the first agricultural policy dialogue funded by the BMEL on the African continent. The aim is to transform and strengthen agricultural and food systems in order to make them more resilient to crises and at the same time more climate-friendly. The APD is also intended to provide a platform for the joint exchange of knowledge, experience, technologies and skills in areas of mutual interest. The project is being implemented by IAK as lead partner in a consortium with the Andreas Hermes Academy (AHA) and the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN).

Mr. Özdemir and Ms. Sacko emphasized the political importance of the new project at the meeting: Only together can both regions transform the agricultural and food systems. If one fails, the other will also fail.

International Consulting of IAK

The GFFA is an important date in the annual calendar of the International Cooperation Department of IAK. The work of this department focuses on creating better livelihoods for all through sustainable agricultural and food systems. To this end, we work on behalf of national and international donor organizations such as the BMEL, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the World Bank, the European Union and the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). Our wide-ranging projects focus on agricultural policy, food security, biodiversity, agriculture and climate change, digitalization, rural development, agricultural trade, etc.

IAK's international department is currently implementing projects in 25 countries – find out more in our references.