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AGA 2020 – Event 2


“Pathways for food systems transformation

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Tristan Armstrong

Sector Specialist, Agricultural Productivity and Food Security, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia

Conrad Rein

Policy Officer, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission

Paul van de Logt

Head, Food and Nutrition Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands


Ron Hartman

Director, Global Engagement, Partnership and Resource Mobilization Division, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Building on the high-level session, session 2 dived into the main issues, with discussions aimed at developing concrete contributions to the Food Systems Summit. This brainstorming session sought to clarify where donors should focus their efforts and what ideas should shape future donor thinking on food systems.

Main Highlights

COORDINATION AND ALIGNMENT OF ACTORS: A top priority for initiating transformative action and the basis for all the areas discussed, such as supporting policy, brokering value chain innovation, and coordinating crisis response.

CATALYSING AND DE-RISKING FINANCING: Recognizing that financing systems are highly dynamic and complex – and carry risks for each actor along the value chain – donors can deliver financing that mitigates risk and benefits all actors.

SUPPORTING POLICY INNOVATION: By engaging to forge a deep understanding of each stakeholder’s needs, the donor community can work together to create an enabling policy environment, ensuring that the benefits of investments in food systems reach smallholders.

BROKERING INNOVATION IN AGRICULTURAL VALUE CHAINS: Conventional approaches have thus far not brought systemic change. The donor community needs to support value chain innovation that maximizes opportunities for small-scale farmers and incentivizes private investment.

BUILDING THE KNOWLEDGE BASE AND CAPACITY: Strengthening smallholders’ capacity for value chain integration is critical, but governments, private-sector actors and other stakeholders – including donors – require knowledge in order to support food systems that leave no one behind.

COORDINATED CRISIS RESPONSE: Conflict, climate and now COVID-19 are hindering food systems transformation. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has also spurred innovation around crisis response. This experience can be built upon to tackle longer-term crisis risks and build resilient food systems.

FOSTERING AN ENABLING INFRASTRUCTURE AND IT: Beyond just bringing produce to market, targeted infrastructural investments bring digital technologies the last mile to smallholders, and ensure that they benefit through greater connectivity to value chains and use of data.