Short interviews by the Platform Secretariat during the 2022 Annual General Assembly in Rome, Italy.
Five experts talk about national pathways for food systems transformation, the current global food crisis response, and what they want small-scale farmers and the younger generation to know.

Claudia Sadoff

Executive Managing Director, CGIAR

Other AGA2022 Interviews:

Claudia Sadoff is the Executive Managing Director at CGIAR. She was a keynote speaker at the AGA2022.

How does the current global crisis change the debate on food security?

Claudia: The current global crisis is a real opportunity to bring the issues of food security to the front of mind, a tremendously important moment to underscore the urgency of what we face globally. To underscore not only the urgency with 45 million people on the brink of hunger or starvation, but also that food security reaches beyond where we generally imagine the areas of agriculture and food to be – to foreign policy, to trade policy, to issues of human security.

The urgency of what we’re seeing now also risks distracting us from some of our more medium and longer-term challenges of making food systems resilient and sustainable, of delivering equitable and robust livelihoods that we want for our farmers, while delivering food security for our populations.

Why are national pathways and coordination so important?

Claudia: Our nations are where the impact occurs. Each nation has its own vision for the challenges that it faces and the future it wants for its farmers and people. If impact takes place in a country, it is that country level we need to focus on.

Countries know what they want and what is needed, how to adapt the research, innovation, or opportunities that might be available globally to their specific context. They know the systems and partnerships that are needed to begin to uptake and scale out solutions that can be brought to bear. These national pathways are absolutely essential for real impact on the ground.

What’s also important about the issue of coordination, that the GDPRD takes seriously and that is central to the issue, is that we need to bring support to countries that’s more efficient and doesn’t distract the time of our country partners from the challenges they face.

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“The current global crisis is a real opportunity to bring the issues of food security to the front of mind, a tremendously important moment to underscore the urgency of what we face globally.”

What would you like small-scale farmers and the younger generation to know?

Claudia: Small-scale farmers and youth farmers are so essential. We have 500 million small-scale farmers in the world producing about a third of the world’s food. They’re fundamental to our food security. We’re working hard to help bring innovations in more resilient, nutritious crop varieties, to bring to them innovations in agronomy and better ways of producing food, and bring innovations in policy, natural resources management, and data innovations. But what I think is really exciting, particularly for our youth farmers, is that the future could be anything they create. We talk about agripreneurs and different ways of farming in the future, precision agriculture, digital innovations, and methods that we may never have thought of before. The future is exciting for young farmers if they think broadly about the sort of food systems we need in the future.

We clearly need sustainable and resilient food systems, but we also have a vision for food systems that are equitable and profitable. Food systems can help us to mitigate climate change and perhaps even return some land for nature and biodiversity.

Our vision should be one of the ambitions we have of the world we want to see. How do we turn that into reality? It needs to be done in partnerships. We need partners who work with scientists to identify what’s needed and we need to help them develop the solutions that are required. We need them to help us adapt solutions to specific contexts and to upscale and out scale.

What would you like small-scale farmers and the younger generation to know? What would you like the donor community to get out of this year’s Annual General Assembly of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development?

Claudia: I hope the GDPRD delivers a strong message, both of the urgency of investing in food security given the extraordinary crises that we’re facing, but also the importance of the enduring investment needed to be made in transformation. From the basic research leveraged through partnerships, to the innovations, the uptake and the impact that we have to see and the investment in partners all along that space. I hope the message of this urgency without compromising our longer term goals will be heard in this General Assembly.

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This video is a recording of the interview, conducted by the Secretariat of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development during the Annual General Assembly in Rome, 15 June 2022.

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