Urban agriculture is hot.
(Project: Sky Village, Rodøvre, DK (2008) by MVRDV + ADEPT | © MVRDV + ADEPT)
The production of food in and around cities is getting more and more attention, with activities ranging from community rooftop gardens, supermarkets for locally produced products and urban food strategies developed by major cities. Many initiatives, especially in Europe and North-America, are focused on education, reconnecting the urban dwellers with the bio-physical origins of food, and promoting citizen involvement. The potential of urban agriculture, especially for cities in developing countries, goes beyond these points. It may contribute to food security, poverty alleviation, improved food quality and greener and more livable cities, while saving energy, water, waste and space. The growing urban demand for food also brings new possibilities for smallholder farming in the ‘hinterland’. However, many challenges have to be overcome for urban agriculture initiatives to reach their full potential.
Malnutrition undermines economic growth.
Image © GAIN
Today, one billion go to bed hungry every day and another billion people suffer from so called “hidden hunger”. They lack essential vitamins and minerals in their diet such as iron and vitamin A. Good nutrition is crucial for normal physical and mental development of children and defines their opportunities in later life. Investing in human capital through better nutrition is one of the most cost-effective ways of helping countries’ economic growth (Copenhagen Consensus, 2008). Companies and scientists in the field of micronutrients are developing auspicious innovations such as food fortification. The Netherlands in particular , world-leader in the food sector, has the expertise to tackle malnutrition successfully, through joint initiatives with local partners in developing countries.
Africa as the potential giant in the world food supply, about the growing economic and (geo)political meaning of the continent.
Image: Peet Hiddink
What are the possibilities, challenges and lessons learned of investing in agricultural development in Africa? How can (African and European) business and governments seize these African opportunities?
The 3rd FoodFirst-Floriade conference shall focus on an urgent issue connected with food security.
Image: Courtesy of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
At this moment, the lives of millions of people are at risk due to the food crisis in the Sahel region. How is it possible that, less than a year after the food crisis in the Horn of Africa, a new African food crisis is emerging? What can we learn from the experiences from previous crises and, most importantly, how can we act now to avoid further damage and future crises?
Organic farming / ecological agriculture versus intensive industrial farming.
Image: alphaspirit © PhotoXpress.com
Is intensive industrialized agriculture (using chemical fertilizers etc) the only way to feed the growing world population? Or does this harm ecological sustainability and thus food security and rural development in the longer term? Is LEISA a viable alternative? Can the global food production be made part of the green economy?
About cooperatives and access to finance and markets for smallholders
1. How can cooperatives contribute to increased access to finance and markets for smallholder producers in developing countries?
2. What are recent experiences and realistic perspectives on supporting cooperative business models? Where can we identify opportunities for collaboration between Dutch cooperatives, companies and organisations and African cooperatives?
Hoe bedrijfsleven, wetenschap en beleid elkaar in de praktijk kunnen versterken
Image: WuTtY @ photoXpress
- Het Topsectorenbeleid en voedselzekerheid;
- Praktijkvoorbeelden van wetenschapper(s) en ondernemers;
- Introductie NWO-WOTRO onderzoeksprogramma Global Food Systems;
- Presentatie Floriade en Food First-Floriade Cyclus.
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Available for download: FoodFirst on the Floriade Venlo 2012, the illustrated short report of the foodFIRST conferences in 2012.