Africa and Asia come together to lead “Smart Food” – a global initiative to diversify staples


Hyderabad, India 17 January 2019: The Smart Food consortium is a partnership of a new effort to make a major contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Smart Food Concept, to start with, will focus on diversifying staples. Given that staples may typically constitute 70% of a meal and are often eaten three times a day, diversifying them can have a pronounced impact on overcoming malnutrition and poverty while coping with climate change and environmental degradation at the same time. This will contribute to the SDGs for overcoming poverty and hunger (SDG 1 and 2), responsible consumption ad production (SDG 12), along with adaptation to climate change (Goal 13). The approach taken will include gender equality (SDG 5) and through partnerships (SDG 17).

Leading agriculture organizations from Africa and Asia have joined hands to take on this bold initiative to create a new big industry, with the intent of bringing Smart Foods back on the plate as major staples. Targeting some specific staples lays the foundation to generate major impacts on health and the agri-food system. The inaugural meeting and signing of agreements by the largest agriculture associations in Africa and Asia took place on the 13th January, 2019 at the ICRISAT Headquarters, Patancheru, India.

Smart Food Executive Council members: From Left to right: Dr Abdulai Jalloh, Director of Research and Innovation, CORAF; Mr William Asiko, Board member, FANRPAN; Ms. Joanna Kane-Potaka, Assistant Director General – External Relations, ICRISAT; Dr Peter Carberry, Director General, ICRISAT; Dr Yemi Akinbamijo, Executive Director, FARA; Dr Ravi Khetarpal, Executive Secretary, APAARI

This culminated in the formation of the Smart Food Executive Council led by – the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI), Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), CORAF, Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), along with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) which set in motion the Smart Food initiative in 2013.

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