How can smallholders best get climate-smarter?

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The World Food Prize's Borlaug Dialogue ran from October 12- 16. Together with partners, we kicked it off with one of the first events. An expert panel* discussed

Approaches to Advance Climate-Smart Resilient Agriculture for Smallholders from the Farm to FoodScape

This webinar explored a range of perspectives on climate-smart resilient and sustainable agricultural solutions for smallholders. The panel looked at intersections between agricultural development and environmental aspects in Africa and South Asia. Leading organizations shared their evolving perspectives, roles, needs for knowledge and possible business / financing / incentive models. The emphasis was on perspectives from the field and communities (rather than from research, funders and policy makers). The panelists examined what is being learned and the pathways to sustainable scaling - farm-to-farm, farm-to-value chain and farm-to-foodscape.

Watch the Webinar 


*Participants heard from and discussed with:

Christine Negra (Moderator)

Dr Christine Negra, Versant Vision LLC, has over 25 years’ experience as an extension agent, soil scientist, program director and international consultant. She specializes in climate change, sustainable agriculture and integrated landscape management. Christine collaborates with development, research and finance organizations to bring science into policies and markets. 

Colin Christensen, One Acre Fund

Colin has spent his career with organizations committed to innovative, impact-focused approaches to international development. From 2015 to 2019 he led the Government Relations department at One Acre Fund (1AF). Based in Kigali, Rwanda, his team ensured close partnerships with governments in the seven countries in which 1AF works. Colin recently moved to Washington, D.C. as 1AF’s Global Policy Director. He is tasked with helping to ensure that the pressing needs of Africa’s smallholder farmers are addressed comprehensively in policy and funding conversations outside the continent.
Before 1AF, Colin directed government relations for Bridge International Academies, which runs low-cost private schools in four African countries. He was also Country Director for Innovation for Poverty Action (IPA) in Kenya. IPA conducts rigorous impact evaluations of development projects to assess what actually works to alleviate poverty. Colin has an MA in international development from Tufts University (the Fletcher School), and a BA in History from the University of Texas at Austin. 

Alemneh Dejene, World Vision US

Dr. Alemneh Dejene is the Senior Technical Advisor for Environment and Natural Resources Management (Food Security & Livelihoods sector) at World Vision United States.

Alemneh received his PhD from Cornell University, College of Agriculture. His earlier work in academy focused on resource degradation, poverty, food insecurity and vulnerability to drought and climate-related risks in fragile ecosystems. He also worked with donors and NGO’s building smallholders’ community resilience in drought-prone areas of Ethiopia. Alemneh was a member of the Secretariat of the UN Conference on Environment & Development that led to the first Earth Summit in 1992. He also worked as member of multi-disciplinary teams at the World Bank. Between 1998-2015, Alemneh served as a Senior Officer and then Team Leader in the FAO’s Natural Resources Management Department. His publications cover famine and natural resources degradation, sustainable agriculture and rural development, environmental assessment and risk management, enhancing the role of women in agriculture, and strengthening capacity for climate change adaptation.

Read about World Vision building community resilience to climate shocks in Zimbabwe.

Dominik Klauser, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture

Dominik completed a PhD in molecular plant-microbe interactions at the Zürich-Basel Plant Science Center. In his earlier professional career, Dominik worked in Business Development at Syngenta AG in Switzerland and the UK, and as an IP and technology transfer advisor to several European research institutions. At the Syngenta Foundation, Dominik is R&D Lead; his wide remit includes climate-smart resilient agriculture as well as improvements of crops such as cassava and tef. He additionally lectures on crop management and plant physiology at Basel University, as well as being a sought-after speaker elsewhere. Dominik represents the Syngenta Foundation in the Swiss Forum for International Agricultural Research. He is a Plantae fellow of the American Society for Plant Biology, for which he has blogged about technology transfer.

Thomas Oberthür, African Plant Nutrition Institute

Dr. Thomas Oberthür advises the African Plant Nutrition Institute (APNI) on Business and Partnership Development. He is based in Benguerir, Morocco. Thomas first studied in Leipzig, Germany, where his research included spatial soil fertility management at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines. He earned his PhD in Geography at the University of Western Australia, working on land resource information and its management in mixed rain-fed environments.

Over the past 20 years, Thomas has worked for and with NGO’s, private industry and research institutions. He has advised and learned from farmers, scientists, entrepreneurs, managers and administrators, in fields, processing stations and boardrooms. At the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research he worked in research and program operations management and ran a wide range of projects in Indonesia. Before that, he was with Ecoagriculture Partners and CIAT.
Prior to advising APNI, Thomas led the Southeast Asia Program for the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI). His work there focused on high-value commodities, natural resource and systems management and agricultural market development. He also managed projects on sustainable commodity intensification and differentiation, inclusive development, agronomy and nutrient management. Outcomes achieved under his leadership included large-scale management and behavioral change, notably in the coffee sector.

Priya Shyamsundar, The Nature Conservancy 

Priya Shyamsundar is Lead Economist at The Nature Conservancy (TNC). With extensive experience in the economics of environment and development, her research covers a range of local to global urban and rural environmental problems. At TNC, she leads a Global Science program on the economics of conservation. The program focuses on valuing green infrastructure, evaluating economic and social outcomes, identifying economic instruments and assessing behavioral nudges that may motivate environmental actions. 

Previously, Priya was Founder Director of SANDEE, a research network dedicated to environment-development challenges in South Asia. She has served on advisory committees associated with the Government of India, the World Bank and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program. She has also consulted extensively for the World Bank, most recently developing a comprehensive framework on forests and poverty. Priya currently serves on the SANDEE steering committee in Nepal, as a Fellow at the Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota, a member of the Advisory Board of the Journal Ecology, Economy and Society in India, and Vice Chair of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Canada.

Conclusions & recommendations:

Ismahane Elouafi, International Center for Biosaline Agriculture 

Dr. Ismahane Elouafi becomes FAO Chief Scientist in mid-November. She joined ICBA as Director General in 2012. Prior to that, she had held management positions with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. She also worked as a scientist with ICARDA, CIMMYT and the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences.

Ismahane holds a PhD in Genetics from Cordoba University, Spain. She has a passion for science, its management and integration with policy. She believes that science has to be the basis of decisions and development plans in order to achieve efficiency and alleviate discrimination and poverty. Her many international awards include the Excellence in Science Award from the Global Thinkers Forum, and the National Reward Medal from His Majesty Mohamed VI, King of Morocco. In 2014, Muslim Science ranked Ismahane among the 20 Most Influential Women in Science in the Islamic World under the Shapers category. CEO-Middle East Magazine listed her among the World’s 100 Most Powerful Arab Women in the Science category.