Agrofood Broker of the Year 2018: Kwabena Asubonteng (University of Amsterdam)
Kwabena Asubonteng (University of Amsterdam) is the winner of the Agrofood Broker of the Year 2018 Award! Out of 11 nominees, the jury selected him as one of the three finalists. Thereafter, almost 1000 people voted through an online poll at the Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP) website. The prize was awarded by Vanessa Nigten, Knowledge Broker at the F&BKP during the seminar “Future food systems for Ghanaian food security” in Accra, Ghana on January 17, 2019. The seminar was organized by the F&BKP and NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development.
Kwabena Asubonteng was present at the seminar to accept the award, together with Mirjam Ros-Tonen, project leader of the Global Challenges Programme (GCP) project “Inclusive value chain collaboration in Ghana and South Africa”. Kwabena’s PhD research at the University of Amsterdam is part of this GCP project.
Who is Kwabena Asubonteng?
“Kwabena’s skilful brokering has been instrumental in the programme’s efforts to sustain the Learning Platform beyond project duration and helped set up local steering committees that are representative, inclusive and align programme goals with those of the agendas of relevant actors and their dynamic, institutional environments.”
Kwabena Asubonteng is a PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam focusing on the spatial landscape effects of tree crop farming. In his field work he uses participatory scenario building and mapping to visualize the “desired landscapes” of different stakeholders. His PhD is part of the Global Challenges Programme project “Inclusive Value Chain Collaboration” in Ghana, for which he has been involved in organizing Learning Platforms where he has brought various actors together.
Kwabena is of the opinion that knowledge brokering is “the act and art of facilitating multi-directional information exchange about an issue of common concern among and between stakeholders. It involves the creation of an open and safe space for the engagement of different knowledge holders and generators, and users.” According to Kwabena, it is a way to understand the realities of different stakeholder and creates a basis for sharing, learning and adapting pilots and practices. What is needed for brokering is “the ability to identify and mobilise relevant stakeholders to an issue of common concern and encourage their understanding of the need to exchange information and knowledge.” Apart from that, “facilitation skills [are] needed to guide knowledge exchange in a manner that provides equal chances and creates a safe space for stakeholder to be heard without fear.”
Kwabena received a cheque to set up a knowledge brokering activity together with the Food & Business Knowledge Platform, which will be arranged in the coming months. Moreover, in 2019 he will join the jury to elect the next Agrofood Broker of the Year.
Videos final candidates
During the ceremony announcing the winner of the Agrofood Broker of the Year 2018 Award, all three finalists had the opportunity to present themselves and their affinity with knowledge brokering in a short video. The video of Kwabena Asubonteng, and the other two finalists – Donald Houessou, agricultural economist and a practitioner in rural development and food security at ACED Benin, and Zuhura Abdallah, member of the Kibuye Market Trader’s Group in Kenya – can be found below.