Food for All partnership – update May 2018
In the framework of the WBG-Netherlands Food for All Partnership, Wijnand van IJssel – Senior Advisor Food Security at WBG Global Practice Agriculture – has been in the Netherlands from May 11 till June 5 to strengthen and operationalize the Partnership. Please find below his blog on the series of meetings and events he attended.
May 11 – Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Martien van Nieuwkoop and myself met with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (food security) to discuss intensification of the collaboration in FCV countries (Sahel, Horn of Africa and MENA). Specific Bank ASA and loan preparations for FY19 were identified for mutual interest, to be further explored with TTLs and PMs. The Dutch government will allocate limited additional flexible resources for this collaboration with Dutch knowledge partners. The Dutch government launched its new policy on foreign trade and development “Investing in Future Prospects” on May 18, with an emphasis on these FCV regions. The MoFA food security team welcomed the prospect of collaborating with the WB while expanding its own operations to these geographical areas. To connect the dots I met in a separate meeting (May 24) with the unit for stability and humanitarian aid, which is one of the larger donors of the State and Peacebuilding TF at the Bank (which again collaborates with the Ag Observatory).
May 15&16 – IFC Global Agribusiness Conference in Amsterdam
Provided for an excellent opportunity to network with global and local players of private sector and knowledge institutions. The conference was organized around the launch of IFC’s new manual for smallholder inclusion in agricultural value chains and featured high quality presentations and practical examples, including new technologies such as blockchain. Directors of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs spoke at the opening and closing sessions and the conference was supported, amongst others, by the GAFSP Private Sector Window, to which the Dutch Government is a major donor.
May 17 – Maximizing Finance for Development in Agr. Value Chains, PPPs and the missing middle
I used the presence of WB and IFC staff for the IFC conference to set a separate meeting with representatives of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign affairs, Rabobank, FMO, SNV, RVO (Dutch Enterprise Agency) and others to connect the new narrative on MFD for Agricultural Value Chains, presented at the meeting by Ag GP’s Chris Brett, with the Dutch experiences in supporting the missing middle of SME’s in the agricultural sector through PPP’s and various finance and blended finance for development instruments. Participants came forward with an impressive wealth of knowledge and experience in this domain in developing countries. The aim of the meeting was to explore collaboration and joint learning. It was concluded that the Ag GP’s plans to bring MFD for Agricultural Value Chains to the country level in a series of workshops would provide such an opportunity, to start with in Ethiopia. The Dutch Enterprise Agency (RVO) offered to help support such workshops. Also attending were IFC’s Tania Lozansky, Niraj Shah and Ashruf Megahed.
May 19&20 – Datathon Food Loss and Waste (FLW)
Under the Partnership and resulting from the creative ideas of a young intern to the FLW group of the Ag GP, 9 teams of IT/AI students/young professionals competed for smart data-driven solutions to help reduce food loss and waste or generate insights in to data. Teams worked for 24 hours straight from Saturday 2pm till Sunday 2pm. I introduced them to the topic with a short intro to the WB and a presentation on FLW, while also featuring on the jury the next day. Further domain expertise was provided by Eduardo Nakasone of IFPRI (also on the jury) and a team of international students from Wageningen University. It was held at the premises of Xomnia, a young and fast growing data analytics company in Amsterdam. The winning team, young IT professionals from Schiphol Airport (see image), created a platform to match supply and demand for cold storage and cooled transport in (Northern) India in order to reduce loss, optimize capacity utilization and farmer benefits. In follow-up they have now been connected to Wageningen University Food & Biobased Research, involved with two WB agricultural value chain projects in N-India. While this 24-hour datathon should not be expected to lead to immediate breakthroughs, it nevertheless shows the potential of new approaches and technologies, young minds and reaching outside the box of our domain bubbles. The datathon was supported by Xomnia and the Food & Business Knowledge Platform in the Netherlands and with appreciation for IFPRI (CGIAR-PIM) encouraging Eduardo to help out with his vast expertise.
May 25 – NUFFIC – SHAEA (Strengthening Higher Agricultural Education in Africa)
On Friday 25 May I met with the Director-General of NUFFIC and staff to discuss collaboration between NUFFIC’s Orange Knowledge Program (OKP) and the WB SHAEA regional investment in African universities/higher agr. education. NUFFIC allocates funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the internationalization of education and capacity building in developing countries in collaborative efforts with Dutch educational institutions. The program has a heavy focus on food security. We are working to align part of their new OKP with the Bank’s SHAEA regional loan (in preparation). The Dutch Food & Business Knowledge Platform will co-fund the first regional SHAEA steering meeting and donor coordination meeting in July in Nairobi. NUFFIC will also participate in this meeting.
May 28 to June 1 – Food and Nutrition Security Exchange and Food First Conference
This week functioned similar to the Agricultural Forum at the Bank, when agriculture and food security related staff from Embassies in Africa and Asia, this time also from MENA, come together for exchange and learning. Particularly relevant this time as on May 18 the Dutch minister for International Trade and Development (Sigrid Kaag) published her new policy paper. The week was opened by the Minister for Agriculture (Carola Schouten). On Tuesday May 29 Ag GP’s Erick Fernandez and Caroline Franca gave a much appreciated virtual presentation of the Ag Observatory through video link in the session on Food and Nutrition Security in Fragile Settings. On Thursday May 31 at Wageningen University, we had a half day public presentation and discussion led by the Policy and Operations Evaluations Department (IOB) of their evaluation of five years of Dutch food security policy implementation (2012-2016). In the afternoon there were speed date sessions with NGO’s and knowledge and education institutions where I turned out to be much in demand. On Friday June 1st I attended the Food First Conference “Team Up with African Entrepreneurs” at Rabobank, Utrecht.
Overview Food for All Partnership
For those interested to learn a bit more about what the WBG-Netherlands Food for All Partnership is engaged in, please download the 1-pager with a selection of activities ranging from operational matchmaking, to knowledge sharing to developing more structural collaboration. It is a selection and it is not all generated from DC. Fokke Fennema works on the Partnership from the Delhi office and several Dutch Embassies and local Bank Offices are using the MoU as an entry point for collaboration (e.g. Vietnam, Myanmar, Uzbekistan).