Melle Leenstra

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Melle Leenstra is the knowledge policy coordinator at the food and nutrition cluster of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From this position he coordinates the Ministry’s support and engagement with the Food & Business Knowledge Platform, the Netherlands-CGIAR Partnership and other Agrifood knowledge programmes.

Prior to taking up his current position, Melle spent seven years at embassies in East Africa, lastly as food security and economic development advisor at the Netherlands Embassy in Nairobi.

Melle studied rural development in Wageningen and wrote a PhD dissertation on the Zambian health sector. He lives in The Hague with his wife and two daughters.



Co-creation for research in food security development

With the aim of reaching SDG2 (zero hunger and sustainable agriculture) development agencies have for a long time funded research for development. In the margins of the recent Wageningen SDG conference Melle Leenstra, policy officer food security at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was invited to give his take on the topic of the session entitled “Co-creation for impact: Donors and Knowledge institutions”. »

Smart gender policy

Recognizing the management prowess of women in agricultural family enterprises. Women’s rights, supporting women’s economic participation and female entrepreneurship are priorities on the Trade and Development agenda of the Dutch government. However, how can we effectively support this agenda in a complex sociocultural context in programmes with so many other priorities? »

Sow before you reap

Dutch development policy from aid to trade In 2010, Dutch policy for development cooperation was urged by experts to focus on agriculture as one of the areas where the Netherlands has an international comparative advantage. At the time, this prompted the minister in charge of development to make food security one of the spearhead themes »

Medium-sized, mixed family farms to feed the future: A vision for farming in Africa

Agricultural development programmes have too long focused on semi-subsistence smallholders in an effort to achieve food security. This has not contributed to the African green revolution that is sorely needed to feed the future. We have to aim instead for an agricultural sector based on medium-sized, mixed family farms, argues Melle Leenstra, First Secretary for »