Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Friday, January 21, 2022

Announcement: Final Selection of ACP AIRTEA Third-Party Projects to be Funded in Kenya, Rwanda & Uganda

The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa
 (FARA), together with the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) and the East African Farmers’ Federation (EAFF) are pleased to announce that the eleven (11) Third-Party Projects listed in the table below have been selected for funding under the project “Strengthening Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Ecosystem for Inclusive Rural Transformation and Livelihoods in Eastern Africa†(AIRTEA).  The AIRTEA project is supported by the Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) through the ACP Innovation Fund which is funded by the European Union (EU).  The AIRTEA project is being implemented in three countries (Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda) under FARA, ASARECA and EAFF coordination.


The selection of the 11 third-party projects was overseen by the three coordinating institutions and followed a rigorous and competitive evaluation process involving 112 proposals that were submitted in response to the AIRTEA call. 


Third-party projects will start from March 1, 2022, for two and a half years.


FARA, ASARECA and EAFF congratulate the consortia that conceived and developed the 11 third-party projects selected for funding.  We wish to register our strong appreciation of the 101 consortia that responded to the AIRTEA project call with proposals that were not selected.  We wish the consortia responsible for implementing the selected projects success in delivering the expected outcomes and impact of the AIRTEA project and look forward to working with them towards this goal.




Name of Project

Lead Institution

Project country(ies)


Harnessing multi-stakeholder innovation platforms for knowledge transfer and aquaculture value chain development in Uganda

Abi Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Abi)



Enhancing inclusive market access for African Indigenous Vegetable seed and value-added products by Smallholder farmers in Uganda

Uganda Christian University (UCU)



Upgrading of silver cyprinid (Rastrineobola argentea) value chain through multi-stakeholder partnerships and novel climate-smart postharvest processing technologies and practices for improved rural livelihoods

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT)



Strengthening cassava innovation ecosystem and knowledge transfer for inclusive rural livelihoods development in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda

University of Nairobi (UoN)

Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda


Digital Connectors for farming communities

Africa Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS)

Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda


Unlocking productivity within small holder farming systems through use of geospatial technology (GIS), artificial intelligence and biological technologies in the face of climate change

Koppert Biological Systems (KBS)



Promoting technologies and innovations for improving access to quality potato seeds by small holder farmer through strengthening potato seed systems and multi-stakeholder collaboration in Rwanda

Seed Potato Fund Joint Ventures Ltd (SPF)



Technology Transfer through Innovation Systems: Enhancing Smallholder farmers’ capacity for profitable and sustainable potato production

Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB)

Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda


Leveraging The Benefits of Multi Stakeholders Partnership to Support Rural Women and Youth in Dairy Sector in Kenya

Cooperatives Alliance of Kenya



Retaining next generation farmers in agribusiness through enhanced knowledge sharing platforms along with the dairy and selected grain value chains in Uganda

AGRENES (Agriculture, Environment, and Ecosystems) Limited



Youth Leading Changes in Resilient Private Extension and Advisory Services for Job and Wealth Creation

Youth Engagement in Agriculture Network (YEAN)


For further enquiries, please contact 


Originally published at

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Understanding the evidence for Agroecology, Regenerative approaches, and Indigenous foodways

Global Alliance for the future of food (2021) Politics of knowledge: Understanding the evidence for Agroecology, Regenerative approaches, and Indigenous foodways #103 p. 

Translated versions of The Politics of Knowledge‘s key messages are also available in: French and Spanish.

Visit this multimedia interactive for a summary of the report, featuring case studies, stories, video, and audio from around the world.

6 December 2021. This webinar event marked the launch of The Politics of Knowledge: Understanding the Evidence for Agroecology, Regenerative Approaches, and Indigenous Foodways — a new compendium tackling the dominant questions about evidence that are holding back food systems transformation. Authors unpack the narratives and legacies that unpin these questions and explore the many ways funders, researchers, and policymakers can take transformative action.

Bringing together diverse speakers and an audience of funders, policymakers, as well as researchers and advocates, the event challenged attendees’ existing ideas and assumptions about evidence and decision making, whilst offering a space for rich dialogue and engagement about the future of food.

  • Highlight emerging coalitions, evidence, and policy actions that advance agroecology, regenerative approaches, and Indigenous foodways
  • Provide entry points for funders to activate a research and action agenda that is focused on political and social justice, the right to food, and food sovereignty
  • Create a space for dialogue amongst global and local audiences about food systems transformation.
Speakers included: 
  • Jane Maland Cady, Collaborative Crop Research Program/McKnight Foundation
  • Mamadou Goita, Institute for Research and Promotion of Alternatives in Development
  • Peter Gubbels, Groundswell; 
  • Anna Lappe, Food and Democracy Program at Panta Rhea Foundation; 
  • Francisco Rosado-May, The Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty; 
  • Maywa Montenegro de Wit, Agroecology Research-Action Collective; 
  • Amaury Peeters, Louvain Cooperation and FAO TAPE
  • Swati Renduchintala, Andhra Pradesh Community Natural Farming; 
  • Ruth Richardson, Global Alliance for the Future of Food; 
  • Emma Siliprandi, Agricultural Officer with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; 
  • Mariam Sow, ENDA Pronat

11 January 2022. TABLE and the Global Alliance for the Future of Food hosted a panel discussion centred around the “Politics of knowledge”, the first section of the Global Alliance report: Understanding the evidence for Agroecology, Regenerative approaches, and Indigenous foodways.

  • Francisco Rosado-May (report contributor) Founding President and Full Professor, Universidad Intercultural Maya de Quintana Roo Member (Mayan Intercultural University and works with The Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty.
  • Hassan Roba (report contributor) Program Officer for the African Rift Valley for The Christensen Fund
  • Clara I. Nicholls (report contributor) Centro Latinoamericano de Investigaciones Agroecológicas
  • Sara FarleyManaging Director, Integrated Operations, Food Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation
  • Tim SearchingerSenior Fellow and Technical Director, Food Program, World Resources Institute
  • Mario Herrero Professor of sustainable food systems and global change in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University

About TABLE: TABLE is a global platform for knowledge synthesis, for reflective, critical thinking and for inclusive dialogue on debates about the future of food.

About the Global Alliance for the Future of Food: The Global Alliance is a strategic alliance of philanthropic foundations working together and with others to transform global food systems now and for future generations.

This compendium is organized in 5 sections:

Section 1 discusses the broader meaning of evidence, the power and politics that shape and infuse our understanding of evidence, what counts as evidence, the broad range of ways evidence is documented, and the historical, epistemological roots that shape our understanding of agroecology, regenerative approaches, and Indigenous foodways.

Section 2 is shaped by five dominant questions identified by the Contributors as contested ground in agroecology, regenerative approaches, and Indigenous foodways.

  1. Can these approaches feed the world?

  2. Can these approaches be scaled?

  3. Can these approaches provide meaningful livelihoods?

  4. Can these approaches solve the climate, biodiversity, and soils crises?

  5. Can these approaches accelerate transformation?

Section 3 provides insights into how evidence is mobilized across different constituencies — who is asking for evidence, for whom, and in what form? Two key findings are that:

  1. different food systems actors (farmers, policymakers, and donors, for example) require different evidence;

  2. relationship-building with these different actors is a key strategy for mobilization.

Section 4 outlines five priority areas to catalyze a transformative research and action agenda that is transdisciplinary; is focused on political and social justice and the right to food and food sovereignty; and challenges entrenched power, vested interests, and structural lock-ins.

  1. Support comparative and systems performance research

  2. Explore questions of scale, time, and space;

  3. Build capacity for transdisciplinary and participatory research and training;

  4. Support knowledge and evidence mobilization as well as communication;

  5. Accelerate transformational pathways.


  1. Diverse forms of evidence, knowledge, and expertise — including lived experience and traditional knowledge as well as case studies, scientific analyses, and peer-reviewed literature — are fundamental to shifting mindsets and forming the basis for action.

  2. Evidence in support of agroecology, regenerative approaches, and Indigenous foodways exists in a battleground — one of many over knowledge and power.

  3. The political power behind the dominant narratives that marginalize agroecology, regenerative approaches, and Indigenous foodways influences the way that evidence is considered and legitimizes existing power relationships in food systems.

  4. Measuring success, performance, and resilience through a wider systems lens provides evidence on the multifunctional benefits of agroecology, regenerative approaches, and Indigenous foodways.

  5. Encouraging and embracing diverse forms of evidence to be generated, gathered, and communicated increases the legitimacy of agroecology, regenerative approaches, and Indigenous foodways and helps identify gaps that need to be addressed.

  6. Evidence on its own does not catalyze change due to structural barriers, such as short-term thinking, cheap food, export orientation, and narrow measures of success, that keep industrial food systems locked in place. Unlocking these structural barriers requires changing our research, education, and innovation systems.

  7. To accelerate systemic transformation that will build equitable, sustainable food systems, we need to decolonize and democratize knowledge systems within education, research, and innovation.

  8. Participatory, transdisciplinary research and action agendas that bring together farmers, researchers, policymakers, donors, consumers, and other actors across food systems are key to leveraging food systems transformation.

  9. The continued absence of robust and consistent policy, institutional, and financial support for agroecology, regenerative approaches, and Indigenous foodways must be addressed. Funding for long-term research and inclusive programs designed in partnership with farmers and food provisioners, Indigenous Peoples, and women must be a key priority.

  10. Funders and donors must step up to catalyze a transformative research and action agenda that:

    1. is transdisciplinary;

    2. is focused on political and social justice and the right to food and food sovereignty, and

    3. challenges entrenched power, vested interests, and structural “lock-ins.”

Videos and farmer-to-farmer learning for a more sustainable agriculture

Hörner, D., Bouguen, A., Frölich, M. und Wollni, M. (2021): Knowledge and adoption of complex agricultural technologies – Evidence from an extension experiment. The World Bank Economic Review. DOI: 10.1093/wber/lhab025 #23 p.

11 January 2022.
Rural 21. In most of Sub-Saharan Africa, agricultural extension models have become more
complex and rely on effective farmer-to-farmer learning, while increasingly including non-traditional forms of education. In cooperation with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, a research team led by Göttingen University have investigated how training methods can spread good practice in Ethiopia.

Smallholder family farms shape the agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, they are often affected by declining soil fertility as well as hunger and poverty. Farming practices that increase productivity as well as protecting the soil are therefore crucial. 

In collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), researchers from the Universities of Göttingen and Mannheim (both in Germany) and Santa Clara (California), have investigated how training methods can spread good practice in Ethiopia. The results were published in the journal The World Bank Economic Review in December.

The team found evidence that farmers who were not directly trained by model farmers also used the practices more often – an indication of informal information transfer in the villages. 
"Apart from finding that information was informally trickling down to the group of farmers
who weren’t receiving training personally from a model farmer, we found that there was a significant additional benefit for this particular group from watching the educational video," 
Dr Denise Hörner from the University of Göttingen

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The 2021 EU Agricultural Outlook conference

8 - 9 December 2021. The 2021 EU Agricultural Outlook conference. The theme of this year’s event
was ‘Fit for 2030 – resilient EU agri-food systems and conference coincides with the release of the annual report on market prospects. 

The conference examined what we expect global agricultural markets to look like in 2030, in light of the political and market uncertainty currently facing the agricultural sector. Will food systems be more resilient following the Covid-19 pandemic? Will the new common agricultural policy effectively encourage farmers across Europe to embrace the green transition?

Senior representatives from EU bodies and international organisations, farmers, agricultural experts and rural actors discussed these questions, as well as the broader medium-term outlook for agricultural markets, income and environment.

The EU Agricultural Outlook conference has become a successful annual event for broad exchanges among stakeholders on market prospects in agriculture, including the political framework and uncertainties surrounding market developments in the next 10 years. Each year the conference coincides with the release of the annual report on market prospects.

SESSION 2 - Making peace with nature: solutions for a planet in crisis

Keynote speech - Inger La Cour Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme


SESSION 3 – Setting the scene - the agricultural outlook in 2030

Highlights of the 2021 report “EU agricultural outlook for markets, income and environment 2021–2031” and the global perspective #83 p.  + Executive summary: EU agricultural outlook 2021-31 #8 p.
  • Moderator: Tamsin Rose
  • Tassos Haniotis, Acting Deputy Director General at the European Commission, DG Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Beth Bechdol, Deputy Director General, FAO

SESSION 4 – Resilient EU agri-food systems: the farmers’ point of view

How do we measure resilience in agri-food systems?
  • Miranda Meuwissen, Professor, Wageningen University Research
Short presentations/videos/inspiring examples: Sharing experiences to improve resilience of agri-food systems
  • Simon Vetter, Farmer, Vetterhof
  • Morgan Ody, , Farmer, Via Campesina ECVC
  • Edina Ocsko, Coordinator of the Horizon 2020 FARMWELL Thematic Network
Panel discussion: Which are the key drivers to improve resilience of agri-food systems in the EU?
  • Mihail Dumitru, Deputy Director General at the European Commission, Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Agnieszka Maliszewska, General Director, Polish Chamber of Milk
  • Cees Vermaan, Chair of the EC mission board ‘Soil, Health and Food’ and former Dutch Minister of Agriculture
  • Francesca Hennig Possenti, Senior Lawyer at John Deere GmbH & Co. KG

SESSION 5 – Farming’s contribution to the “Fit for 55” package - Report
  • PARALLEL SESSION 5A – Climate neutral farming systems
  • PARALLEL SESSION 5B – Bioeconomy
  • PARALLEL SESSION 5C – Organics
  • PARALLEL SESSION 5D – The role of trade
SESSION 6 – General market situation
SESSION 7 - The agricultural outlook for arable crops and sugar
SESSION 8 - The agricultural outlook for specialised crops
SESSION 9 - The agricultural outlook for meat and dairy

Upcoming webinars and meetings

11 January 2022. Webinar Meeting Consumers Where They Are – Innovative Approaches to Food Safety

11 January 2022. TABLE and the Global Alliance for the Future of Food hosted a panel discussion centred around the “Politics of knowledge”, the first section of the Global Alliance report: Understanding the evidence for Agroecology, Regenerative approaches, and Indigenous foodways.

19 January - 21 January 2022. Budapest, Hungary. 42nd session of the European Commission on Agriculture To assist the region’s Members in cooperating on agricultural problems and to make recommendations on all matters within its geographical and technical competence, FAO convenes the European Commission on Agriculture every two years, between sessions of the FAO Regional Conference for Europe.

19 January 2022. 14:00 to 15:00 CET 2022 IFAD Innovation Challenge Behavioural Approaches to Innovation? Part 2 of the Workshop on Behavioural Design by ideas42.

19 January 2022. 12:00-13:00 GMT The Big Fish Series: Can you eat the whole fish? Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, coordinated the H2020 project GAIN – Green Aquaculture INtensification in Europe

19 January 2022. Making agrifood systems more resilient to shocks and stresses. By IFPRI

20 January 2022. INTPA Infopoint.  Activer la transformation durable et inclusive des systèmes alimentaires - Cas du Sénégal et de la République Démocratique du Congo

20 January 2022. 11:00-14:00 GMT. eDialogue on Equitable and Sustainable Transformation of Food Systems: Emerging Challenges and Regional Realities

24 - 28 January 2022. The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) is an international conference on central issues of vital importance for global agricultural and food policies. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has not yet been overcome worldwide, the GFFA will once again take place in a virtual format.
  • The digital platform will open 17 January 2022
  • 26/01: CFS at the 2022 Global Forum on Food and Agriculture (GFFA) 
25 January 2022. 10:00-11:15 GMT. Webinar: How can we build community wealth through food and farming?

26 January 2022. Accelerating private sector investments in D4Ag solutions for small-scale producers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

26 January 2022. GFAR Challenging and provocative topics related to agrifood system transformation, climate change and innovations in agriculture. Four editions of GFAR Talks will be held over the course of 2022, each lasting 60 minutes. Two speakers will be invited to give their unique perspectives on a particular topic and will then move to a session dedicated to questions and comments. Prof. Dr. Sayed Azam-Ali will moderate GFAR Talks.

26 January 2022. eGFRID - Remittances and investment: how migrants finance sustainable development by IFAD. The webinar will shed light on the two modalities of migrants’ financial contribution to their countries of origin – remittances and investment – and their complementarities.

26 January 2022. 17:15-18:45 GMT. Food Thinkers: Fidelity Weston - Farming beef in Veganuary

27 January 2022. 3:30 PM Central European Standard Time. The Use of Smart Subsidy in Impact-Linked Agricultural Finance

15 February2022 | Leap4FNSSA -  Future AU-EU Funder’s Collaboration - For Funders Only

10 February 2022. Africa-Europe D4D Hub Multi-Stakeholder Forum. This forum will be an opportunity for the African Union Commission and the European Commission to give an update on the status of the implementation of digital initiatives and programmes.

15 February 2022. 2:00 - 5:00 pm EAT. Fifth Intergovernmental Review Meeting on the Implementation of the Global Programme of Action (GPA) - by United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities

16-17 February 2022. 7th EU-AFRICA Business Forum (EABF22)

17-18 February 2022. European Union - African Union summit - Contacted by Euractiv (22/12) the European Commission said it is too early at this stage to know about a list of agriculture topics to be discussed at the summit.

20 February 2022. @ 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM. Expo Dubai. Food, Agriculture and Livelihood Focus Week

20 February 2022. 12:00 - 1:00 pm EST NASA Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) Policy Speaker Series talk: Towards the Global Atlas of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) and Negative Emission Technologies (NETs)

22 February 2022. 7:00 - 8:30 am EST. Circular business models enabled by due diligence – testimonies from African textile SMEs by United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)

24 February 2022. CFS Ministerial Event at the Agri-food Innovation Days at Dubai Expo 

28 February - + March 2022. Middle East and North Africa Climate Week 2022

3-4 March 2022. UNEP@50

9 March, 2022. Independent UNFSS Dialogue Future Foods - Johannesburg, South Africa

Matching farmers to innovation in Africa makes communities resilient to climate change

6 January 2022. EurActiv. Climate action for communities across Africa will be front and center of debate in next year’s COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, with greater emphasis than usual on the role of agriculture, farming and food systems, which are central to so many African economies.

It’s critical that we better understand how farmers actually adopt climate-smart agricultural technologies and practices on the massive scale needed to address the climate crisis.

Projects like ‘Building Livelihoods and Resilience to Climate Change in East and West Africa’ – funded by the European Union and supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) – deploy Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D) to answer how.

What this EU-IFAD supported project in Africa shows is how – on the frontlines of climate change – there is ample opportunity to connect and capitalise on all the innovation that’s already happening in communities vulnerable to climate change.

The goal of this project is to build livelihoods and improve resilience to climate change of smallholder farmers of East Africa (Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia) and West Africa (Mali, Senegal, Niger and Ghana) through the large-scale adoption of CSA technologies and practices.

This project tackles many of the issues central to IFAD's strategy - driving transformation in agriculture and tackling the root causes of climate change, youth unemployment, gender inequality and shortfalls in nutrition around the world. 

This EU-IFAD project looks at value chains and how we can enhance market access for women and young people through innovative methods (such as digital agriculture) and the examination of CSA technology and practices through a gender lens. 

Led by CCAFS' Climate-Smart Technologies and Practices Flagship, the project has two main objectives:

  • Gain new knowledge on scalable CSA technologies and the options available for institutions. This new knowledge must show demonstrable benefits to farmers (including women farmers) and young people, with positive impact on employment, climate resilience and low emissions development. 
  • Engage ongoing initiatives to help prioritize the 'best bet' policy options 

The innovations and partnerships were delivered under the ‘Building Livelihoods and Resilience to Climate Change in East and West Africa’ project. The project is kindly supported with a grant from the European Union, delivered via the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), under grant number 2000002575, implemented by Alliance Bioversity-CIAT with AR4D support from the European Commission.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Lessons from UNFSS for agricultural innovation and research

Science and Innovations for Food Systems Transformation and Summit Actions

This Reader (September 2021, #452 p.) reported about the findings of the Scientific Group of the UN Food Systems Summit (ScGroup) along with selected briefs prepared by its global partners.

The UNFSS Scientific Group (ScGroup) was responsible to bear the foremost scientific evidence to the United Nations 2021 Food Systems Summit by helping stakeholders and participants to access shared knowledge about experiences, approaches, and tools for driving sustainable food systems.

There are strong synergies between SDG2 and other related SDGs. The synergies and trade-offs are illustrated in particular, SDG1 (no poverty) is central for food security and can unlock many additional benefits across the SDGs. SDG2 is closely integrated with SDG3 (good health and well-being) due to the close link between malnutrition and maternal and child health, as well as deaths associated with poor diet. Other socioeconomic SDGs — including SDG4 (education), SDG5 (gender equality), SDG8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG10 (reduced inequality), SDG11 (sustainable cities and communities), SDG16 (peace, justice and strong institutions). (p. 25)

Strategic propositions included 1) strengthening research cooperation between science communities and Indigenous Peoples knowledge communities, 2) calling on governments to spend at least 1% of food systems GDP on food systems science, and 3) establishing pathways toward strong science - policy interfaces at national and international levels to enable evidence-based follow up to action agendas established at the summit.  
“Sustainable food systems are: productive and prosperous (to ensure the availability of sufficient food); equitable and inclusive (to ensure access for all people to food and to livelihoods within that system); empowering and respectful (to ensure agency for all people and groups, including those who are most vulnerable and marginalized to make choices and exercise voice in shaping that system); resilient (to ensure stability in the face of shocks and crises); regenerative (to ensure sustainability in all its dimensions); and healthy and nutritious (to ensure nutrient uptake and utilization)” (HLPE, 2020).

"A recent innovation is the assessment of the adequacy, affordability and access to healthy diets included in the 2020 SOFI report. If continually updated, this indicator could become a comprehensive proxy for monitoring progress on ensuring safe, nutritious food for all."  

Below is a selection of extracts on agricultural innovation and research.

The problems of food systems are to a significant extent due to long delays between scientific warnings and policy responses, innovation-stifling regulatory regimes, low levels of science investments, and a lack of effective communication by science communities themselves. Moreover, inclusive research in many fields of food systems offers opportunities, where local communities are co-creators in the research and development of innovations with scientists who are open to related collaboration. (p.15)

Science is not naïve vis á vis power relations, and social sciences explicitly uncover them and must identify options for innovations that help to overcome adverse effects. (p.16)

Investments in capacity for science and innovation need to expand, with more attention to strengthening local research capacities, developing more inclusive, transparent, and equitable science partnerships, promoting international research cooperation and addressing intellectual property rights issues where they hinder innovations that can serve food and nutrition security, food safety, and sustainability goals. (p.16)

Science has at least two important roles for food systems: first, science generates new breakthroughs that can become innovations in food systems (e.g. genomics, plant nutrition, animal production and health, bio-sciences, earth sciences, social sciences, remote sensing, AI and robotics, digitization, remote sensing, big data, health and nutrition science, behavioral research, etc.); and second, science helps to inform and shape decisions, investments, policies and institutions and it can also be involved in the design, implementation and monitoring of action to learn and draw lessons for impact at scale. (p.19)

Considerably more science is needed to understand the drivers in the processing, marketing and food environments. (p.20)

Specific science opportunities for innovations include genetic engineering, genome editing, alternative protein (including more plant-based and insect-derived protein) sources and essential micronutrient sources, cell factories, microbiome and soil and plant health technologies, plant nutrition technologies, animal production and health technologies. These advances in science and technology have great potential to meet food system challenges such as restoring soil health and functionality, improving the resource efficiency of cropping systems, breeding orphan and underserved crops, and re-carbonization of the terrestrial biosphere. Modern plant breeding techniques that allow plants to capture nitrogen from the air reduce the need for fertilizers and improve nutritional qualities. 

However, it must not be neglected that there are potential risks associated with science-based innovations that need to be considered within the science systems and with societal dialogues through transparency, ethical standards and reviews, biosafety measures, and – where needed – with regulatory policies. Adopting the One Health approach, i.e. the health of soil, plants, animals, people, ecosystems and planetary processes, being one and indivisible, would make an important  contribution. (p.22)

Developing bio-science and digital innovations and ensuring that they – especially the potentially controversial technologies – contribute to sustainability is not sufficient; rather, it will be important to adapt them to local conditions, make them accessible and affordable to farmers, especially smallholders, and use them to enhance local and traditional knowledge. It will also be important to  have open information sharing so that users are aware of the opportunities, costs and benefits of new  innovations and able to better use the available technology and implement innovations. To ensure that poor communities are not left behind, governments of countries in the global South need to invest in the creation of capacities and expertise to develop and utilize bio-sciences and digital technologies and receive support for that from development partners. (p.23)

Enabling food systems transformations requires constant investment in science that has the potential to serve positive change in systems. In 2018, the world science “output” in terms of peer-reviewed publications was 4.04 million, and of these 14% related to agricultural and biological sciences (about 298,000) and environmental sciences (about 273,000).84 Thousands of potentially game-changing insights are generated by the world science communities every year. More attention is needed to identify actionable insights for innovations and that requires strengthening capacity and innovative financing. (p.29)

Because significant components of food systems are local, the Summit has to ensure that its outcomes and deliverables turn into positive local actions. This requires science aligning with national and local agendas for implementation actions. The proximity of science to decision-making is important to connect the timeliness and relevance of science to policy where and when it is needed.  (p.30)

The effective and independent participation of research communities from low-income countries and emerging economies in the SPI must be strengthened to enhance credibility, relevance and legitimacy. (...) Anti-science sentiments exist in parts of society. While pursuing new insights and truths, there are many issues on which scientists themselves do not agree, which sometimes irritates policy-makers and practitioners. Adhering to responsible and ethical principles, science must collaborate with a broad range of stakeholders. (p.31)

We call upon governments and UN agencies to initiate a process to explore options – existing as well as new – for a global SPI for a sustainable food system. This includes the CGIAR, the Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation (GFAR), the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE), and the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP). (p.39)

UN agencies and their partners have converged through various mechanisms for food security coordination (e.g. FSIN, the Global Network Against Food Crises, expanding the SOFI collaborators, the CFS Global Strategic Framework, etc.). Strengthening the global governance and accountability regarding safe and nutritious food for all and sustainable food systems is key for meeting the challenges ahead and will require cross-sectoral integration of policies. (p.60)

Strengthening national policy scenarios and foresight is also necessary. Moreover, improved indicators of food systems (see SOFI, 2020) are required that could provide more holistic measures that capture safety, nutrition, inequality and sustainability. (p.60)

Context matters and comprehensive national action plans are crucial for setting out actions suited
to the particular economic, agricultural, social and dietary preferences of the particular nation. Careful consideration of the trade-offs and co-benefits of any actions will be necessary at different levels (sub-national, national, regional and global). Likewise, there may be ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ in each action adopted to transform to more sustainable food systems. The losses and gains will vary depending on the context but could include a loss of income and livelihoods across the food system. (...) 
More research is needed to identify the most adequate, affordable, healthy and sustainable diets across different contexts.  (p.77)

At national level, government food safety systems monitor compliance with official standards through food inspections. While metrics are considered key to monitoring and improving performance, they can also have unintended consequences, including focusing efforts on the thing to be measured rather than the ultimate goal of improving the thing being measured, stifling innovation through standardisation, costs that increase in disproportion to benefits attained, incentivising perverse behaviour to game metrics and reduced attention to things that are not measured, the balance and potential of large multinationals vs. small and medium-sized enterprises, short vs. long value chains, and low- and middle-income countries.  (p.91)

The role of science and innovation will be essential for deploying interventions at scale and at low costs, and for minimising the potential trade-offs arising. Transparent multi-stakeholder dialogues will be key at all stages of planning the appropriate transition pathways towards our desired global goals of healthy diets, healthy ecosystems and prosperity for all. (p.98)

As illustrated by the land sharing vs land sparing debate (Phalan et al., 2011), a balance needs to be found between the possible impacts from cropland on local biodiversity and the losses induced by agricultural land expansion. Some authors insist on the importance of the local context and the analysis of specific landscape scenarios to assess the best strategy for biodiversity between an intensification (sparing) or an extensification (sharing) approach (Law and Wilson, 2015). (p.121)

Hertel et al. (2020) compares food security impacts at the horizon 2050 for Africa depending on the level of technological spill-ins versus domestic R&D investment and trade integration (virtual technology import). They find that trade would be the most promising strategy for food security, and spill-ins would remain superior to domestic R&D efforts due to the slow pace of investment and poor performance of R&D institutions in Africa compared to other regions. However, this scenario would only stand if other regions kept using their productivity gains to provide more food instead of sparing natural resources. (p.123)

The Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) in the EU has improved the harmonisation of research activities across countries of the EU. A prominent example in the domain of the UNFSS is the JPI FACCE (Food Security, Agriculture and Climate Chan,) which is presently further developed to also link research to national and EU stakeholders including policy makers to better coordinate research and policies. (p.217)

Public and private investment in research on nature-positive food systems has been substantially
lower in comparison to other innovative approaches, which results in significant and persistent knowledge gaps (HLPE, 2019). A systems-oriented, transdisciplinary, and long-term field research approach is clearly lacking. Therefore, there is a disconnect in the knowledge and advisory systems
required to support nature-positive food systems and build the capacity of actors. There is also a shortage of inter- and transdisciplinary research on nature-positive food systems that takes into account the context specificity of the approaches. Nature-positive system thinking and solutions are not sufficiently well integrated into the curricula of universities and farmer schools. (...) Further research is therefore needed to better understand which government policies can support nature-positive food systems and multi-functionality of agriculture more generally. Importantly, more information is needed on the public and private costs of sectoral approaches that result in contradicting and conflicting policies.

Further research and an improved understanding of the role of the food system in the context of Global One Health may provide additional entry points via the food system for sustainable, culturally acceptable and economically feasible interventions. (...) The European Commission is moving towards a code of conduct for participants in the food supply chain, which could be considered at a global level. Most recently, in September 2020, a One Health High-Level Expert Council by UN Environment, FAO, OIE and WHO was created to address risks at the human-animal-environment interface. When consumers, producers and governments combine their efforts and take a Global One Health approach to re-design the agri-food system, significant steps can be made towards food system resilience and better health.  (p.397)

When it comes to developing extension systems that align with agroecological approaches, publicly funded extension services are crucial. Tackling them requires re-configuring knowledge and extension systems in ways that place a much greater emphasis on participation and social learning, e.g. farmer-to-farmer learning and onfarm demonstrations.  (p.405)

Agricultural research projects and partnerships too often remain focused on one-way knowledge transfer via institutes based in the Global North. It is therefore crucial not only to promote a shift towards agroecological research but also to rebalance North-South power relations through equal research partnerships and direct access to research funding. Additionally, increased funding to build lasting bridges for South-South collaboration is needed. Supporting the emergence of long-term partnerships and coalitions with a focus on agroecology, local ownership, and the meaningful involvement of social movements and farmers’ organizations is equally important. In parallel, the Public-Private Partnership model that is so central to current AgR4D needs to be continually scrutinized with regard to the delivery of benefits vis-à-vis the SDGs (Biovision & IPES-Food, 2020). (p.408)