The SWR Ethiopia office is hosting a regular seminar session named “Monday Knowledge Plate” starting from end of 2022 to share knowledge and experiences, gather feedbacks, and build evidence. The aim is also to use it as a useful knowledge sharing and integration platform that creates synergy between different outcome areas within and across projects working towards Ethiopian food system transformation and beyond. The seminar has a hybrid format (in person and online/virtual), and is open to all staff of all projects in SWR Ethiopia, their counterparts in Wageningen University and Research, regional team members, colleagues in partner institutes who would like to present or use this platform, and doners who may want to learn about project progresses among others. The goal is that, in the end, this regular seminar will help the SWR Ethiopia office document evidence and publish standard scientific papers in order to influence policy. The seminar is hosted by the SWR Ethiopia office and is proposed to be held every two weeks.
In this round of ‘The Monday Knowledge Plate’ seminar topic titled ‘The food Security Conundrum of sub-Saharan Africa’ was presented by Professor Ken E. Giller. He is an academic, author, and professor of Plant Production Systems at Wageningen University’s Centre for Agroecology and Systems Analysis (WaCASA). His work focuses on topics such as sub-Saharan African farming and soil fertility.
Professor Giller’s presentation focused on global food systems and the SDGs challenge, global trends in farms and farming, shrinking farm sizes in Sub-Saharan Africa, the push for cropland expansion, who determines the research agenda in/for Africa, and finally some reflections and conclusions. Professor Giller described Sub-Saharan Africa’s food security crisis as a complex and multifaceted problem. According to him, the problem is one that has been studied for years but has yet to be resolved. Food insecurity in the region is caused by a number of factors, including poverty, climate change, population pressure, and a lack of access to resources.
He explained the conundrum by stating that food security implies “abundant, affordable, and nutritious food for the growing population.” The second dilemma is that agriculture and exports are a large and integral part of many African nations development strategy which make it hard to achieve the aforementioned conundrum. Third, much farming in the region continues to be done on a small scale or by individual households, and most rural families lack the resources especially land to invest in better farming practices.
Professor Giller noted that Western scholars frequently set the research agenda in/for Africa. He briefly stated from his published paper that there are unbalanced power relationships in research collaboration and publication in Africa which need to be reduced or avoided. He said Western scholars came to Africa and inject some idea and go now and then, but he stressed that the helicopter must be grounded.
At the end of the seminar, participants raised issues that they would like to learn more as to how to contextualize the presented concepts and experiences form multiple research and countries to the Ethiopian context. He explained his insights on how technological innovations can be used effectively under existing food security conundrum, complicated by shrinking farm crop size, degraded soil fertility, increasing population for improving agricultural production and productivity.
The seminar on The Food Security Conundrum of sub-Saharan Africa, was a great success. Participants reflected that the seminar provided them an invaluable opportunity to learn from the expertise and international experience of Professor Ken E. Giller in the area of food system transformation.
Mezegebu Getenet (PhD) Sustainable Agricultural Production Senior Advisor of RAISE-FS project and facilitator of the seminar requested participants and everyone interested to make seminar presentation use of the platform.
If you want read more of Professor Ken E. Giller article, please follow the link below:https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211912420300857