Creating an agricultural sector that increases food security- Francesca Allievi

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    Food Security and Nutrition is significant to end hunger, African Harvesters discussed with the President of the BCFN Alumni Association, Francesca Allievi.
    In an exclusive interview. Francesca Allievi speaks on Food Security, Youth Inclusion in Agriculture, & Post Harvest Loss (PHL).

    See information on the interview below

    Question 1: Can you introduce yourself and what your organization does?

    My name is Francesca Allievi and I am a researcher at the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation – BCFN (https://www.barillacfn.com), I am also the President of the BCFN Alumni Association. BCFN works as a multidisciplinary and independent think tank, it is open to everybody and analyses the cause and effect relationship economic, scientific, social and environmental factors have on food. Its commitment is to produce valuable scientific content to inform and help people to make conscious choices every day about food and nutrition, health and sustainability.I am also the co-founder of Denva ( http://www.denva.eu/ ) a company offering Life Cycle Assessment and environmental offsetting services.

    Question 2: Climate Change is a significant factor one needs to consider in sustainability, kindly tell African Harvesters how this affect everyone?

    Climate Change is happening because of how humans exploit natural resources. Humans are the cause of the problem, therefore they can also be the solution: if we could all understand that it is only by learning to use the resources available differently, and more respectfully of Nature, that humans can hope to live on Earth still for many thousands of years, that would be huge step in the right direction.

    Question 3: What is your take on Africa’s preparedness towards sustainable Agriculture and the impact on food security?

    I see two opposite ways of doing agriculture: one done only for the financial gain, with no long-term vision for the common good, and one done so that it benefits everyone involved, it ensures a higher level of food security and it preserves the environmental resources as well. A lot is happening to favour the second type of agriculture, using methods that work with Nature and not against it, developing multi-cropping systems which offer multiple harvests during the year, but this is far from enough. While a lot of good examples of small scale projects that work locally exist, globally, there is still a lack for an holistic view of a food system which sees the pivotal role of sustainable agriculture in ensuring food security and achieving SDGs. We need this view in order to offer the adequate support (especially in terms of finance and policies) to all those great bottom-up initiatives that really contribute to creating an agricultural sector that increases food security while also mitigating climate change. The change is already happening, let’s give it more support to grow!

    Question 4: Putting Sustainable Agriculture in the center stage for tackling climate change is significant. What’s your take?

    I totally agree. In the past years I also cooperated with a sustainable agriculture project in the Amazon rainforest in Peru. There we used a technique called analog forestry which mimics the structure of the virgin forest: in this way, almost the same ecosystem services offered by the virgin forest were preserved also on the cultivated land, thus contributing to reducing the effects of climate change.

    Question 5: Food Security is an issue in Africa. What is your advice on attaining food sufficiency in Africa?

    Invest in the local resources, be it natural resources or human resources. I understand conditions can be harsh in some places, but you have to start locally. A multitude of small scale projects can make a big difference.

    Question 6: What is your advice/encouragement for youth in Agriculture across Africa? As the buzz for Youth Inclusion in Agribusiness is now loud?

    Be brave. Times are changing and they are changing fast: have the courage of standing up for what you believe in and always strive your best to make a difference, think long term and include the core values of care and compassion for the environment and the people around you in the work you do. It is worth it.

    Question 7: What is your purview on Food Waste, Post-Harvest loss and how this affects World Hunger?

    It is an aspect of food sustainability that deserves the closest attention: resources are limited and we cannot allow ourselves to waste as much as we do nowadays. We cannot avoid taking into consideration those that die from hunger resulting from a bad distribution of the food available. More efforts should be put in this direction, at all levels of society.

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