Food Tank President Danielle Nierenberg to Visit West Africa

Food Tank President Danielle Nierenberg to Visit West Africa

Food Tank President Danielle Nierenberg to Visit West Africa

  Photo Courtesy of CORAF.

Photo Courtesy of CORAF.

The President of the Americas-based non-profit group, Food Tank, will visit Senegal and other West African countries from January 15 to 25, 2018.

During the visit, Danielle Nierenberg will learn, document and write about agricultural traditions and innovations in Africa. A meeting with officials of the West and Central Africa Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF) is central to the visit.

“Farmers and scientists are continually improving ways to increase the nutritional value and nutrient density of food,” says Nierenberg. “They do this while protecting natural resources and their efforts improve social equality, and create better markets for their crops.”

CORAF is Africa’s largest sub-regional research organization. It works with 23 African nations to help coordinate agricultural research and development.

“Solutions to food scarcity are developed in fields, kitchens, and laboratories, by farmers, researchers and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) across sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America,” says Nierenberg. “We have a lot to learn from CORAF and these countries.”

Economic growth from agriculture is eleven times more effective at reducing extreme poverty than any other economic sector in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Rural poverty is driving urbanization, leading to overcrowded cities and increased risks for vulnerable people.

The demand for food will continue to increase due to population growth, with more than nine billion people to feed by 2050. However, sub-Saharan Africa has the potential to dramatically increase its agricultural output, with a quarter of the world’s arable land but only ten percent of the world’s agricultural output. Traditional agriculture techniques such as agroforestry and intercropping (growing several crops together) can help create a more sustainable global agricultural system.

Both CORAF and Food Tank are interested in promoting sustainable changes in food systems across Africa and the globe, with the ultimate goals of increased food output and access.

Food Tank will share the research institution’s work to improve smallholder farmers’ livelihoods across the region. Family farmers produce 57 percent of the world’s food while increasing food security, boosting local economies, and improving nutrition. CORAF puts both producers and consumers at the center of its research, focusing on economically sustainable and culturally appropriate agribusiness and disseminating knowledge and education in the agriculture sector.

“Farmers in wealthier countries tend to think that they have so much to teach farmers in other parts of the world,” says Nierenberg. “In some cases that’s true. But what really interests me is how much we can learn from farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly as our world grows warmer and water more scarce.”

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