The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture: An Era of Urbanization

From by Dani Richardson
The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture: An Era of Urbanization

Nearly 1 billion people are farming in cities across the globe. But while 15-20 percent of the world’s food is currently coming from urban areas, migration of peoples to cities is increasing and could put a strain on the global food system. An agricultural policy is necessary to acknowledge this threat, which is what the  Global Forum on Food and Agriculture (GFFA) hopes to accomplish by bringing together key international actors from politics, academic, and civil society to engage in discussion and enhance understanding. 

Held for the eighth year in Berlin, from January 14th-16th, this year’s theme is “How to feed our cities?- Agriculture and rural areas in an era of urbanization” and is coinciding with International Green Week (IGW). According to Christian Schmidt, Member of the Bundestag and Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, a further outcome of these events will be to “provide guidance for the Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Summit.” This guidance would lead to the desired goal of adopting a joint Communiqué, which will “give impetus to international debates on agricultural policy and processes.” The GFFA represents the world’s largest conference of agriculture ministers, with almost 80 in attendance last year. There will also be a public International GFFA Panel Discussion, with discussions taking place in front of 1,200 international guests.

The cooperation market represents a commitment to the exchange of ideas and promotion of dialogue. This portion of the conference will host associations, companies, universities and the BMEL, and allow the showcasing of their work in the agri-food sector. Notable exhibitors include the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Global Crop Diversity Trust, and the Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO). By focusing primarily on presentations of projects rather than products, the cooperation market represents an avenue for specialist visitors and exhibitors to engage in the conversation.

The GFFA was organized by the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMEL) in cooperation with GFFA Berlin e.V., the Senate of Berlin and Messe Berlin GmbH. Expert panel discussions include such topics as rural communities and transformation, food production, migration, fair trade, and healthy food supplies. Danielle Nierenberg of FoodTank will be moderating a panel on the promotion of urban food security and nutrition through redistribution of food at risk of loss or waste.

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