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Fixing Our Food & Nutrition Systems

Strategic Dialogue



  • Acknowledging the great food insecurity that has been further instigated by the spread of COVID-19, Samir Ibrahim began the conversation by delving into the global food system. In order to succeed in tackling global food insecurity, Michelle Nunn argued that we need to tackle gender inequality first. With women and girls often being the ones to eat last and eat less, Nunn emphasized that women must be a part of the solution, as they typically make up half of the workforce in developing countries. Incorporating gender inequality is therefore critical to accurately addressing this issue. 
  • Giving voice to those that she serves, Ertharin Cousin argued that women are not monolithic, and therefore we must support access to tools based on context. In order to support the advancement of a food-secure world, we need to recognize that all women are neither saviors nor victims, and we need different tools for success. 

“We need to recognize that we cannot emergency-fund our way out of hunger,” Ertharin Cousin

  • Christine Daugherty discussed PepsiCo’s inspiration to find a solution. With a massive agricultural footprint, PepsiCo is prioritizing the formation of partnerships to address local issues. With women facing many different issues in agriculture, it is crucial that these areas are addressed, as women are often left with a large amount of duties in addition to their daily work. 
  • Looking at how COVID-19 has shifted food systems, Ambassador Kelly Craft explained that the scale of poverty and starvation can feel numbing. Supply chains are deeply hurting, so we must support those who need help the most. 
  • Kim Cernak discussed the threatening effects of malnutrition, particularly with an already-significant food shortage prior to COVID-19. With an additional 10,000 kids dying at the face of malnutrition prior to the effects of COVID-19, Cernak looked at ways in which these issues can be addressed through partnerships and by coming together as a community. 
  • As highlighted by Cousin, there is a need for increased investment in regional and local food systems. Upon fixing the food system, all socio-economic backgrounds need to have access to nutritious foods. Heiko Schipper echoed the fact that those that were once being served are now being underserved. Through partnerships, Schipper explained Bayer’s plans for assisting with investment in local food systems. 
  • Outlining her experience with Walmart, and seeing the food system from that perspective, Julie Gehrki acknowledged the significant changes in demand and supply against the backdrop of the pandemic. As highlighted by Daugherty, multi-stakeholder partnerships have the ability to positively impact the ecosystem and drive meaningful progress.
  • At the local level, Nate Mook explained that COVID-19 has exposed existing crises. With schools not only educating but also feeding our youth, it is evident when the system collapses that there are major gaps. Looking at democratizing health, Mook urged for a new model that addresses the issue holistically. We have the capabilities to change the technology and the mindset, and the hope is to show that this is something that is achievable.

“You don’t solve hunger with food. You solve hunger through jobs and uplifting women,” Nate Mook

Key takeaways & next steps:

  • Greater efforts focused on women’s rights must be encouraged to fully address the issues of global food insecurity.
  • The issue of food insecurity must be addressed holistically, so that the communities that are most endangered have the opportunity to recharge. 
  • Solutions need to be context-specific, in order to actually achieve the desired support.

The 2020 Concordia Africa Initiative, taking place digitally November 16-17, will further conversations related to food security and agtech in the region.


Session Speakers