Hyderabad, 18 Jan 2019:Leading agriculture organizations from Africa and Asia have joined hands to take on a bold initiative to create a big new industry, with the intent of bringing some Smart Foods back on the plate as major staples. Targeting staples lays the foundation to generate major impacts on health and the agri-food system. The inaugural meeting and signing of agreements by the largest agriculture associations in Africa and Asia took place on 13th January, 2019.
This culminated in the formation of the Smart Food Executive Council led by - the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI), Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF), Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), along with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) which set in motion the Smart Food initiative in 2013.
This partnership is part of a new effort to make a major contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The approach is to focus on diversifying staples. Given that staples may typically constitute 70% of a meal and are often eaten three times a day, diversifying them can have a pronounced impact on overcoming malnutrition and poverty and coping with climate change and environmental degradation. This will contribute to the SDGs for overcoming poverty and hunger (SDG 1 and 2), responsible consumption and production (SDG 12), along with adaptation to climate change (Goal 13). The approach taken will include gender equality (SDG 5) and action through partnerships (SDG 17).