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Global Growing International Dialogue: From AgriCulture to AgriBusiness (Global Growing)

2012-07-19

Global Growing International Dialogue: From 3 to 4 July 2012 representatives of European development organisations, senior experts and junior researchers gathered in Brussels. The Global Growing International Dialogue was designed to enhance the exchange of experiences and know-how in terms of agriculture and development in sub-Saharan Africa.

As part of the Europe-wide Global Growing campaign the International Dialogue took place from 3 to 4 July at COPA-COGECA’s in Brussels, the European umbrella organisation for agriculture. About 40 participants from 9 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Spain) as well as from 4 African countries (Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan) discussed awareness raising and research approaches in the field of agriculture and development.
The Global Growing campaign fosters the dialogue between interest groups from agriculture, science and research, business and politics in order to identify and raise awareness of important spheres of activity and promising approaches for agriculture and development in sub-Saharan Africa.

Participants of the International Dialogue

Agriculture needs to be at the core of economic policy making
In sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture accounts for about 60 percent of labour force. Smallholder farmers account for 80 percent of agricultural production. However, they are particularly affected by the impacts of climate change or volatile food prices. Against this backdrop, the European Union EU recognises the importance of enhancing food security as part of development policy.
In his opening keynote, Leonard Mizzi from the Directorate General Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission talked about promising agricultural development programmes such as the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme CAADP in Africa. Thereby, he also referred to a great weakness: “Regarding implementation of EU development policy, even in our national and regional indicative programming with African countries, agriculture still does not feature high in the national economic planning agenda. There needs to be more political will to put agriculture and rural development at the core of economic policy making.”

Global Growing networks researchers in the field of agriculture & development
The participants of the Global Growing International Dialogue discussed recent research findings and challenges in terms of agriculture and development. Senior experts provided insights into their recent research related to agriculture and development in Africa and Europe and its practical application. Subsequently, junior researchers presented their research within working groups focussing on agro-technical and socio-economic topics. In the working groups, the participants identified the state of the art in their fields of research as well as promising research trends in the following areas: resource management, climate and socioeconomic change, policy and legislation, participation and communication as well as technical innovation. Also, the representatives of the 8 partner organisations exchanged experiences in terms of awareness raising of agriculture and development in sub-Saharan Africa.
Finally, all participant of the International Dialogue agreed that the Global Growing campaign enhances networking between researchers and NGOs in order to exchange valuable know-how and experiences. “Apart from sharing my research findings, it was a good opportunity for me to meet and share the experience from senior and junior scientists working on agriculture and development for future partnerships”, said Lemlem A. Behailu, doctoral student at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna.

Please find the photos of the Global Growing International Dialogue here.