Visions for 2050: DIE Director Prof. Hornidge contributes to digital policy panel on the future of food

Together with the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) Michael Meister, the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) Uwe Feiler, the Head of the Division „Bioeconomy & Food Systems“ of the European Commission Peter Wehrheim, as well as Monika Schreiner, Deputy Scientific Director at the Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ), Prof. Dr. Anna-Katharina Hornidge participated as director of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) in the policy panel „Visions for 2050: Digital Policy Panel Future of Food“ moderated by the journalist Sabrina N’Diaye.

Mrs Hornidge has been part of the Food4Future consortium since its inception in 2018, which aims to develop interdisciplinary food systems for the future. In her opening statement, Prof. Dr. Anna-Katharina Hornidge highlighted global distribution challenges related to inputs for agriculture and fisheries and its products, as well as lower-carbon and climate-stabilizing food systems as two core challenges with regard to global food security. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 700 million people are currently suffering from hunger, which has been further exacerbated by the pandemic. At the same time, food security is fundamental for societal resilience and crisis management. The Covid-19 pandemic particularly has shown that, for example, due to interrupted supply chains, seeds and fertilizers were missing in the spring of 2020, at the beginning of the agricultural cycle, and thus had an immediate impact on food production. Access to land as well as the ability to cultivate land rose to the fore again in the pandemic – for families to feed themselves and for societies as an important basis for crisis resilience. This would necessitate secure land rights, access to agricultural and fisheries or aquaculture inputs. In addition, there is also a need to expand awareness in this context, particularly with regard to the gendered roles of women as traditional bearers in the transmission of agricultural and nutritional knowledge. Based on research carried out by the DIE as well as by her own research in Central Asia, Anna-Katharina Hornidge emphasized the great transmission belt of agricultural extension systems, through which access to the necessary production and market knowledge to successfully manage a small-scale agricultural enterprise, is made possible.

Anna-Katharina Hornidge also discussed the different sizes of Covid-19 stimulus packages of high-income, emerging and low-income countries, which are expected to lead to different levels of modernization in the economies. There is a danger that this will further exacerbate development disparities. Countermeasures should be taken at the multilateral level, for example in the UN or G7 context. Hornidge also referred to the report on land transformation by the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) and called for transdisciplinary approaches in the context of food transformation with respect to research and the potential end users of the solutions. Thus, the windows of opportunity to innovate ­­– the local-specific financial, agricultural and legal contexts of those addressed in the designed technological and institutional innovations, should be considered in the development processes. Hornidge sees democracy-promoting potential in transdisciplinary approaches. The horizontal design of knowledge systems promoted the fact-based discussion of societal challenges, which in turn provided an important basis for strengthening the filling of societal regulatives and the constant demand for the separation of powers.

Have a look at the digital panel:

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