FAO’s Award for Innovation for Sustainable Food SystemsBy Sofía Hanna | Thu, 10/07/2021 - 18:11
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Federal Government of Switzerland announced the winners of the International Award for Innovation for Sustainable Food Systems 2021. The purpose of this forum is to help identify solutions that respond to threats such as pests, plagues, conflicts and climate change that appeared after the pandemic and are shaping a global food crisis.
In addition, to generate solutions, this award contributes with the amount of US$30,000 aimed to promote their business development. This year’s winner went to Ifarm360, a startup that allows investors to finance small farmers in Kenya collectively. In addition, Enveritas was honored for using digital technology and innovation to carry out sustainability verification of unorganized and underserved small coffee producers around the world. , “I wish to convey my appreciation to the Government of Switzerland for the effective partnership that has led to this successful outcome. It also affirms the value of our shared goal: to promote game-changing solutions through approaches and innovative people. I am convinced that transformative change is only possible if young people are engaged and the potential of digitization is harnessed in the agriculture and food sector,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu
Ifarm360 wants to ensure that farmers are the biggest beneficiaries of the decade-long US$1 trillion food economy. They are centered with Kinyanju, which is part of a smallholder farmer group that primarily farms potatoes as the core economic activity. From their small farms, they have been able to provide children education, re-vamp their homes and resiliently contributed to the economic growth of Nakuru county. The company connects farmers directly to markets and reduces inefficiencies across the food supply chain and post-harvest losses.
Enveritas, by its side, is a non-profit founded in 2016 aimed to overcome systemic barriers that prevent the application of proven solutions for ending poverty among smallholder coffee growers. Its focus on innovation revolves around new, better, faster, and cheaper solutions to entrenched problems that can help the world. This is necessary because The majority of smallholder coffee farmers lack access to high-value markets for sustainable coffee. They are excluded not necessarily because their practices fall short of sustainability standards but because the economics of verifying their activities are more challenging.
FAO and the Swiss Federal Government established the awards in 2018 in an effort to foster innovation through public recognition of best practices in the field of sustainable food and agriculture. Every year individuals, private companies and institutions are invited to submit a nomination for an innovation that contributes to Sustainable Development Goals 1 (End poverty) and 2 (Zero hunger).