Kigali to host global food innovation forum

EU Ambassador to Rwanda Nicola Bellomo, Dr Gerardine Mukeshimana, Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources and Marco Gualtieri, Founder and Chairman of Seed and Chips chat after at the press conference in Kigali on November 21, 2019. / Emmanuel Kwizera

Rwanda will, next year, host the Global Food Summit (GFIS) for Africa, an event that seeks to lay strategies for eradicating hunger and malnutrition.

The development was disclosed on November 21, 2019, at a press conference in Kigali.

Summit which co-hosted with Seeds & Chips, an international exhibitions firm, will take place from November 3 to 5, 2020.

It targets more than 3,000 participants from across the African continent and the world, said Marco Gualtieri, Founder and Chairman of Seed & Chips.

Food insecurity, he said, is considered the most pressing issue facing humanity today.

“Food security means giving everyone access to sustainable and healthy food.  This means that while food is accessible, it doesn’t mean that it is safe, healthy. So this is a challenge,” he said.

Gualtieri said that the use of technology can make a difference in accelerating the process of improving the food system.

“The food system that we have at the global point of view is broken, doesn’t work anymore. And, we should look at innovations in order to reach a more sustainable food system,” he said.

For example, he explained, precision agriculture is an emerging industry.

“Using different technologies like space technology including satellite, drones and sensors, Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data and blockchain, can improve our food production [through] reducing water waste, reducing fertilisers and stopping [use of] pesticides,” he said.

“This is an industry that will reach a few billions of US dollars in the next years. I think that Rwanda can play a great role [in this field],” he said.

Dr Gerardine Mukeshimana, Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, said that Africa still has the highest prevalence of hunger and malnutrition, which she said must change.

Almost 260 million people in Africa are hungry, according to the 2019 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, a report by the FAO.

Globally, there are an estimated 820 million hungry people – or about 11 per cent of the global population, the report says.

“We should take advantage of the development in technology to achieve better results in the food sector,” she said.

Rwanda Convention Bureau’s Chief Executive Officer, Nelly Mukazayire, said that the Summit is also in line with the country’s efforts to promote conference tourism.

“We are really thrilled by the idea of thousands of people we will be hosting in this country from innovators, inventors, policymakers, businesspeople in different sectors to discuss that matter (food innovation)...,” she said.

The Global Food Innovation Summit has been held in Milan, Italy every year since its inception in 2015.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com