Commencing today – World Food Day – in Des Moines, Iowa, the 2019 Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium, widely known as the Borlaug Dialogue, is set to focus on the prominent global issues of food security, conflict and development.
The official theme for this year’s Borlaug Dialogue is ‘Pax Agricultura: Peace Through Agriculture’, which will cover the most pressing topics affecting global agriculture and food security today, from climate resilience and scientific innovation to diplomacy and corporate leadership.
Over 1,200 delegates from more than 65 countries are expected to attend the three-day conference, including international leaders, farmers, policymakers, agribusiness executives, NGOs, and academic, scientific and development experts. All have a common goal: to unite in the struggle against world hunger and malnutrition.
Speakers from a number of Farming First’s supporter and partner organisations – including CGIAR, GAIN, IFPRI, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and AGRA – will participate in Dialogue events. Sessions will include panel discussions, report launches and side-events, with the theme of achieving peace through agriculture underpinning the Dialogue’s proceedings.
On Thursday, attendees will gather at the Iowa State Capitol for this year’s World Food Prize Laureate Award Ceremony in honour of the 2019 Laureate Simon Groot, which is set to be a highlight of the week.
Running in tandem from 17-19 October is the Global Youth Institute, which will see 200 exceptional high school students from around the world convene in Des Moines to interact with global experts, connect with other student leaders, present their research, tour innovative facilities, get involved with hands-on projects, and attend the Borlaug Dialogue and Laureate Award Ceremony.
Peace Through Agriculture – In Action
The theme of this year’s Borlaug Dialogue centres on the part that agriculture can play in establishing peace – a feat demonstrated by the development work of Farming First supporter, Farm Africa.
Through its ongoing project in the Somali region of Ethiopia – ‘Livelihoods for refugee and host communities’ – the organisation has been helping Somalian refugees fleeing conflict since January 2018.
People rely on livestock and food aid in this arid area to make ends meet. Regular droughts have seen grasslands shrink and water sources disappear. The region hosts thousands of Somalian refugees fleeing conflict and food insecurity, which places additional pressure on the area’s dwindling natural resources and creates friction between refugee and host communities.
Farm Africa is working with Mercy Corps – as part of a Sida-funded project run by the World Food Programme – to bring 1,000 refugees and 1,000 Ethiopian hosts together, to rehabilitate degraded grazing land, turn drylands into productive farmland and gain access to the seed, irrigation equipment and spare parts needed to kick-start commercial agricultural production.