Farming First Newsletter January 2015 Issue
Happy New Year from all at Farming First! 2015 is going to be a big moment for development. In one year from now, we will hopefully have a new climate deal in Paris, and a set of new Sustainable Development Goals to keep development on track. As always, we’ll be bringing you creative content, expert views and access to key events throughout the year, and we look forward to your input along the way!
Rounding Up 2014
Need a quick recap of the highlights on the sustainable agriculture calendar of 2014? Take a tour of the year with our list of ten must-see Farming First TV interviews. We went behind the scenes to interview experts at the International Food Policy Research Institute’s 2020 conference on resilience, and spoke to two heads of UN food agencies at The Economist’s Feeding the World summit. Take a look of our full list of top videos.

The International Year of Soils Is Here!
2015 is the International Year of Soils, as declared by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. To dig deeper into the issue of why soil health is so important for food and nutrition security, we hosted a Twitter Chat with experts from the Global Soil Partnership, the International Fertilizer Development Center, the African Fertilizer Agribusiness Partnership, the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical and the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development network. Lots of questions were put to our panel, and a wealth of resources on the topic we shared – reaching over 300,000 people!

If you missed the chat, you can read the whole summary here. If you still want more – you can check out our blog post “Talking Dirt: 15 Ways Soil is Getting Healthier”, as well as new video interviews with Ronald Vargas of FAO and Charlotte Hebebrand of the International Fertilizer Industry Association.

Key Steps for Resilience in Ethiopian Agriculture
Why Do We Need an International Year of Soils?
with Ronald Vargas, FAO

Key Steps for Resilience in Ethiopian Agriculture
Putting Soil Health Back on the Global Agenda
with Charlotte Hebebrand, IFA

Upcoming Media Partnerships
Farming First is proud to partner with The Economist Feeding the World Summit for the fourth consecutive year. The 2015 event will take place on February the 12th 2015 in Amsterdam and is entitled “Quality vs quantity: Food and nutrition security for 9 billion”.


Join expert speakers and attendees to debate next steps and generate fresh solutions for critical food security challenges.

Visit: for speakers and programme details.

Farming First is also pleased to act as a media partner for the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture, which will take place in Abu Dhabi on 9-11th March 2015.


100+ presentations will promote various sustainable agriculture solutions in which each speaker will have 15 minutes to explain the benefits of their innovation. Solutions presented range from creating of bio-plastic from agricultural waste, to boosting the resilience of rice through biotechnology. In addition to this, everyone from food producers to governments and NGOs to ICT companies can explore an exhibit showcasing 250 companies from around the world and their latest technical innovations in sustainable agriculture.

View the full conference preview online here. Follow @GFIA2015 for the latest announcements.

Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security
This year, global agribusiness Olam International partners with Agropolis Fondation in launching the inaugural Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security. This brand new accolade will be judged and awarded in conjunction with the existing Louis Malassis prizes, at the Third Global Science Conference for Climate-Smart Agriculture, which will be held in Montpellier on 16th-18th February 2015. Open to individuals or research teams, the Olam Prize for Innovation in Food Security aims to recognize an outstanding innovation for its potential impact on the availability, affordability, accessibility or adequacy of food, as well as to support its further development.

Farming First will be acting as a media partner to the conference and prize, so stay tuned to our website and Twitter feed for the latest news on the prize, shortlist and winners. Click here to visit the conference website.
New Expert Guest Blogs
Each month, Farming First features guest blogs by experts on a range of topics from climate smart agriculture to innovations changing the face of agriculture. Here are some of the latest published:

Supporting the Soil that Supports African People by Gordon Conway, Agriculture for Impact

Growing Prosperity - What Encourages Smallholders to Adopt New Practices? by Chris Mitchell, Bain & Company

Investing in Rural Infrastructure and Institutions to Empower Smallholder farmers by Wafaa El Khoury, IFAD
New Supporters
Farming First is delighted to welcome the Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST) as its newest supporter organisation.

FAST is an international non-profit association that brings together a diverse group of stakeholders, working collectively to bridge the financing gap in the sustainable Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) finance sector. Members include socially oriented and alternative lending institutions, SME producers, development institutions and other stakeholders in the agricultural commodities supply chain.
Farming First on Social Media
By the end of 2014 we had clocked up 30,000 followers on Twitter! Once again we would like to thank you all our followers for helping us to build such an active community of sustainable agriculture activists. If you don’t already, follow @farmingfirst to stay up to date with all the latest news and views, or follow our new page on LinkedIn
Farming First TV
Each week we have been bringing you a brand new episode of Farming First TV, with exclusive interviews with a range of high-level professionals in agricultural development. Check out the latest episodes here:

Key Steps for Resilience in Ethiopian Agriculture
Key Steps for Resilience in Ethiopian Agriculture
with Khalid Bomba, Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency

How Big Business Can Sustain Our Soils & Environment
How Big Business Can Sustain Our Soils & Environment
with Fadhel Alansari, GPIC

How to Keep Food Healthy, Nutritious and Safe
How to Keep Food Healthy, Nutritious and Safe
with John McDermott, IFPRI
Farming First in the News
Financial Times:
This is Africa
For Inclusive Rural Development, Farms Come First
As part of the Financial Times’ This is Africa series on inclusive economies, Kanayo Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, wrote a blog post on why farming should come first – with reference to Farming First’s latest infographic “Africa’s Agricultural Potential”

Financial Times Cotton farmers hit hard as prices drop to lowest since 2009
Dr. Evelyn Nguleka, acting President of Farming First supporter World Farmers Organisation (WFO) was quoted in an FT online article that examined the global price drop in cotton.

Guardian Development Soil isn’t sexy – but it could explain hunger in Africa
On December 5th, Farming First supporter Agriculture for Impact launched the latest Montpellier Panel report “No Ordinary Matter: Conserving, Restoring and Enhancing Africa’s Soils”. Director Sir Gordon Conway wrote an article for Guardian Development on the key recommendations in the report.
Upcoming Events
The Economist “Feeding the World” Summit
12th February - Amsterdam

Intergovernmental Negotiations on Post-2015 Development Agenda - Second Session
17th-20th February - New York

Global Forum for Innovation in Agriculture
9-11th March - Abu Dhabi

Third Global Science Conference
March 16-18th - Montpellier