International Studies & Programs


AAP Hosts Event at World Food Prize 2019

Agricultural experts from around the world gathered in Des Moines, Iowa

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Published: Wednesday, 04 Dec 2019 Author: Alliance for African Partnership

In mid-October, the Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) organized a symposium, the 2019 World Food Prize – Borlaug Dialogue Event, in collaboration with MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes, and The African Development Bank on the topic of sustainable agricultural productivity, intensification, and resilience in Africa. Held in Des Moines, Iowa, the symposium worked to address agricultural land degradation associated with population pressure and the closing of the land frontier. Rising population densities in many parts of Africa are making continued reliance on area expansion untenable for millions of African farmers. The land frontier has already been reached in many smallholder areas, causing farms to become subdivided, fragmented, and increasingly small. With this in mind, the symposium aimed to draw attention to the severity of the challenge of sustainable agricultural intensification in sub-Saharan Africa, build a coalition of African and international support for an agenda to tackle the challenge, and co-create a process that will be effective in guiding African governments, private firms involved in African agriculture, and development partners committed to addressing the challenge. 


As a launchpad for future action-oriented research and policy dialogue, the symposium brought together a wide range of African and international organizations. With a keynote address, panel, and open discussion, the symposium provided a space for discourse and action. Starting with the keynote address, Professor Pedro Sanchez, a Laureate of the World Food Prize, spoke on the main challenges and practical policy relevant to addressing the challenges of sustainable agricultural productivity, intensification and resilience in Africa. Sanchez is a research professor of Tropical Soils at the University of Florida’s Soil & Water Sciences Department and core faculty of the University of Florida’s Institute for Sustainable Food Systems. Sanchez laid out a vision and strategy for strengthening the capacity of Africa’s public and private sectors to promote sustainable agricultural transformation in the region.


After Sanchez’s keynote speech, Richard Mkandawire, AAP Africa Director and Chairperson for the Malawi Planning Commission moderated a panel of researchers and an open discussion. Composed of distinguished African and international thought leaders, two of whom are professors at MSU - Lisa Tiemann and Saweda Liverpool-Tasie - the panel highlighted priority areas that stakeholders in capacity development for agriculture and food systems need to address. The discussion was furthered when the floor was opened and audience members were able to engage in the discourse.


Gathering people who are passionate for change, the 2019 World Food Prize – Borlaug Dialogue Event fostered fundamental discussions on the challenges of sustainable agricultural intensification and explored plans of action to better the future of Africa.