Over $4 billion of development funding represented at GFIA 2014

Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture to host over 20 NGOs

Gates Foundation, CGIAR and Aga Khan Development Network all confirmed for Abu Dhabi event

The Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture has confirmed the participation of over 20 major NGOs in the event, to be held in Abu Dhabi from 3-5 February. The latest announcement underlines GFIA’s status as a truly global event bringing together the best ideas, top international experts and key policy-makers from the public, private and non-profit sectors.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been confirmed as GFIA’s Global Development Partner,  while CGIAR, a global partnership of 15 organisations engaged in research for a food secure future, is confirmed as GFIA’s Global Research for Impact Partner. The Aga Khan Development Network, a group of private, international, non-denominational development agencies, will also be participating.

GFIA 2014’s NGO Pavilion brings together more than 20 NGOs, ranging from the world’s largest private foundation to smaller organisations with a specific local and regional focus in sustainable agriculture projects across the MENA region and Sub-Saharan Africa. All will have a key role to play in ensuring that the technologies showcased at GFIA can be put to practical use increasing agricultural productivity in developing countries.

As GFIA’s Global Development Partner, the Gates Foundation is advising GFIA on agricultural development projects around the world, particularly those with a focus on applying innovation in developing regions.

CGIAR is a vital partner for GFIA, with Dr Frank Rijsberman, CEO of CGIAR, delivering a Keynote Speech. Almost 10,000 CGIAR staff and 15 Research Centres around the world generate and disseminate knowledge, technologies, and policies for agricultural development and poverty eradication in developing countries, producing a veritable goldmine of critical research data. Since 2012, CGIAR’s Open Access initiative has meant that access to this information is available to anyone and completely free.

A third major NGO, the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), has also confirmed its participation. AKDN is a group of private, international, non-denominational development agencies that work to improve the welfare and prospects of people in the developing world, particularly in Asia and Africa.

Some of the other NGOs include specialists like Acumen, One Acre Fund and Mercy Corps, all taking part in GFIA with papers at the conference as well as a presence in the NGO Zone.

Acumen helps to build financially sustainable organisations that deliver affordable goods and services that improve the lives of the poor. One Acre Fund invests in farmers in Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi, offering a comprehensive ‘market in a box’ solution that includes microloans, training and harvest sales. Mercy Corps’ innovative Agri-Fin Mobile service uses mobile technology to provide small-scale farmers with localised financial services, market information and agricultural expertise.

José Graziano da Silva, the Director General of the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has recently been quoted as saying that “working with the private sector is about benefiting from [their] dynamism, innovation and entrepreneurship at the global, regional and national level.”

Mark Beaumont, GFIA Project Director, agrees: “NGOs are crucially important to the development of agriculture, especially in developing areas. All three sectors – public, private and non-profit – will have to work together if we are to be able to feed 9 billion people by 2050. That will require unprecedented levels of sharing of best practices and pooling of resources. GFIA is a vital platform for this interaction and collaboration.”

About GFIA

Held February 3-5, 2014, under the Patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nayhan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs of the UAE, the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) will be the world’s largest showcase of innovations in sustainable agriculture.

With the key theme of ‘driving innovation for an agricultural revolution,’ GFIA will highlight the sustainable agriculture initiatives being planned and deployed around the world, facilitate knowledge transfer and demonstrate available investment opportunities. The GFIA agenda was designed by a steering committee of 20 international experts in the fields of academia, R&D, science, industry and investment.

The GFIA program includes:

  • Exhibition and conference: keynote sessions, panel discussions, an African Ministerial debate and 150 presentations.
  • Incubator zone (sponsored by the Khalifa Fund): a low-cost space for UAE and international entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas and prototypes.
  • Innovation Zone (curated by the University of Arizona): display of working models of some of the most inspiring innovations in agriculture today.
  • Technical tours to a range of sustainable agriculture projects in the UAE
  • GCC Farmer Focus: a dedicated programme to educate GCC farmers on the benefits of sustainable agriculture
  • NGO Zone: dedicated area for NGOs, development agencies and charitable foundations to meet and share ideas across sectors

GFIA will be held in strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, with the University of Arizona as Knowledge Partner. Sponsors include the Khalifa Fund and Islamic Development Bank.

For more information and to register go to the GFIA website http://www.innovationsinagriculture.com/

21 January 2013