Foodvalley NL to host global network for food innovations
The World Economic Forum, the Government of the Netherlands and several public and private sector partners launched the Food Innovation Hubs initiative to help transform the food ecosystem. The launch was announced by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at this year’s virtual edition of the World Economic Forum on 27 January.
The Global Coordination Secretariat for the worldwide network of Food Innovation Hubs will be hosted by the Foodvalley NL in Wageningen, the Netherlands.
Production and consumption need change
Globally, almost 2 billion people do not have access to enough safe, nutritious food, and 690 million suffer from hunger. With 10 years to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we need to fundamentally change the way food is produced and consumed. This includes changing the practices of more than 500 million smallholder farmers and the consumption patterns of 7.7 billion individuals.
Given this population growth, next to the inefficient use of raw materials, shortage of farmland and water, the speed of climate change and the combined pressure of obesity, hunger and malnutrition, there is a growing awareness that structural changes are needed in the food production, food supply chain and food consumption.
As innovations are felt critical to bring about such fundamental shifts, more than 20 organisations are leading the Food Innovation Hubs initiative with work already underway in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe.
With country-led approaches, the regional established hubs drive both high-end and low-cost grassroots and other innovations that could have scalable impact. The opted solutions are to boost farmer productivity and profitability, increasing supply chain efficiency and transparency, and improving consumer nutrition.
The aim of the initiative is to create a global system for the development of new insights, and facilitation of an ‘innovation ecosystem approach’ to scale up technology solutions for food systems transformation.
‘The Netherlands is committed to forming partnerships that will catalyse the innovations needed to address the challenges facing the food system’, said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte when announcing the launch of the Global Coordination Secretariat initiated by the World Economic Forum.
The global network of Food Innovation Hubs is a flagship initiative of the Food Action Alliance, and is key to the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit that will be held in New York in September. The role of the Global Coordination Secretariat will be to coordinate the efforts of the regional hubs and ensure they align with global processes and initiatives.
In response to the announcement, managing director Marjolein Brasz at Foodvalley NL welcomed the Global Coordination Secretariat: 'There is a perfect match between the ambition of the Food Innovation Hubs network and our own commitment to the development of sustainable food systems.'
'We will achieve this through commercialisation of innovations and by providing solutions to current and future system challenges', Brasz continued. ‘Being seen as the leading European Food Innovation Hub is a wonderful recognition of the work we have done over the past fifteen years, and it enables us to accelerate our processes and amplify our impact.’
Foodvalley NL follows a step-by-step approach in which innovations and their opportunities are screened. The next step is to scout actors and connect them. The final step is to initiate projects involving potential partners, such as corporates, research organisations, governments, startups, scaleups and facilitators such as NGOs and innovation clusters.
Focus will be on the innovation themes: Protein Shift, Food & Health and Circular Agrifood.