World Food Forum

9 – 10 May, 2016

Seventeen mango farmers in Mandalay Region have applied for a certification that would show they are abiding by prominent safety standards. Mango farmers only became eligible for good agricultural practice (GAP) certification this year.
The certificate shows buyers that “fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled, and stored as safely as possible to minimise risks of microbial food safety hazards”, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Those wishing to apply to become certified must do so through the Department of Agriculture.
Inspectors from the department will check the quality of planting soil and water and investigate for minerals harmful to humans before bestowing GAP certification on fruit products. The inspectors will also see if applicants’ handling and packing procedures are up to snuff under GAP standards. The GAP certificate provides consumers proof they won’t be harmed if they eat one of the approved products.
Myanmar Times, 17 May 2016 –

Livia PomodoroLivia Pomodoro – President of the Milan Center for Food Law and Policy

Expo Milano 2015 has put access to food and food production in the spotlight. What are the most critical regions in the world at the moment as far as hunger and undernourishment are concerned?

While the international community has been trying to eradicate hunger for a long  time, interventions to address malnutrition are quite recent. Hunger is simply the body’s response to lack of food. Malnutrition requires a more comprehensive reaction: you have to grant access to adequate quantities of healthy and quality food, and make sure that people have a balanced diet, rich in essential vitamins and nutrients.

At the moment in the world there are some 795 million people who have not enough to eat: their number is down from over one billion in 1990. That’s about one in nine people on earth. Most of these people live in developing countries, where 12,9 percent of the population is undernourished.

Asia is the continent with the most hungry people, two thirds of the total. The percentage in southern Asia has fallen in recent years but in western Asia it has increased slightly. Sub-Saharan Africa is, on the contrary, the region with the highest prevalence (percentage of population) of hunger.

In some areas the number of heavily undernourished people has even raised in the last years, from 10 to 13 million. In the past 20 years severe undernourishment diminished only by 11 percent, while cronic undernourishment dropped by 36%.


Access to food, to land, to education. What are the active actions in developing countries? Are Western countries doing enough?

The Milan Center for Food Law and policy was born with the very task to rebuild through legal language the food and nutrition worlds. Its motto is indeed “there is no food without rights”.

From food chain to the most controversial land grabbing, from the ownership of seeds to the crucial role of women which are deprived of land ownership and made invisible slaves in many regions of the world, there is a general urgency for rights and for a new regulation.

Just think about labelling, with the right consumers’ demands, or about the big single-brand plantations in countries which have not an adequate ownership regime, or about the fundamental right of access to food. All these issues need new and better answers in order to grant people’s rights, since laws written after World War Two are leaving step by step field to multinational corporations, which act as if they were the “lords of the market”.

Nearly a decade after a spike in global food prices sent shockwaves around the world, Asia’s top rice producers are suffering from a blistering drought that threatens to cut output and boost prices of a staple for half the world’s population. World rice production is expected to decline for the first time this year since 2010, as failing rains linked to an El Nino weather pattern cut crop yields in Asia’s rice bowl.
A heat wave is sweeping top rice exporter India, while the No.2 supplier Thailand is facing a second year of drought. Swathes of farmland in Vietnam, the third-biggest supplier, are also parched as irrigation fed by the Mekong river runs dry. The three account for more than 60 percent of the global rice trade of about 43 million tonnes.
Rice inventories in the three top exporters are set to fall by about a third at the end of 2016 to 19 million tonnes, the biggest year-on-year drop since 2003, according to Reuters calculations based on U.S. Department of Agriculture data.
While currently far below 2008 highs, rice earlier this month hit $389.50, the strongest since July and up 13 percent from an eight-year low of $344 in September.
Reuters, 1 May
The first step will be represented by the meeting of the four distinct Strategic Platforms, scheduled for October. However, the road map of the World Food Research and Innovation Forum, announced in the final session of the second edition of the event held in Parma, during Cibus, has already defined its further perspectives.
After having identified Research, Innovation and Internationalization as priorities in the Feeding the planet challenge and in the process to implement the legacy of Expo Milano 2015, the global permanent platform promoted by Emilia-Romagna Region has in fact fixed the working plan for the next years. In October the four platforms, which are an International Steering Committee consisting of 10 high-level international experts, a second International Strategic partner platform bringing together 15 Institutions, international agencies and organisations, a third International Multistakeholder platform bringing together 20 different stakeholders from private food companies and small and medium enterprises and 20 experts from universities and research centers, and a fourth Scientific Regional platform consisting of 20 experts and representatives of local innovation networks, will have their first meeting.
Then the road map will proceed with:
  • an International Scientific Event in 2017
  •  the next edition of the World Food Research and Innovation Forum in 2018

May 9-10, 2016 – Congress Center Auditorium “Niccolò Paganini” Parma, Italy

Interview with Sanjaya Rajaram
President Resource Seeds International and 2014 World Food Prize Laureate

interview with Fabio Fava
Alma Mater Studiorum, University of  Bologna and Italian Representative for Bioeconomy in Horizon 2020 committees, European Commission

Interview with Hugo De Vries
Director, UMR IATE-Unité Mixte de Recherches Ingénierie des Agro-polymères et Technologies Émergentes, INRA & CIRAD

Interview with Angelo Vittorio Zambrini
Quality, Innovation, Security and Environment Director – Granarolo SpA

Interview with Rudolf Krska
Head Center for Analytical Chemistry, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, BOKU

Interview with Patrizio Bianchi
Minister European political development, school, university, research and work, Emilia-Romagna Region

Interview with Stefano Bonaccini
President of the Emilia-Romagna Region

Interview with Palma Costi
Minister for Productive activities, energy plan, green economy, Emilia-Romagna Region

Interview with Livia Pomodoro
President, Milan Center for Food Law and Policy

Interview with Mei Xurong
Director, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)

Interview with Simona Caselli
Minister for Agriculture, Hunting and Fishing, Emilia-Romagna Region

Interview with Adolfo Brizzi
Director, Policy & Technical Advisory Division (IFAD)

Interview with Sergio Lugaresi
Sergio Lugaresi Head of Rome Office, World Bank Group

Interview with Robert Jan Hamer
Vice-President R&D Discover Foods and Director Unilever R&D Vlaardingen, President FoodNexus Consortium

Interview with Riccardo Valentini
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation


Interview with Matteo Landi

Interview with  Mebrahthu Meles
 State Minister of Industry, Ethiopia


Interview with Enrica Gentile
 CEO, ARETE’ Research & Consulting in Economics

Interview with Massimo Ferro,
Corporate Strategy Director Nestlé Italy

Interview with Claudia Aureli,




Representatives and delegates of the most important national and international organizations dealing with food and nutrition issues have met today in Parma, in the Congress Center Auditorium “Niccolò Paganini”, for the second edition of the World Food Research and Innovation Forum, the official opening event of Cibus, the International Food Exhibition held in Parma.

The global platform on food related issues promoted by Emilia-Romagna Region was opened by the addresses of Stefano Bonaccini, President of Emilia-Romagna Region, Maurizio Martina, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Luigi Scordamaglia, President of Federalimentare, Giovanni Luppi, Co-President of the Alliance of Italian Cooperatives, Loris Borghi, Rector of the University of Parma, and Federico Pizzarotti, Mayor of Parma.

The first two sessions of the Forum, which took place today, focused on  the strategic European Food Research Agenda and on Global Innovation and challenges in feeding the planet.
Tomorrow the event will continue focusing on Food finance, on how investing in Agribusiness and Food can be a vector for human and economic development and on the Global food agenda after the three events which marked a global change in pace: Milano Expo 2015, the United Nations world conference for the 2030 Agenda and the COP 21 Climate Change Conference in Paris.

The second day of the Forum will also host the kick-off of the permanent working structure of the Forum, which will work on a medium term programme for the 2016-2017 period and promote participation of global and local partners.

Diplomat, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Graduated in political sciences from the University of Florence, he joined the diplomatic career in 2000.

He served as Consul of Italy in Recife, deputy Ambassador in Sofia and Trade Counsellor in Brasilia.

He is in charge of the economic promotion abroad with regard to the Italian cultural and creative industries, including design, fashion, publishing and food.

RidolfiRoberto Ridolfi – Director for Sustainable Growth and Development, DG DEVCO, European Commission

How do you see EU support to private sector engagement in agriculture?
The agricultural sector in less developed countries has suffered from serious underinvestment for decades. The investment needed to eradicate hunger by 2030 is estimated by FAO at $267 billion per year of which US$105 billion for rural development and agriculture.

In less developed countries 70% of the total population lives in rural areas, and this pattern is not expected to change substantially by 2030. Agriculture plays a crucial role in all less developed countries economies, accounting for 60% of total employment and 25% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in average.

Private sector has a key role to play in the development of agriculture; public investment will not reach the US$105 billion I just mentioned. The EU must therefore partner with Private and base its partnership on principles of responsible business conduct and globally agreed principles like the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT).

What are your views on increasing agricultural finance and investment for growth, jobs and stability?
EU support to agricultural investments will be governed by a set of guiding principles, as reflected in the Commission Communication on the private sector, in particular “Additionality” is a must. The Agriculture Financing Initiative AgriFI is the operational translation of this vision. Partnerships with private sector will create inclusive and sustainable rural growth, through better access to market for smallholders and generation of more added value on value chains.

How will this initiative work?
AgriFI relies on 3 pillars: Investment, Business Development and Advisory Services, Value Chain Analysis for better accountability and decision making. AgriFI is implemented within the EU blending framework and is complemented by grants through Call for Proposals. It can provide risk capital, guarantees or other risk-sharing mechanisms and grants.

At this stage we launched a call for proposal in February and we received more than 500 proposals from partnerships between NGOs, farmers organisations and private sector companies (for an amount exceeding 2 billion EUR). Under the blending facilities, projects involving private sector and aiming at improving agriculture based value chains are already in the pipe line proposed by eligible financial institutions.

The value chain analysis capacity relying on the expertise of European research and knowledge centres will be soon fully available. Finally I would like to underline that European partners and in particular SMEs have lots of experience in responsible business conduct, capacity development, that will be key partners for AgriFI.


ScordamagliaLuigi Scordamaglia, President of Federalimentare

“Expo Milano 2015 has created great expectations, reinforcing the Italian agro-industrial model, which grants high efficiency and low environmental impact. Now we have to be up to the challenges we are facing: 9 billion people to feed, the need to rise global food production by 70%, the fact that 800 million people are undernourished while 1.2 billion are overweight and the 1.3 billion tons of food wasted each year. The World Food Research and Innovation Forum offers the opportunity to meet and discuss about how research and innovation can help us to meet these challenges”.

Luigi Scordamaglia, president of Federalimentare, has no doubts: research and innovation will be crucial to face the feeding the planet challenge.

What concrete contribution is the food industry ready to give to meet this challenge? 

Food industry has a pivoltal role. In the European Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Progamme there is a specific topic concerning sustainable food security, and an important part is about promoting a competitive food industry. In particular, industry is required to provide concrete answers to three issues: reducing food losses, improving energy efficiency along the entire supply chain and developing more sustainable and shelf-life oriented packaging.

Which characteristics of the Emilia-Romagna Region model can help making the difference in other Countries? 

Emilia-Romagna is illustrative of the Italian model: it has an agri-food sector with small and medium enterprises, but also with big companies. Its contribution is to have a model where all of them work together in research and innovation and where there is a public-private partnership which is precious for the food industry and for which we have to give credit to the regional administration.

Today when we talk about internationalization we talk about a strategic priority which is necessarily linked to research and innovation. How is the food industry taking on this challenge?

In the last years we had a steady rise of the Italian agri-food exports, with excellent results particularly in the US and in China. We expect exports to continue rising in the next years, but we are conscious that quality is not enough. Innovation means covering the last mile which we still have to go in many countries to place our products on the store shelves. And it means studying new solutions in order to meet different costumers needs in different parts of the world. These innovations will be essential to increase and reinforce the positive trend of the last years.