Slow Food was honored to welcome the visit of Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), at the University of Gastronomic Sciences (UNISG), in Pollenzo (Italy) on May 23, 2016.
Dr. Nwanze delivered his lecture to students and members of the public, and focused on youth and the future of agriculture. During his talk, IFAD’s president outlined the reality of life for small-scale farmers in the developing world.
“We tend to romanticize the life of the artisanal farmer, in tune with the beauty of nature,” he told the audience. “The truth for most of the world’s small-scale farmers is far more prosaic. Small-scale farming, as it is practiced in most of the developing world, is backbreaking. This is the reason why so many young people migrate from the farm to the city – believing that their future will be brighter, but too often ending up unemployed and living on the streets or in slums.”
Dr. Nwanze added: “At IFAD, we see time and time again that when rural areas offer young people good options for employment and an outlet for their energy and creativity, young people are more willing to stay on the farm, and to revive and sustain their communities.”
Dr. Nwanze’s lecture results from a Slow Food – IFAD joint collaboration which began in 2009 and has continued to grow over the past six years. The collaboration focuses on small-scale agriculture as a crucial source of income and nutrition for many poor rural households, and as a driver of rural economic growth.
Carlo Petrini, President of Slow Food, said: “We are proud of Dr. Nwanze’s visit to UNISG, where many young people arrive from all over the world to acquire knowledge and experience regarding sustainable food production that they can then share in their native countries at the end of their studies. Promoting food biodiversity and family farming are crucial actions in the realization of a sustainable food system. For this reason, we are very glad to see that the long collaboration between Slow Food and IFAD has led to concrete results in the effort to improve the livelihood of rural communities.”
Slow Food and IFAD’s collaborative efforts also include advocating for indigenous peoples’ issues. Indigenous Terra Madre, whose second edition was held in November 2015, in Shillong (Meghalaya, North-East India), was attended by 600 delegates representing indigenous communities from around the world. The event was jointly organized by Slow Food, the Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty (Indigenous Partnership), and the North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS) and made possible thanks to IFAD commitment and funding.
This year from September 22 to 26, IFAD representatives will take part in Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, the most important international event dedicated to food culture held in Turin (Italy) every two years. 5,000 delegates from 160 countries will take part in the event and some of those will travel from remote areas in developing countries thanks to support from IFAD.
IFAD has supported Slow Food’s projects in defense of agricultural and food biodiversity in South America and Africa, developing several activities:
- In Argentina, the activities involved two Presidia (Tucumán Goat Cheese and the Gran Chaco Wild Fruits Presidium) and led to the boarding so far of five products in the Ark of Taste’s catalogue: Alpamato or Sachamato; Arcayuyo; Catamarca Llama meat; Tafì del Valle Charqui; Corn Ulpada.
- In Brazil, the project concerned three Presidia (the Caatinga Mandaçaia Bee Honey, the Licuri and Umbu) and five Ark of Taste’s products so far: Mandaçaia Bee Honey; Moça Branca Bee Honey; Munduri Bee Honey; Jatai Bee Honey; and Melão Coalhada.
- In Colombia, a new Presidium was launched (the Providencia Black Crab) and 11 products were approved for the Ark of Taste so far: Cachirra; Cocoplum (Icaco); Dibulla bavoso yam; Dibulla corn alfajor; Dibullero plantain; Guaimaro; Sierra Nevada avocado; Sierra Nevada panela; Traditional guineo vinegar; Yucca sabrosita and Sierra Nevada criollo cacao, which was also selected to become a Presidium.
- In Peru, 10 products have joined the Ark of Taste to date: Tuti Fava Bean (Verde Anta y Gigante de Yunguyo); Tuti año o izaño; Cabanaconde Boyo; Yellow Cabanita Corn; White Cabanita Corn; Cheqche Cabanita Corn; Garnet Cabanita Corn; Tapay Apple; Tapay Pear and Lluta Red Cheese, which was chosen to become a Presidium.
- In São Tomé and Príncipe, two products were identified for the Ark of Taste so far: the Izaquente fruit and the Pimenta do Mato, and one Presidium was launched: the São Tomé Robusta Coffee.
- In Uganda, the Ankole Cow Presidium was launched.
The University of Gastronomic Sciences, founded in 2004 and inspired by Slow Food, is a prestigious reality, which offers undergraduate degrees, masters and training courses that aim to bestow academic dignity on food as a complex, multidisciplinary phenomenon, and has host, since its opening, over 1,800 students from more than 75 countries.
IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided about US$17.7 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached some 459 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.
Kanayo F. Nwanze is the President of IFAD. He has been a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Food Security since 2010. He was previously Director-General of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Africa Rice Center for a decade, where he was instrumental in introducing and promoting New Rice for Africa, or NERICA, a high-yield, drought- and pest-resistant variety developed specifically for the African landscape.
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Slow Food involves over a million of people dedicated to and passionate about good, clean and fair food. This includes chefs, youth, activists, farmers, fishers, experts and academics in over 160 countries; a network of around 100,000 Slow Food members linked to 1,500 local chapters worldwide (known as convivia), contributing through their membership fee, as well as the events and campaigns they organize; and over 2,400 Terra Madre food communities who practice small-scale and sustainable production of quality food around the world.