The Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA), the world’s most influential event for the future of sustainable agriculture, has today launched the Call for Innovations for next year’s event, to be held from 9-10 March 2015 in Abu Dhabi. The deadline for submissions is 31 August 2014.
GFIA is held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and in strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority. The inaugural event was held in February 2014 and brought together leading agricultural innovators, investors, food producers, retailers, governmental delegations, scientists and NGOs over the course of a two-day conference and exhibition.
The event has since been recognised as a focal point for the expanding global movement to change the way we feed the world’s rapidly growing population by winning the prestigious ‘Best Meeting & Conference’ Award at the Middle East Event Awards ceremony, held recently in Dubai.
“As we look to build upon the success of GFIA 2014 and continue to drive the global agricultural revolution, we want to hear from all those working at the cutting edge of food production. GFIA represents an unparalleled opportunity to collaborate with governmental, commercial, academic and non-profit partners. Hi-tech or low-tech, a new idea or a firmly established project, if it challenges conventional methods we want to see it,” said Mark Beaumont, GFIA Project Director.
All stakeholders – from companies, NGOs and academic institutions to individuals – that either own an innovation that will shape the future of food production, have developed technology that increases yields using less resources, or have an idea to help the world produce enough food for nine billion people, are being invited to present their innovation at GFIA 2015.
All entries should be made online at www.InnovationsInAgriculture.com and will be judged by an international Steering Committee that includes representatives from Anterra Capital, McKinsey, the University of Wageningen, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
The programme for next year’s event will cover the entire agricultural spectrum, with a particularly strong focus on Climate Smart Agriculture. Post-harvest technologies and food waste, water, aquaculture, ICT in agriculture, indoor agriculture and crop protection will also all be key themes for GFIA 2015. According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), agricultural land use contributes 12% of global greenhouse gas emissions, while the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that raising livestock contributes a further 18% to total emissions.
Furthermore, the global agricultural sector is perceived to be extremely vulnerable to decreasing crop yields due to changes in weather brought about by climate change – notably rising temperatures, less predictable precipitation patterns and increasing saltwater intrusion into groundwater reserves. With food producers in the developing world the most susceptible to climate change disruption, GFIA 2015 will showcase solutions and bring key stakeholders together in order to help increase resilience.
“Agriculture is a cause of climate change, but is also part of the solution if sustainable production measures are adopted. For GFIA 2015 we are looking to showcase ‘triple win’ technologies that can help achieve food security, mitigate the effects of climate change and promote adaptability to the vagaries of a changing climate,” said Steering Committee member Dr. Joel Cuello, Professor of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and Director of the Global Institute for Strategic Agriculture in Dry Lands (GISAD) at The University of Arizona.
This year’s inaugural GFIA played host to the world’s largest collection of sustainable agricultural innovations, with over 150 presented during the two-day conference. The event attracted over 3,200 attendees from 61 countries, including 6 ministerial delegations. With the number of participants, scale, and breadth of content greater than any other similar event worldwide, GFIA has firmly established itself as the leading platform for the future of sustainable agriculture.
“At GFIA 2014 the scale of agricultural innovation on show was inspiring. We heard from climate smart innovators that had developed drought-tolerant varieties of maize, flood-resistant strains of rice, technologies that transformed biomass into biochar and others that converted the brine produced by desalination plants into micronutrients, high quality water and pure salt. For GFIA 2015 we encourage all those with game-changing ideas and technologies to submit their innovations,” said Beaumont.