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WFP: The push to full potential

Jordan Anderson 10/17/2013 @ 12:22pm Digital Content Editor for Successful Farming magazine and Agriculture.com

“We’ve given Africa tools to succeed.  Why haven’t the tools made an impact?”

According to Gary H. Toenniessen, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation, these tools haven’t made it past the initial location they were introduced.

Oxfam America, in conjunction with Rockefeller Foundation, made it their mission to take these agricultural innovations to scale.  During a luncheon just before the opening session of the World Food Prize, Toenniessen outlined some of the greatest necessities to carry out their mission including platforms for policy change, systems for risk reduction, and opportunities for youth to enter agriculture.

The Rockefeller Foundation released their pamphlet, “Catalytic Innovations in African Agriculture” which outlines key issues and innovations that the Foundation chose to focus on after reviewing nearly 150 proposed initiatives.  Programs highlighted varied from mobile units to efficiently transport cassava (a staple food in Mozambique) to developing an Ethiopian commodity exchange market to launching the Rural Resilience Initiative in Senegal helping farmers manage risk.

Harriet Nakabaale of Uganda attended the event and provided some insight to the conditions and mindset of the African people.

Nakabaale owns and operates Camp Green, a self-sustaining urban farm where she grows vegetables, spices, strawberries, and mushrooms as well as raising poultry.  She started growing vegetables for her family’s consumption to reduce expenses.  After learning and developing her crop, she realized that it was a great opportunity to help others.  

Camp Green serves as an educational facility to train anyone who is willing to learn.  

“We train children because it’s important to give inspiration when they’re young and women because it is their responsibility to put food on the table.”

Nakabaale hopes to expand Camp Green in the future, providing more job opportunities, but needs to acquire more space.

Intimate ties to the land resonated throughout the World Food Prize dialogues, and it was no different for Nakabaale. She closed, “Feed the soil and the soil will feed you.”

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