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MEDIA HELPING TO SHAPE THE FUTURE OF FOOD SYSTEMS
“The only way to change Africa’s future is by making sustainable food systems a priority,” says Prof. Lindiwe Sibanda ahead of her keynote address at the historic first independent dialogue on media engagement in the United Nations Food Systems Summit.
Sibanda is the director and chairperson of the ARUA Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Pretoria. She will deliver her address during a virtual discussion on Wednesday, 28 July with media professionals from across South Africa set to attend.
The dialogue is convened by SABC Education and Living Land, a popular SABC2 magazine programme, in partnership with, the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), Food For Mzansi and No-Line Communications.
“Media professionals from across the country are making food systems a top priority amid the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Nozipho Ndiweni, the producer of Living Land and event coordinator. “Very rarely before have we even touched on the importance of communications and media at a time when, according to the 2021 State of Food Insecurity report, 118 million additional people are facing hunger because of the pandemic.”
The independent media dialogue leads up to the UN Food Systems Summit in September. It is part of a global series of pre-discussions in which thousands of people are shaping pathways towards food systems that are sustainable, resilient and equitable.
“It is an indictment on our entire food systems – from production to distribution and disposal – that in 2020, as many as 811 million men, women, and children went without enough to eat,” says Dr Agnes Kalibata, the UN secretary-general’s special Envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit.
“Hunger on this scale is a symptom of a dysfunctional food system that buckles under pressure and abandons the most vulnerable first. We need systemic transformation, and this is the aim of the UN Food Systems Summit, but it will be up to Member States to pave the way for the changes we urgently need.”
Dr Sifiso Ntombela, chief economist at the National Agricultural Marketing Council, is confirmed as the facilitator for the independent dialogue on South African media engagement. Welcome remarks will be delivered by Danie Swart, genre manager: education and children at SABC Education, Dr Brave Ndisale, FAO country representative in South Africa, and Dr Thulasizwe Mkhabela, group executive: impact and partnerships at the ARC.
Furthermore, an A-list of speakers have been confirmed for the plenary sessions on media and communications engagement and case studies. Participating journalists and public relations experts will look at the following exemplary food systems.
- Social impact of the V&A Waterfront: Henry Mathys, senior manager of social impact will show how the popular tourist attraction has become a life-giving food system hub;
- Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market: Litha Sabio, a strategic communications consultant for fresh produce markets, will unpack some of the food systems fundamentals. Whilst South Africa is food secure at national level, the country is still food insecure at household level as not all households have access to adequate food;
- Izindaba Zokudla: A senior lecturer at the University of Johannesburg and the founder of the Soweto-based farmers’ lab, Dr Naudé Malan, will discuss the importance of seeing the “system” in the food system.
“I guess the big question for us, as media professionals, is how we can help to transform the global food system,” says Ivor Price, Food For Mzansi co-founder and editor-in-chief. At the independent dialogue, he will speak on the importance of positioning the new face of South African agriculture in the greater food systems discussion.
“If there’s one thing we’ve learnt during the pandemic, it’s that people are grappling with emergency levels of acute hunger. At Food For Mzansi, we are looking forward to leading this important conversation.”
The media and communications engagement plenary session will focus on all the available methods of conveying food system messages. Other confirmed speakers include:
- Liza Bolhmann, the chairperson of the Agricultural Writers’ Association and communication business partner for Bayer Crop Science;
- Ivor Price, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Food For Mzansi on the importance of positioning the new face of South African agriculture in the greater food systems discussion;
- Gugulethu Mahlangu, a Gauteng farmer and founder of #FarmSpaces on engaging with the media as a farmer. Mahlangu has now also extended her popular #FarmSpaces live audio conversations in partnership with Food For Mzansi on Monday nights;
- Mbali Nwoko, farmer and founder of Green Terrace who is also breaking barriers as an entrepreneur, speaker, columnist and podcaster.
There will also be break-away sessions on how the communications and media fraternity can help each other to improve the general the
The Food Systems Summit is for everyone, and its success relies on people everywhere getting involved and sharing their views. The overall goal of is to enhance the role of South African Media in in support of the Food Systems Summit engagement process specifically focusing on increasing awareness of the process enlisting the media as partners in amplifying the summit’s key messages and in generating conversations through mainstream and online media platforms.
The dialogue seeks to convene a broad group of communication and media specialists and practitioners from the agriculture, food, agribusiness, environment, rural development fields to:
- Unpack Africa’s food systems;
- Deliberate on challenges and opportunities to transforming African food systems and ensuring that they are sustainable and resilient;
- Showcase best practices, lessons learned, innovations, collaborations for communicating and or reporting poverty, hunger and food systems related issues;
- Identify key areas of engagement for the media fraternity leading up to the Food Systems Summit in September
The expected outcomes of the Dialogue are:
- Increased understanding of critical issues around challenges and opportunities to transforming African food systems;
- Proposed engagement plan by the South Africa media fraternity leading up to the Food Systems Summit in September;
- A summary statement consolidating media stakeholder voices on best practices and recommendations from the dialogues.
The culminating Food Systems Summit gathering will take place in New York in September 2021 in conjunction with the UN General Assembly. Therefore, the dialogues outcomes will be packaged and submitted to feed into the Summit in September.
FORMAT FOR REGIONAL DIALOGUES
The Dialogue will be conducted virtually over 2.5 hours and will consist of a plenary session (45 minutes) which will feature keynote presentations and a Question-and-Answer segment. This will then be followed by breakout sessions in line with the five action tracks of the Food Systems Summit (45 minutes) and summary sessions (30 minutes).
In line with the Food Systems Dialogue principles of engagement, the Africa Regional Food Systems Dialogue Series will embrace multi-stakeholder inclusivity. The dialogues will bring together a wide range of stakeholders directly involved in communicating food systems related issues. Participants will further include representatives of the research/scientific community; government; civil society, the private sector, and farmers’ groups, etc.
ABOUT THE ORGANIZERS
SABC Education (South African Broadcasting Corporation)
Established in 1996, SABC Education is an SABC business unit responsible for delivering the educational mandate of the public broadcaster. In true South African social tradition, SABC Education meets this challenge by delivering compelling educational content for diverse audiences in South Africa and the rest of Africa. SABC Education’s content is gathered from a wide range of educational issues and contributes to a rich cultural shared South African identity. Enriching Minds, Enriching Lives!
For more information, please visit: http://www.sabceducation.co.za
Living land is an SABC Education production and is synonymous with all things agricultural in South Africa as it focuses on developing agriculture and highlights topical issues like land reform, climate change and entrepreneurship. Living land showcases the many success stories of smallholder and commercial farmers across the length and breadth of South Africa, and in the process encourages the youth to seriously consider agriculture as a vocation. The programme provides valuable information and expert know-how on literally every conceivable aspect of farming. It also unveils the secrets of marketing fresh produce and explores avenues of value-added income generation by way of enhancing and processing agricultural products. The show moves seamlessly from farms to corporate environments to the streets and homes of ordinary South Africans. It visits government officials, scientists, marketers, economists, business people and anyone who can show us how and where to make farming a viable and profitable enterprise in our country. Best of all, Living Land shares the sheer joy of making a good, honest living in the wide-open spaces of our beautiful country; making the most of our bountiful natural resources and creating a lasting legacy of a productive agricultural country that we can proudly hand over to the generations to come.
Agricultural Research Council (ARC)
The Agricultural Research Council is a premier science institution that conducts research with partners, develops human capital and fosters innovation in support of the agricultural sector. The ARC provides diagnostic, laboratory, analytical, agricultural engineering services, post-harvest technology development, agrochemical evaluation, consultation and advisory services, food processing technology services as well as various surveys and training interventions. For more information visit the ARC website at: www.arc.agric.za
Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)
FANRPAN was established in 1997 in response by ministers of agriculture and environment from Southern and Eastern Africa for an independent network to promote the dissemination of policy research results across Africa, and to act as a platform for policy engagement of all food, agriculture and natural resources (FANR) stakeholders. It is an Africa-wide network of country-based policy nodes that are groups of existing policy institutions with technical expertise and FANR stakeholders collaborating to generate evidence for use in addressing policy bottlenecks. The national nodes are an inter-sectoral platform of different stakeholder groups, including farmers’ organizations, agriculture and policy research institutions, government departments, the private sector, civil society, donors, women, youth, and the media. For more information, please visit: www.fanrpan.org
Food for Mzansi
Having won seven global awards in the last three years, Food For Mzansi is South Africa’s leading digital agricultural news and lifestyle publication. Its accolades include an award as Africa’s best digital news start-up by WAN-IFRA, the global organisation for the world’s press. Food For Mzansi proudly salutes the previously unsung heroes of the agricultural sector. We unashamedly share success stories and good news from the farms and agri-businesses who feed South Africa. We believe in the power of agriculture to promote nation building and social cohesion by telling stories that are often overlooked by broader society. For more information, please visit: www.foodformzansi.co.za
No-Line is a communications company and production house based in Gauteng South Africa. Since its inception in 2005, No-Line has become known for its innovative and intelligent approach to communication, with a track record of truly unique productions for numerous organisations, brands and television channels in South Africa, Africa and across the globe. With a culturally diverse team offering a combination of experience and youthful energy, we communicate creatively and effectively with target markets across the race, age and gender spectrum. Our modern in-house HD camera equipment, edit and sound studios allow for a highly professional, well-managed production process – from creative concept to meticulous production design and mastering according to each client’s requirements. For more information, please visit: www.no-line.co.za