FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

Zoominar VI I on The Role of Private Sector In the Use of Innovation and Technology to Support Smallholders Face COVID-19 Disruptive Impact



18 June 2020 @14:00 – 15:30 (GMT +2)


The private sector leads innovation in the upstream and downstream sides of production as main player taking up research and development outcomes to concrete pilots and then scaling them up to products and services aiming to increase the efficiency and resilience of agri-food systems. The government, in creating and enabling an inclusive environment, facilitates the role of the private sector and strengthens it. Start-ups enable entrepreneurs to develop context-based solutions answering producers and market needs.

As the world is still struggling to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and its disruptive impact on agricultural value chain, the private sector and farmers in the Arab region are facing burdens on how to continue delivering along the agricultural value chain and ensure the continuity of supplies to consumers, for sustaining their livelihoods, from farm to fork.


The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) leads on this Zoominar session to highlight the role of the private sector in the use of innovation and technology (green technology) and the potential role of the public private partnership and regional cooperation in reaching out to smallholders and building their resilience to crises, disasters and COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Zoominar will address the following questions:

  1. What are the elements of success of technology, innovation and digitization initiatives of the private sector related to the agriculture sector? any specific elements within COVID-19?
  2. What public policies are needed for the different agriculture stakeholders (to open up new markets, add value, develop new products and services specially within COVID-19)?
  3. What policies and strategies are needed to build skills sets for the future, including updating youth education for the future, promoting lifelong learning, and supporting technology adoption by the public sector?
  4. What framework is needed to strengthen regional cross border collaboration in innovation and technology?

Opening Remarks:

  • Abdessalam OuldAhmedAssistant Director General and Regional Representative for the Near East and North Africa – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
  • Roula Majdalani, Cluster Leader, Climate Change and Natural Resources Sustainability Cluster – United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) 
  • Beth BechdolDeputy Director General – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Facilitated by:

  • Reem NejdawiProject Coordinator, Climate change and Natural Resources Sustainability Cluster –United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)


  • Nadine El Khoury, Chief Operating Officer – Robinson Agri
  • Raphael Debbane, President of the Agricultural Committee – Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Lebanon 
  • Rafiq EL ALAMI, Head of Digital Learning & Digital 4 Research Labs – Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, Morocco; CEO - Co-Founder CityMall.ma (TBC)
  • Gregory Arzumanian, Founder FCE Group AG, Co-founder - 1000ecofarms.com, USA and the farm2fork global digital platform 
  • Kareem Hassan, Executive Director – ESCWA Technology Center
  • Islam Mamoun, Chief Business Officer – E-Finance, Egypt


  • Attendees register once and can attend the recurring Thursday sessions, using the same registration confirmation.
  • Only registered participants will attend, please find the Registration Link here
  • Please note that the session will start on time, the meeting will be locked 15 minutes after that, and will not be accessible after that.
  • We invite all participants to kindly login 10 minutes before.
  • We suggest you to use Google Chrome or the Zoom App, in order to join the session
  • We suggest to try the Zoom before https://fao.zoom.us/test
  • We also recommend you to check your time zone here.

For more information please feel free to contact[email protected]