FAO Liaison Office with the Russian Federation

Future agri-food systems: young people put forward solutions

Photo: ©FAO/Alessandra Benedetti
06/10/2021

The World Food Forum (WFF) that culminated on 5 October provided a platform for learning and spreading innovative ideas to transform agri-food systems. Young leaders and top world experts took part in the event, joining efforts in a search for models of the future agri-food sector.

To feed almost 10 billion of the planet’s population by 2050, we will need to radically change the food production, processing, trade and consumption patterns.

Is it possible for today's agri-food systems to provide us with healthy and affordable diets? What will future look like? FAO’s Moscow Office provided an opportunity for young champions to share their views on current challenges and prospects of the agricultural sector development.

Aleksey Gorkov, Student, National Economy Department of RANEPA

Today, food systems have to adopt new production and consumption patterns, aligned with the sustainable development concept. After the COVID-19 pandemic the food supply chains will not be the same: to ensure food security, countries began to diversify food supply channels and modernize their own production systems.

The emergence of innovative farming is another significant change. It is not just about precision agriculture, it also includes vertical farming, mass production of new types of products, such as cultured meat, insect food etc.

Personally, I didn’t think about the impact of agri-food systems on the environment until the pandemic broke out. I didn’t know the challenges they face today. Now, I am convinced that we need to tell consumers the truth about human impact on nature at every stage of food production, and I try to be an example of responsible consumer.

Recently our team has conducted its own first research, that helped us construct a profile of today’s students and their food behaviour. Such studies allow us to understand the future consumer and improve food systems; they provide us with important feedback and facilitate the enhanced efficiency of such systems.

Yulia Trofimenko, Student, National Economy Department of RANEPA

Food systems transformation is impossible without an adequate level of scientific development and change in people’s mindset. Agri-food systems are functioning chaotically, they lack well-established structure, which leads to some countries having food surplus while others are suffering from shortages.

We need to develop and implement technologies that could ensure crop yields even on the poorest soil, or to organize delivery of fresh food without increasing its initial cost. Some countries produce large amounts of food for export whereas their own population is not properly fed, which poses a risk to their food security.

Personally, I do what I can to help people in need with food or money. I try to consume reasonably, to not buy excess food and opt for local and farm products.

Varvara Parilova, Intern at FAO’s Office in Moscow, Postgraduate Student at the North-Eastern Federal University (Yakutsk)

I believe that research is vital for a successful agri-food systems transformation. I am a postgraduate student and I take part in a study on climate change impact on traditional food systems and food consumption patterns of rural population. I hope that our teamwork will yield valuable scientific results that will facilitate efficient decision-making for regional development, sustainability and the world free from hunger.

Nikita Rossov, SDG2 Youth Ambassador in Russia, Farmer (Irkutsk Oblast)

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic many people started to economize on farm products, choosing cheaper substitutes in discount shops.

In my view, to transform food systems and improve their efficiency, marketing of small- and medium-size farms’ products needs to be subsidized in order to level out the difference between their costs and those of major market players. Thus, we would ensure an access to quality and healthy food for people and support small-scale producers.

To achieve SDG2, as a farm and cheese factory owner, I organize production and delivery of meal kits to economically disadvantaged people, lonely veterans and mothers who have children with special developmental needs. Starting from this September, as part of the Global Week to Actfor SDGswe supported 70 people in need.

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Young people emphasize that they have started to act more responsibly in terms of their dietary choices, they think more about options to transform current food systems to provide themselves and all people on the planet with healthy and sufficient food in the future.

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It is time to act! To become part of a solution, join the work of FAO on this issue and come up with your own ideas and suggestions.

The World Food Forum (WFF) aims to support the transformation of agri-food systems and ensure Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG2: Zero Hunger. WFF – an initiative by FAO Youth Committee – was held on 1-5 October 2021 online with a webcast from Rome.

Links:

FAO and Food Systems

The UN Food Systems Summit

Junior World Food Day

FAO and Nutrition

Discover more:

FAO’s Moscow Office Webinar: “Youth vision of future consumer trends and food systems”

 

#WorldFoodForum #FutureofFood #WorldFoodDay #FoodHeros

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The views expressed in this information product are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).