Science, Technology and Innovation

Back to the roots: Transforming agrifood systems for good via Forgotten Foods and indigenous peoples’ knowledge

When: 20 October 2022 | 16:00 – 17:45 hrs (CEST)

Where: Sheikh Zayed Centre

Modality: Hybrid


Diversification in agriculture represents addition and valorisation of more species, plant varieties, animal breeds to a given farm/landscape in space and time. Diversification is considered as a risk management strategy that guarantees stability of production and income under unfavourable climatic and harsh socioeconomic conditions. Traditionally small-scale producers diversify their crops and animal breeds to ensure more resilient livelihoods according to the biophysical and socioeconomic conditions. Diversification is a key element of Indigenous Peoples’ food systems and coping strategies that promote wild, semi-domesticated and domesticated food sources, as well as diet diversity. Transforming our agrifood systems should start from understanding and valuing traditional diversification logics and indigenous peoples’ food systems - source of livelihood for 476 million Indigenous inhabitants in the world. It entails also democratizing the governance of agricultural research and innovation systems, expanding their social base to include holders of local knowledge. This session will focus on the need for inter- and intra-specific diversification putting small-scale producers and Indigenous Peoples as knowledge holders on traditional and Forgotten Foods systems at the center of the innovation processes and of the related benefit-sharing mechanisms. The event will also highlight the design of a new farmer-led initiative for agricultural diversification and transformation of agricultural research and innovation systems relying on Forgotten Foods.

The session will be interpreted in all UN languages, online through Airmeet platform, UN web TV and webcast.


16:00 – 16:05

Introduction to the session

Sayed Azam-Ali
Crops For the Future

16:05- 16:15


Dario Mejia Montalvo
Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Cary Fowler
Special Envoy for Global Food Security, U.S. Department of State


Keynote speech:
Transforming agrifood systems for good via Forgotten Foods and Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge

Irish P. Baguilat
Coordinator for UN Decade of Family Farming & Women Farmers' Agenda
Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), Quezon City, Philippines

Thomas W. Hertel
Distinguished Professor and Executive Director
Center for Global Trade Analysis, GLASSNET PI
Purdue University, USA

Phrang Roy
Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty

16:35 – 17:20

















Moderated panel discussion

Sayed Azam-Ali
Crops For the Future

Rita H Mumm
Director, African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC)
Director, UC Davis African Plant Breeding Academy
University of Illinois, USA

Yemi Akinbamijo
Executive Director
Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA)

Ravi Khetarpal
Executive Secretary, Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI)

Rida A. Shibli
Executive Secretary of Association of Agricultural Research Institutions in the Near East and North Africa (AARINENA)

Hayu Patria
Founder of Mantasa
NGO working on creating food and nutrition sovereignty by utilization of plant biodiversity

17:20 – 17:40

Moderated Q&A Session

Sayed Azam-Ali
Crops For the Future


Summary of key messages and recommendations

Sayed Azam-Ali
Crops For the Future