Board for International Food and Agricultural Development

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The Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) is a seven-member, presidentially appointed advisory board to USAID established in 1975 under Title XII of the Foreign Assistance Act, as amended, to ensure that USAID brings the assets of U.S. universities to bear on development challenges in agriculture and food security and supports their representation in USAID programming. 

On Friday, January 14, 2022, President Biden announced his intent to appoint new members to the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) in the White House Statement and Release here. USAID is pleased to welcome these new members to advise USAID in the fight to end hunger. We invite you to learn about their impressive backgrounds and expertise in the links provided below. 

BOARD MEMBERS

For questions, please contact the Executive Director for BIFAD, Clara Cohen, at ccohen@usaid.gov or 202-712-0119.

Recognizing Research Excellence for Impact: Presentation of the

2021 BIFAD Awards for Scientific Excellence in a Feed the Future Innovation Lab

Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

9:00-10:00 am EST (7:45-8:45 pm NPT)

2021 BIFAD Scientific Award Presentation. Celebrating Research Excellence and Impact. Meet the 2021 recipients of the BIFAD awards for scientific excellence in a feed the future innovation lab. December 7th, 9am est. Featuring Dr Thomas Jayne and Ms Seerjana Maharjan.

The Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD), an advisory committee to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 BIFAD Awards for Scientific Excellence in a Feed the Future Innovation Lab. The BIFAD award recognizes research efforts that contribute to the interrelated and interdependent objectives of the U.S. Government’s Global Food Security Strategy: inclusive and sustainable agriculture-led economic growth, strengthened resilience among people and systems, and a well-nourished population.

The program, co-hosted with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab Council of Directors, the Integrated Pest Management Innovation Lab at Virginia Tech, and the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research, Capacity, and Influence at Michigan State University, will include presentations from the award recipients on their research and the impacts in local communities.

The 2021 Senior Research Award recipient, Dr. Thomas (Thom) Jayne, University Foundation Professor Emeritus of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University, will present economic and policy research on food systems transformation in Africa carried out with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research, Capacity, and Influence and other Feed the Future Innovation Labs. The 2021 Student Research Award recipient, Ms. Seerjana Maharjan, doctoral student at Tribhuvan University in Nepal, will present  research on the ecology and biological control of invasive weed species in central Nepal carried out with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management.

A Listening Session at COP27

Achieving Ambitious Food System Transformation

When? Monday, November 14th at 6:25-7:10 pm EET (11:25 am–12:10 pm EST)

Where? Food Systems Pavilion at COP27, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt and virtually

BIFAD COP 27 Listening Session

Please join USAID and experts drafting a key report that will inform USAID’s agriculture, nutrition, and food security work on Monday, November 14th at 6:25 pm EET (11:25 am EST).  This listening session will seek input from COP attendees and the wider public on the preliminary findings of a study on systemic approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation in agricultural, nutrition, and food systems. The study results will inform program and policy decision making by USAID. 

The BIFAD Subcommittee on Systemic Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Agricultural, Nutrition, and Food Systems is guiding a BIFAD-commissioned study that draws upon existing evidence and consultation with subject-matter experts in the following areas: 

  • climate-resilient pathways for inclusive, transformative systemic change in food, agricultural, and nutrition systems; 
  • priority systems for inclusive transformation in food, agriculture, and nutrition; 
  • barriers to inclusive transformation in agricultural, nutrition, and food systems; 
  • priority leverage points for transformative systemic change; and 
  • climate finance to catalyze inclusive adaptation and mitigation actions in the agricultural, food, and nutrition sector. 

In this listening session, members of the subcommittee and authors of the BIFAD-commissioned study will present preliminary findings, with dedicated time for participant comment and discussion. The session objectives are to 1) improve recommendations for the ambitious implementation of the USAID Climate Strategy, 2022–2030, 2) identify points of consensus and key gaps based on feedback from the wider agricultural, nutrition, food systems and climate change communities, and 3) strengthen the utility of the study based on community recommendations. 

Join USAID and BIFAD subcommittee experts at the listening session on Monday, November 14 at 6:25 pm EET (11:25 am EST) to provide advice and feedback on the preliminary findings and your recommendations for how USAID should support food systems transformation. 

The event will take place in person at the COP 27 Food Systems Pavilion in Sharm El-Sheikh. Virtual participants are invited to join through the Food Systems Pavilion YouTube channel, which will include a live chat function for participants’ comments and input. 

[Learn more about the event

All sessions of the Food Systems Pavilion at COP27 will be live-streamed via YouTube. Peruse the full list of upcoming sessions here: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLR9KIvHoqf7piFso2jD8GODJbq0nMCmIp

Transformative Pathways Toward a Climate-Resilient Agricultural, Food, and Nutrition System:

A Public Consultation Ahead of the 27th Conference of Parties

October 26, 2022, 10:00am – 12:00pm EDT (Virtual)

BIFAD 187th Public Meeting

In the lead-up to the 2022 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 27th Conference of Parties (COP27), BIFAD will host its 187th public meeting focused on the ongoing BIFAD-commissioned study on systemic solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation in agricultural, nutrition, and food systems. The meeting will be hosted on Zoom. Register to participate here (external link).

The study—guided by the BIFAD Subcommittee on Systemic Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems and expected to be finalized in spring 2023—aims to inform BIFAD’s advice to USAID on program design and targets to achieve transformative, systemic change and climate finance scaling for the agriculture, food, and nutrition sectors. 

On October 26th, authors of the report will present and discuss their preliminary findings related to the following: 

  1. Climate-resilient pathways for inclusive, transformative systemic change in agricultural, nutrition, and food systems;

  2. Priority systems for inclusive transformation in food, agriculture, and nutrition;

  3. Barriers to inclusive transformation in agricultural, nutrition, and food systems;

  4. Priority leverage points for transformative systemic change; and

  5. Climate finance solutions to catalyze inclusive adaptation and mitigation actions in the agricultural, food, and nutrition sector.

Following the presentation, members of the subcommittee, BIFAD, USAID, and public participants will comment and react to the working paper. The public is invited to comment on the report's preliminary findings and recommendations and to submit additional case studies, evidence, and relevant publications to inform the study. The working paper will be posted here in advance of the October 26th meeting. Please find an agenda for the meeting in this link.

For questions about registration, please contact the BIFAD Support Team at bifadsupport@tetratech.com. For questions about BIFAD, or to submit written comments, evidence, or materials in advance or following the meeting, please contact Clara Cohen, Designated Federal Officer for BIFAD in the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security at USAID. Interested persons may email her at ccohen@usaid.gov (Subject: Comment for 187th BIFAD Public Meeting) or telephone her at (202) 712-0119.

Fed to Thrive: Accelerating action on nourishing foods for infants and young children

Wednesday, October 19, 2022 | 7:00–8:45am CT

BIFAD 186th Public Meeting Fed to Thrive

The Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) will convene a public meeting, Fed to Thrive: Accelerating Action on Nourishing Foods for Infants and Young Children, as a side event of the 2022 Borlaug Dialogue at the World Food Prize under the theme “Feeding a Fragile World”. The meeting will convene expert presenters and seek public input on evidence-based solutions for increasing the affordability, availability, and convenience of nutrient-dense foods for infants and children six months to two years of age, providing adequate safety nets for families most vulnerable to early childhood malnutrition, and engaging across systems to deliver on the global commitment to “feed a fragile world”. 

The meeting will be held at the Iowa Event Center, 730 3rd Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50309 on October 19, 2022 from 7:00–8:45 am Central Time. Members of the public are invited to join in person; the link to register to attend in person at the Iowa Event Center is here. The meeting will also be live streamed via ZOOM for virtual public participation; the link to register to participate virtually can be found in this link.

Today, nearly two in three children ages six months to two years are not consuming nutritionally adequate diets critical to growth and development. Although 9.2 percent of the global population lives below the international poverty line of $1.90 per day, the average cost of a nutrient-adequate diet for one child in a low-income country is $1–2 per day at six to eight months, $1 per day at nine to 11 months, and above $1 per day at one year and older. Simply put, families are struggling to afford safe and nutritious food for their young children, posing threats to child survival and irreversible consequences for child cognitive and physical growth. Sub-country-level data indicate early childhood malnutrition does not equally impact all families, socio-economic groups, communities, or regions, with the poor accessing and consuming too-few important sources of nutrition—including animal-source foods and nutrient-dense vegetables—during the complementary-feeding stage, a critical transition when an infant’s need for energy and nutrients starts to exceed what is provided by breast milk, and complementary foods are necessary to meet those needs.

Presentations and discussion will focus on the following questions: 1) What does a nutritionally balanced food basket for infants and young children look like, and what would it cost? 2) What are evidence-based priority actions to reduce the costs of balanced food baskets, improve nutrient content and safety, incentivize use by improving convenience and enabling caregivers, and provide financial means for the most vulnerable to access them through safety nets? 3) How do we achieve coordinated, gender-transformative change across the food, health, and social protection systems in both development and humanitarian (emergency) settings? Drawing from testimony by global experts and practitioners,  BIFAD will advise the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on recommended policy and program actions. The meeting will include a public comment period from 8:25 to 8:40 am Central Time. Please find an agenda for the event in this link.

The BIFAD is a seven-member, presidentially appointed advisory board to USAID established in 1975 under Title XII of the Foreign Assistance Act, as amended, to ensure that USAID brings the assets of U.S. universities to bear on development challenges in agriculture, nutrition, and food security and supports their representation in USAID programming.

For questions about registration, please contact the BIFAD Support Team at: bifadsupport@tetratech.com.

For questions about BIFAD, or to submit written comments, evidence, or materials in advance or following the meeting, please contact Clara Cohen, Designated Federal Officer for BIFAD in the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security at USAID. Interested persons may email her at ccohen@usaid.gov (Subject: Comment for 186th BIFAD Public Meeting) or telephone her at (202) 712-0119.

2022 Call for Nominations for the BIFAD Awards for Scientific Excellence

2022 BIFAD Awards for Scientific Excellence

The BIFAD Awards for Scientific Excellence in a Feed the Future Innovation Lab recognize individual researchers and/or research teams for significant achievements originating from work performed under the USAID-funded Feed the Future Innovation Labs. Two awards are anticipated to be given annually (contingent on the submission of eligible nominations): the Global Innovators Award for an individual researcher or a team of researchers, including researchers at all stages of their post-student career, and the Early Innovators Award for students. The awards recognize research efforts that contribute to the interrelated and interdependent objectives of the U.S. Government Global Food Security Strategy: inclusive and sustainable agriculture-led economic growth, strengthened resilience among people and systems, and a well-nourished population. Nominations are due Monday, January 23rd, 2023, in the online portal. See the full Call for Nominations for more details.

A Consultative Workshop on Systemic Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems

August 31, 2022, 10:30 am -12:30 pm EDT (Virtual)

The Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) is hosting its 185th Public Meeting, A Consultative Workshop on Systemic Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems, to announce upcoming BIFAD work in the areas of climate change adaptation and mitigation in agricultural, nutrition, and food systems and to seek public input into priorities and evidence gathering.  Register to participate, here.

The meeting will publicly introduce the BIFAD Subcommittee on Systemic Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems, recently established by BIFAD and USAID to lead transdisciplinary evidence gathering to support USAID’s role in accelerating systems change and transformative climate change adaptation and mitigation approaches in agriculture, food systems and nutrition, and in targeting climate finance to benefit smallholder farmers. A list of subcommittee members may be found at this link. The objectives, questions, and proposed methodology of a planned BIFAD-commissioned climate change study, to be guided by the subcommittee, will be shared and discussed. 

The meeting will include a public question and answer period and facilitated small group discussions. Public input is sought to: 1) identify leverage points across agricultural, food, and nutrition systems (e.g., financial, production, innovation, market, nutrition, risk management, early warning, and humanitarian systems) for transformative change and scaling climate finance to achieve the targets and intermediate results of the USAID Climate Strategy, 2022–2030 and the U.S. Government’s Global Food Security Strategy, 2022–2026; 2) identify enabling systems and conditions  that support transformational economic, social, governance, essential services, or humanitarian capacities; and 3) prioritize areas of USAID action areas to facilitate transformative systemic change that is inclusive of underrepresented populations and promotes gender equity and equality. The public is also invited to comment on the subcommittee’s work and to submit names of experts, case studies, evidence, and relevant publications to inform the study.

BIFAD Launches Subcommittee on Systemic Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems

Summary: Launched in June 2022 by the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) and the U.S. Agency for International Food and Agricultural Development (USAID), the subcommittee will lead transdisciplinary evidence gathering to advise BIFAD with independent recommendations to improve USAID programming and strategies. The subcommittee is envisioned to supportUSAID's role in accelerating systems change and transformative climate change adaptation and mitigation approaches in agriculture, food systems and nutrition, and in targeting climate finance to benefit smallholder farmers. Subcommittee members bring a breadth of expertise across disciplines, diversity of views, and organizational perspectives to tackle the greatest challenge to food security. The subcommittee members' bios can be found here.

BIFAD Climate Change Subcommittee Members

For more information on the subcommittee's activties, visit the Climate Change Subcommittee USAID page here.

Sign Up for Updates on this and other BIFAD activities at this link: https://bit.ly/3bn4dfG

USAID Administrator Samantha Power Recognizes Service of Former Members of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD)

May 23, 2022

In opening remarks at the public meeting of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) on May 23, 2022, Feed the Future Global Coordinator and Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development Samantha Power recognized BIFAD members whose committee terms recently ended. Administrator Power and Bureau for Resilience and Food Security Assistant to the Administrator Jim Barnhart thanked outgoing members for their dedicated service and extraordinary commitment, which have enabled BIFAD to play a lead role across the U.S. Government and to assure the highest scientific standards in global agriculture and food security.

 Images of seven former BIFAD members, Brady Deaton, Mark Keenum, Gebisa Ejeta, James Ash, Richard Lackey, Mark McDaniel, David Matthews
BIFAD Member Recognition 2022

Outgoing BIFAD members are appreciated for generously giving their time and expertise in service to USAID. BIFAD recommendations have informed USAID decision making in the areas of resilience, nutrition, youth employment, and food security in conflict-affected environments. When COVID-19 struck in 2020, BIFAD swiftly convened global experts and practitioners to inform USAID programming on the food security and nutrition impacts of the pandemic and to advise on promising responses.

BIFAD’s in-depth studies continue to influence USAID decision making and strategies. These include a study carried out under former BIFAD Chair Dr. Brady Deaton’s leadership that helped establish the transition of U.S. university-led Collaborative Research Support Programs to Feed the Future Innovation Labs and a study to inform the sustainability and impact of strategic human and institutional capacity development investments to advance the goals of the Feed the Future programs. Under former BIFAD Chair Dr. Mark Keenum’s leadership, two studies have been influential: How the United States Benefits from Agricultural and Food Security Investments in Developing Countries and Agricultural Productivity Growth, Resilience, and Economic Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Implications for USAID, which helped to inform the 2022 revisions to the U.S. Government Global Food Security Strategy.

Dr. Laurence Alexander, current BIFAD Chair and Chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, echoed USAID’s appreciation for former BIFAD members, saying, “Your vision and work have contributed greatly to USAID’s strategic direction and program implementation, and we look forward to building on this legacy.”

View the full announcement at this link

184th BIFAD Public Meeting

The Global Food Security Crisis: Exploring the Evidence Base and Lessons from the Past to Strengthen Agricultural, Nutrition, and Food Systems in the Face of Shocks

23 May 2022 (Online, 12:00-2:30 PM  EDT)

Public comment from 1:30–1:50 pm EDT and from 2:15–2:20 pm EDT

The Global Food Security Crisis: Exploring the evidence base and lessons from the past to strenghten agricutural nutrition and food systems in the face of shocks

This is a public meeting of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD), The Global Food Security Crisis: Exploring the Evidence Base and Lessons from the Past to Strengthen Agricultural, Nutrition, and Food Systems in the Face of Shocks. The BIFAD is a seven-member, presidentially appointed advisory board to USAID established in 1975 under Title XII of the Foreign Assistance Act, as amended, to ensure that USAID brings the assets of U.S. universities to bear on development challenges in agriculture and food security and supports their representation in USAID programming. This will be the first public meeting of BIFAD members appointed by President Joseph Biden on January 14, 2022 and will include an introduction to newly appointed BIFAD members, a briefing on BIFAD’s current work plan priorities, and an overview of key upcoming initiatives. BIFAD will also announce new work relating to systemic solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation in agricultural, nutrition, and food systems to inform the implementation of the recently released USAID Climate Strategy 2022–2030

In the face of short-term and long-term shocks, fragile food systems are driving increases in poverty, hunger, and child stunting. The global effort to end hunger and poverty is at a critical moment, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine adding to an already-compounded global food crisis as countries struggle to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, humanitarian emergencies, and climate change.  What does it mean to get ahead of future crises and to build resilient food systems?  What are the lessons learned from previous crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2007–2008 global food price crisis? BIFAD will take stock of evidence around these questions and identify weak links in food systems that must be strengthened to respond to global food security crises and to mitigate the impacts of current and future shocks. Food systems, nutrition, and humanitarian assistance experts will share lessons learned about resilience in the face of these disruptions. Evidence-based recommendations from these deliberations will inform USAID strategy implementation, policy, and programming. 

Public comment is invited to further inform BIFAD’s work. 

Learn more and view the full agenda.

Register to attend: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_vCZ3oZYDTAyEEcq14OwKIA 

 

Agricultural Research and Development: Essential to Accelerate Progress and Recovery Towards Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa

February 21, 2022 - A new podcast episode of the African Green Revolution Forum 2021 (AGRF2021) series features key findings of the BIFAD-commissioned report, Agricultural Productivity Growth, Resilience, and Economic Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Implications for USAID, and a discussion among panelists from Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa about necessary actions for accelerating progress and recovery toward inclusive agricultural transformation in sub-Saharan Africa.

The essential role of agricultural research and development for productivity-led agricultural growth in sub-Saharan Africa emerged as a clear theme throughout the episode.

AGRF Essential Actions to Accelerate Agricultural Progress and Recovery Podcast Panelists
AGRF Essential Actions to Accelerate Agricultural Progress and Recovery Podcast Panelists

Podcast moderator, Agnes Asiimwe Konde, Vice President for Program Innovation and Delivery at AGRA, and lead author of the report, Thom Jayne, Professor Emeritus at Michigan State University and Advisor to the President of the African Development Bank, discuss key findings of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD)-commissioned study. Agricultural production growth has been a major driver of economic transformation in sub-Saharan Africa over the past 20 years and is linked to notable improvements across other development indicators in health, education, and government effectiveness. However, this productivity growth is primarily attributable to land area expansion—a concerning trend considering environmental costs of deforestation and biodiversity loss. Pointing to several cases in Africa and Asia, countries that invest substantially in agricultural research, development, and extension (R&D&E) have achieved more rapid productivity growth rates. This growth is fostered through effective agricultural R&D&E systems, land tenure, finance, policy, infrastructure, market access, and other enabling environment factors that promote innovation and adoption of technologies and practices. 

Responding to these findings and reflecting upon their own research and experiences, panelists offer recommended actions to accelerate productivity-led growth—a few of which are summarized below.

Increase total government investment in agricultural research and development. Panelist Lulama Traub, Technical Committee Member for the Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes (ReNAPRI; an African-led, regionally coordinated group of national agricultural policy research institutes), points to data suggesting that most African countries are spending well below 1% of agricultural gross domestic product (GDP) on agricultural research and development. Of the few countries spending 1% or greater of agricultural GDP in agricultural research and development (R&D), most measured positive annual growth in agricultural output with growth attributed to increased total farm productivity and input use, rather than through land expansion. 

Create incentives and protect investments to capitalize private-sector investments in areas that are critical to productivity. Panelist Tosin Ojo, Vice President of the Sahel Group, encourages private sector-led research, with governments incentivizing and protecting private-sector investments in R&D. Panelists encourage capital investments in agricultural R&D that have great potential for return on investment and that respond to emerging challenges such as climate change adaptation and genetic potential for drought tolerance.

Organize and foster symbiotic partnerships between the private sector, governments, and research and higher education institutions. Wandile Sihlobo, Chief Economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa, points to the value of public-private partnerships to leverage the capacities of partner organizations. Wandile’s examples highlight the role of universities and research institutions in identifying evidence-based policy recommendations, objectively advising both the private and public sectors. 

In concluding remarks, study lead author Thom Jayne highlights three “ingredients” to building strong agricultural research and development in Africa: 1) strengthening partnerships and coordination between national research organizations and international research institutes, including the CGIAR system, 2) building the political will to support increased public investment in agricultural R&D; and 3) leveraging the staggering increase in human capital, including the 14-fold increase of youth attending post-secondary education in the past two decades, by incentivizing careers in agricultural research.  

Listen to the podcast and share your comments and ideas here (Podcast Episode 17).

Note: The views shared in this post and any shared resources are those of the author and speakers and do not necessarily reflect the formal opinion of USAID or BIFAD.

New Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) Appointments

On January 14, 2022, President Biden announced his intent to appoint new members of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development. The Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) is a seven-member, presidentially appointed advisory committee to USAID established in 1975 under Title XII of the Foreign Assistance Act to ensure that USAID brings the assets of U.S. universities to bear on development challenges in agriculture and food security and supports their representation in USAID programming. 

Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, Chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, has been appointed as BIFAD Chair along with new members: Dr. Marie Boyd, Associate Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina; Dr. Rattan Lal, 2020 World Food Prize Laureate, Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science, and Director of the Center for Carbon Management and Sequestration at The Ohio State University; Dr. Saweda Liverpool-Tasie, Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University; Ms. Henri Moore, Vice President and Head of Responsible Business, GSK Consumer Health; and Ms. Kathy Spahn, President and Chief Executive Officer of Helen Keller International. The announcement also extends the appointment of Dr. Pamela Anderson, Director General Emerita of the International Potato Center. 

Serving as thought leaders and conveners of diverse expert dialogues, the Board has recently provided evidence-based recommendations to USAID on protecting and advancing nutrition and food security outcomes during COVID-19 response and recovery; improving the agricultural sector and food security in conflict-affected and fragile contexts; and measuring the benefits of global agricultural development investment on the U.S economy. A newly published report commissioned by the Board puts forward a priority agenda for promoting economic transformation and resilience in the sub-Saharan region.

These new appointments position the Board to reflect the priorities of the new administration and continue to support USAID’s global commitments in agriculture and food systems through initiatives such as the revised US Government Global Food Security Strategy and U.S. Government Global Food Security Research Strategy; responding to climate change; expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion; and strengthening local systems. Dr. Alexander’s appointment as BIFAD Chair marks the first time the board is chaired by a leader of an 1890 public land grant university, acknowledging the valuable contributions of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and presenting opportunity to further strengthen USAID’s partnerships with HBCUs and other U.S Minority Serving Institutions. USAID is proud to welcome the new BIFAD members, encouraged by the diversity and depth of expertise, organizations, and experience among the new members. We look forward to incorporating their deep expertise, input and energy to help advance USAID’s objectives in the important years to come.

USAID thanks outgoing members for giving generously of their time and talent and for their years of outstanding service, contributions, and support to BIFAD: Mark E. Keenum, BIFAD Chair & President, Mississippi State University; James M. Ash, Food & Agribusiness Group Leader, Husch Blackwell LLP; Gebisa Ejeta, Distinguished Professor, Purdue University; Richard L. Lackey, Chairman and CEO, World Food Bank Inc.; David Matthews, Business Development Officer, United Community Bank; and Mark McDaniel, Partner, McDaniel and McDaniel Attorneys, LLC.

2022 BIFAD Members Photos and Titles

Agricultural Innovation for African Sustainability and Resilience: A World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogues Side Event

October 22, 7:30 am to 9:00 CDT

Agricultural Innovation for African Sustainability and Resilience. October 22, 2021, 7:30 - 9:00 am CDT

To view the recording, click here.  

You are invited to join this World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogues side event, hosted by the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) and USAID.

Investments in agricultural research and development generate among the greatest impacts on agricultural productivity growth and poverty reduction per dollar spent, though most African governments invest less than 1% of agricultural GDP in agricultural research.

This virtual event is structured as a dialogue, with participant interaction, building on earlier events from the UN Food Systems Summit and AGRF 2021, convening leaders to identify the priority actions for investments in agricultural research, development, and extension and an enabling policy environment. 

The event puts forward to regional and global leaders recommendations in three priority areas necessary to respond to climate change and build more resilient food systems: 1) priorities to improve capacities of government ministries and agencies to promote technical innovation and to respond to major shocks in food systems; 2) operationalizing recommendations for balance in research partnerships between international research institutions and national agricultural research systems; and 3) communicating research results back to policy makers to influence policy change and investments.

Presentations and discussion will draw from recent evidence, including the BIFAD-commissioned studyAgricultural Productivity Growth, Resilience, and Economic Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Implications for USAID, and look to build or expand upon recommendations put forward in the 2021 African Agricultural Status Report and a previous BIFAD co-hosted UN FSS Science Days event.

Special thanks to the World Food Prize Foundation for the invitation to host this side event. Please visit the WFP website to learn more and register for the 2021 Borlaug Dialogue. Note: Registration in the Borlaug Dialogues is not required to join this side event. Register for the side event at the link above.

AGRF 2021 Pre-Summit Dialogue: Agricultural Transformation for Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems

To view the recording, click here

On September 6, 2021, BIFAD, USAID, the African Development Bank, the World Bank, the Regional Network of African Policy Research Institutes (ReNAPRI), and the Alliance for African Partnership co-hosted an Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa Forum (AGRF) Pre-Summit panel discussion to identify conditions and properties of resilient, sustainable food systems and propose policies and programs for African governments to achieve them. The discussion drew from country case studies and recent evidence, including work commissioned by BIFAD, a World Bank publication, and an African Development Bank report, on linkages between agricultural productivity, economic transformation, and resilience. 

2021 Call for Nominations: BIFAD Award for Scientific Excellence in a Feed the Future Innovation Lab

The Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD), is pleased to announce the Call for Nominations for the 2021 BIFAD Awards for Scientific Excellence in a Feed the Future Innovation Lab. The Feed the Future Innovation Labs draw on the expertise of top U.S. universities and developing country research institutions to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges to strengthen the resiliency of food and agricultural systems. 

Click here for more information and here to submit a nomination.  

The Critical Role of Research and Development in Resilient and Sustainable Food Systems

A Side Event of the U.N. Food Systems Summit Science Days 

The Critical role of research and development in achieving resilient and sustainable food systems. July 7, 2021, 4:00 - UN Food Systems Summit

Hosted by USAID, the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD), the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes, and the Alliance for African Partnership

July 7, 2021, 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM (GMT -4) (90 minutes, virtual)

To register, click here

Click here for the recordingsummary of key points and calls to action, and official dialogue feedback to the UN 2021 Food Systems Summit. 

Please join this panel presentation and open forum discussion, a side event to the U.N. Food Systems Summit Science Days. Leaders across the private and public research and development sectors identify and discuss the key actions needed to advance adaptive agricultural research and to develop an enabling policy environment to support the steady stream of technological innovations necessary for resilient and sustainable food systems.

The discussion will review evidence of evolving economic transformation and progress towards resilience in sub-Saharan Africa from the BIFAD-commissioned Agricultural Productivity Growth, Resilience, and Economic Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa report and the World Bank publication, Harvesting Prosperity: Technology and Productivity Growth in Agriculture. Together, panelists and participants will identify lessons learned from countries in which substantial investments in adaptive agricultural research and development and extension systems have shown the catalytic role of productivity-led agricultural growth in contributing to employment, resilience, and economic transformation.

Launch of BIFAD-Commissioned Report, Agricultural Productivity Growth, Resilience, and Economic Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Implications for USAID 

To read the full report, click here

To read the policy brief, click here.

A new BIFAD-commissioned report, Agricultural Productivity Growth, Resilience, and Economic Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Implications for USAID, reviews the evidence of evolving economic transformation and progress towards resilience in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and provides a priority agenda for promoting transformation and resilience in the region, recognizing the varying challenges faced by fragile, low-income, lower-middle-income, and resource-rich countries. 

Key Findings:  Mounting evidence points to profound economic transformation in SSA since the early 2000s.  Across a broad range of indicators—health, life expectancy, education, public service delivery, government effectiveness, and public investment in future economic transformation—most African countries have made remarkable progress. While agricultural production growth has been a major driver of SSA’s economic transformation and improvements in living standards, production growth has been achieved mainly through the expansion of cropped area rather than through productivity growth. Those countries in Africa and Asia that have made substantial investments in adaptive agricultural research and development and extension (R&D&E) systems have shown the catalytic role of productivity-led agricultural growth in contributing to employment, resilience, and economic transformation. The challenges from uneven economic growth and development across the low-income, lower-middle-income, fragile, and resource-rich states point to different programmatic responses.  

Recommendations: The report recommends that USAID contribute to economic transformation and resilience by supporting African governments and other partners across the following opportunity areas: 1) Supporting COVID-19 recovery;  2) Accelerating productivity-led agricultural growth; 3) Expanding employment opportunities for young Africans; 4) Achieving economic empowerment for women; 5) Capturing the opportunities for intra-African agricultural trade and supporting the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement; 6) Reducing the rural infrastructural deficit; 7) Leveraging USAID strengths in institutional capacity development; and 8) Leveraging USAID convening power and U.S. global leadership in agricultural innovation. 

Report Authors: T. S. Jayne is University Foundation Professor of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at Michigan State University. Louise Fox is Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Visiting Scholar at the Blum Center for Developing Economies at the University of California Berkeley, and former Chief Economist at USAID. Keith Fuglie is Senior Economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service and formerly Senior Economist in the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, USAID. Adesoji Adelaja is the John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor in Land Policy, Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics at Michigan State University.

183rd BIFAD Public Meeting

Agricultural Growth, Economic Transformation, and the Journey to Self-Reliance: Implications for USAID Programming

October 13, 2020, 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm EDT (2.5 hours, virtual)

To see the agenda, click here

To view the meeting recording, click here

To see the meeting minutes, click here

A public meeting of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD), Agricultural Growth, Economic Transformation, and the Journey to Self-Reliance: Implications for USAID Programming, was held on October 13, 2020 from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm EDT. A public comment period took place from 3:00 to 3:20 pm, EDT.  The meeting was livestreamed livestreamed via Zoom. 

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is reorienting its strategies, partnership models, and program practices to achieve greater development outcomes and strive toward a future where foreign assistance is no longer necessary. The approach, outlined in the Agency’s Policy Framework, emphasizes the concept of “self-reliance”—defined as the capacity and commitment of a country to plan, finance, and implement solutions to solve its own development challenges in an effective, inclusive, and accountable way.

BIFAD convened the meeting to better understand the concept of economic transformation—how underdeveloped and agrarian-based countries shift from subsistence agriculture to a commercially oriented economy with diverse agricultural, manufacturing, and service sectors—and how it contributes to a country’s resilience to shocks, such as COVID-19, and its progression toward self-reliance. Authors of a BIFAD-commissioned study shared preliminary findings and lessons learned on emerging success stories in agricultural productivity-led economic transformation and discussed the implications of this evidence for USAID’s agricultural and food security development and social safety net priorities and programming.

On the basis of testimony, including public comments, shared at the meeting, BIFAD provided formal findings, conclusions, and recommendations to the Agency on best-bet operational and programmatic investments for catalyzing agricultural productivity and economic transformation.

 

182nd BIFAD Public Meeting

COVID-19 and Nutrition:  Impacts, Field Innovations, and the Way Forward

September 14, 2020, 10:00 am -12:30 pm EDT, 2.5 hours (virtual)

To view the agenda, click here

To access a recording of the meeting, click here, using Zoom passcode 6f3YY$YJ.

To access minutes of the meeting, click here

To see findings, conclusions, and recommendations from the meeting, click here.  

To see the Agency response to BIFAD recommendations, click here

A public meeting of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD), COVID-19 and Nutrition: Impacts, Field Innovations, and the Way Forward was held on September 14, 2020 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EDT.  A public comment period took place from 11:50 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. EDT.

This convening followed the June 4, 2020 181st BIFAD meeting, Food Security and Nutrition in the Context of COVID-19, to provide an update on the impacts of the pandemic on nutrition outcomes and to discuss USAID's response. The COVID-19 crisis risks backsliding on nutrition gains with irrevocable impacts on mortality and lost potential. Initial projections show likely significant increases in wasting and forthcoming analyses will quantify the potential impacts on small for gestational age, micronutrient deficiencies, stunting and declines in breastfeeding. Field reporting indicates significant reduction in coverage of key nutrition interventions. These will all translate in loss of life and development gains if not countered with adequate action on nutrition as global decision makers focus on response and recovery.

The meeting provided dedicated time to discuss how the global community can work together to protect and advance nutrition outcomes across sectors during COVID-19 response and recovery. In real time, researchers and implementers are gathering evidence to better understand the impacts of the pandemic and learning how to respond.

The meeting was organized to achieve three objectives:

1. To provide an update on what emerging research and data can tell us about the current and expected impacts of COVID-19 containment and control measures on nutrition, and how we should use this emerging evidence to guide our response.

2. To learn from our implementing partners and USAID Missions across sectors that have pivoted their implementation to respond to COVID-19 and protect nutrition outcomes. To understand the realities on the ground, and to include the innovations and expertise of those on the frontlines in the discourse.

3. To discuss and prioritize actions for the near, medium, and long term to safeguard and accelerate nutrition progress.

The meeting was intended to help support decision making by USAID and its partners and stakeholders working to advance food security and nutrition at global, regional and national levels. On the basis of testimony, including public comments, shared at the meeting, BIFAD provided formal findings, conclusions, and recommendations to the Agency on best-bet operational and programmatic investments.

 

181st BIFAD Public Meeting

Food Security and Nutrition in the Context of COVID-19:  Impacts and Interventions

June 4 2020, 1:30 to 3:30 pm EDT

To view the agenda and presentations, click here.

To hear a recording of the public meeting, click here.  

To view findings, conclusions, and recommendations, click here

To view minutes of the meeting, click here

To view the Agency response to BIFAD's recommendations, click here

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and measures put in place to stop its spread will have impacts on all intermediate results of the U.S. Government Global Food Security Strategy, including agricultural productivity, livelihoods, markets, trade and policy actions, food consumption and nutrition, hygiene and resilience. The Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD), an advisory committee to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), convened a virtual public meeting to share the thinking of leading experts in food security and nutrition that relates to COVID-19 impacts. This included consideration of  the most promising short-, medium-, and long-term responses across several key areas: farm-level productivity, markets and trade, access to finance, nutrition, safe and hygienic food systems, gender, and national and local policy. The meeting included presentations of credible modeling data about the scale and breadth of anticipated food security impacts in the developing world and a summary spanning near to longer-term interventions and guidance that may help to mitigate COVID-19 impacts. The meeting also provided leading sources of curated information (e.g., landing pages for information related to the crisis and response). The meeting was intended to help to support decision making by USAID and its partners and stakeholders working to advance food security, nutrition, and resilience at global, regional and national levels.

The meeting was a 2-hour webinar, open to the public, with an expert panel and a 20-minute public comment period from 3:10 to 3:30 pm. The recorded audio and video and meeting minutes are available in archive form.  On the basis of testimony, including public comments shared at the meeting, BIFAD provided formal findings, conclusions, and recommendations to the Agency on best-bet operational and programmatic investments. 

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Last updated: November 29, 2022

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