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Entrepreneurial Thinking for Sustainable Food Systems

As we face a climate crisis and food insecurity in many regions of the world, it’s becoming increasingly clear that investing in local food systems is an essential strategy for addressing these challenges. At the Global Solutions Summit held in Berlin on May 6-7, 2024, experts and entrepreneurs from around the world came together to participate in this year’s discussion under the theme “Moving Beyond the Crisis: Mobilizing Change for Global Prosperity.”

One of the key insights that emerged from the summit was the importance of a holistic approach to building local food systems. Rather than simply focusing on increasing yields or improving technology, it’s crucial to consider the social, economic, and environmental impacts of food production and distribution. As Amit Bouri, CEO of the Global Impact Investing Network, noted, “The food system is not just about producing more food or getting it to market. It’s also about creating jobs, improving health, and protecting the environment.”

One inspiring example of an agri-entrepreneur who is taking this approach is Mathias Charles Yabe (2022 Anzisha Fellow), CEO of AkoFresh, a Ghanaian food company that specialises in high-quality produce and value-added products. Yabe’s mission is to create a more sustainable and equitable food system in Ghana, leveraging technology and social innovation to connect farmers with consumers, while also supporting small-scale producers and reducing food waste.

Through partnerships with local farmers and a network of trained extension agents, AkoFresh is able to guarantee a steady supply of fresh, nutritious produce to its customers, while also providing fair prices and reliable income to farmers. The company also uses innovative packaging and transportation solutions to reduce food waste and improve food safety.

Yabe’s vision reflects the broader movement of food entrepreneurship, which seeks to create a more sustainable and equitable food system by empowering small-scale producers, connecting them with market opportunities, and improving supply chain efficiency. This approach aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to end hunger, achieve food security, promote sustainable agriculture, and generate decent work and economic growth.

Mathias reflects on his experience at the Global Solutions Summit:

“Having the distinct honour of meeting and interacting with the Federal Chancellor of Germany, H.E. Olaf Scholz, and Bill Gates at the Global Solutions Summit was an inspiring moment that reinforced my dedication to driving sustainable change and empowering communities.
During our exclusive meeting for the Young Global Changers and inspiring youth organisations, I took the opportunity to ask Bill Gates about his vision to empower smallholder farmers in Africa and other developing continents to produce more food sustainably. His insights were both inspiring, highlighting the critical need for innovation and collaboration in agriculture to ensure food security and sustainability for future generations.
These conversations have reaffirmed my commitment to driving positive change and supporting initiatives that uplift communities through sustainable practices and our work at AkoFresh ™️.”

Investing in local food systems and food entrepreneurship can also have significant ripple effects for local economies. As Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, noted at the Global Solutions Summit, “Food and agriculture are key sectors for economic development. They can drive growth, create jobs, and improve livelihoods.”

By supporting small-scale food producers and entrepreneurs, we can leverage the power of local economies to drive sustainable development, while also improving access to fresh, nutritious food for everyone. To fully realise the potential of this movement, however, it will require bold leadership and sustained investment from governments, philanthropists, and investors alike.

Lynn Brown
Lynn Brown
Lynn is a content marketer that focuses on brand storytelling through digital platforms. Skilled in a background of web development, search engine optimization and content production, Lynn is excited to utilize over 10 years’ experience in digital marketing to help grow the ecosystems that support Africa’s very young entrepreneurs to ensure their success.

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