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Food innovation, Italian expertise at ‘Seeds and Chips’ in Milan

Innovation in the food sector, from the field to the table, is the core of ‘Seeds and Chips. The Leading Food Innovation Summit in the World’, taking place in Milan from 7 to 10 May. This is one of the leading events at world level for promoting technologically advanced, but also eco-sustainable, solutions in the agri-food sector. In particular, on 9 May, a workshop will be held on ‘Innovation in tradition for sustainable food’, precisely on the issue of agroecology where some initiatives carried out with the contribution of the Farnesina and of the Italian Agency for Cooperation Development will be illustrated.  The Director General of Development Cooperation, Giorgio Marrapodi, is scheduled to deliver a speech on that occasion.
Italian expertise is giving a fundamental contribution to  this rural and agricultural development strategy which is respectful of the environment, in particular with regard to the development of sustainable supply chains, protection of the territory, promotion of cooperatives and of women entrepreneurs. Among the experiences that will be presented are those that concern the project promoted by the Italian Development Cooperation system for the production of durum wheat in Ethiopia, whose leader, Tiberio Chiari, will be speaking in Milan tomorrow. This is a project which, besides having a strong impact on production which rose from 500 to 1500 tons in the 2012-2015 period, has the objective of fighting single crop-growing practices which are more vulnerable to diseases. In order to give greater visibility to some Italian Development Cooperation initiatives in Africa and in Central America, the event will be attended also by UNIDO, FAO and Illy that will be reporting on the coffee projects in Ethiopia. 
The panel will also be focusing on water conservation and management. This will be an opportunity to assign the ‘Water first! Building a Sustainable Future’ award, in the name of Ambassador Giorgio Giacomelli who passed away last year. His commitment to the conservation and management of water resources earned him the appointment as member of the UN Advisory Board on water and sanitation in 2006 by UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. A jury consisting of UNIDO, CNR and the Italian Institute of Technology will be assigning a prize of 10,000 euro to the most innovative project. In a world where, by 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in water scarce areas, the challenge is to protect the oceans, provide sanitation systems and water resources for agriculture, besides providing drinking water to developing countries. 

Finally, also some projects carried out by FAO with Italy’s financial support will be presented during the workshop. They range from assistance to small farmers in Ethiopia and Senegal for growing crops close to schools in coordination with a WFP project for school canteens, to contributions to the fishing community in the Gaza Strip, support for vulnerable women in the Sahel thanks to agro-ecology, and stepping up activities to enhance the awareness of the importance of mountain ecosystems.