From April 18-20, AquaFish Innovation Lab staff participated in an AgExchange discussion to help align US government research investments to the Global Food Security Strategy. The AgExchange, a moderated online discussion hosted by the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), brought together more than 400 registered participants from several countries. The online discussion focused on four themes - criteria for focusing research investments, nutrition, agriculture-led economic growth, and resilience - each with guiding questions to spur substantive discussions.

AquaFish Innovation Lab Director, Dr. Hillary Egna, suggested research for small-scale agriculture production is needed in the areas of “marketing; value addition; risk management; accessible and reliable information delivery; and cooperative-business arrangements so smaller farms can function like a coordinated larger company.” She also asked why there is a focus only on smaller farms when medium-scale farms that employ local labor can provide incentive for youth to remain in rural communities. Her question generated several comments in support of targeting research based on factors such as farm size, location, and how individuals are participating in the market.

Jenna Borberg, AquaFish Innovation Lab's Assistant Director of Research, sparked a discussion about the connections between hope and resilience. The resulting conversation revealed gaps in research about hope and the difficulty of integrating hope into development programs. Though there is lack of research about the topic, there was interest in exploring how hope can fit into research priorities.

Over the course of the three-day event, several discussions were spurred, leading to meaningful feedback on the Global Food Security Strategy (GFSS). Comments from the AgExchange event, along with those from other sources collected earlier in the year, will be incorporated into the Draft Strategy over the coming months. The final GFSS will be unveiled in September 2017.

To view the full discussion and provided resources, visit the Agrilinks website.