Story: In Blocked Chains We Trust

It is 2080. We are on a farm somewhere in Africa. Everything is digital. The blockchain is an omnipotent point of reference, and the farm is flourishing. But then, everything goes wrong. A dystopian short story, written exclusively for SEWOH.

Ich bin ein Alternativtext
Foto: GIZ

Solomon King Benge

Solomon King Benge is the founder of Fundi Bots, an education non-profit with a mission to accelerate science learning in Africa. Fundi Bots uses high-impact learning tools like robotics and enhanced science curriculum material to promote better learning outcomes, improved career prospects and real-world technological advancement in African schools and communities.

In addition, he is a 2014 Echoing Green Fellow, 2014 Ashoka Fellow and a 2017, Segal Family Foundation African Visionary Fellow.

Solomon also enjoys art and storytelling through various media.

March 20th 2025. Kwame Nkrumah University, Ghana.

On the night of March 20th 2025, in a hostel room at the Kwame Nkrumah University, a woman typed furiously away at a computer. The harsh light from the computer screen lit the darkness of the room, illuminating the sleeping form of her room-mate. The woman paused, squinting intently at the screen. She adjusted her glasses slightly, frowned and continued typing.

 

“For farmers, by farmers.” Its slogan was simple, concise and no-nonsense.

 

Her name was Fadi Donkor-Adjaye, a fourth-year student of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and she was writing the last few lines of code for what she called the NotreAger project. It had consumed the last three years of her life and now, it was done. At 2:26AM, Fadi clicked the “Upload” button and five minutes later, NotreAger was live.

Her desire, she told the Student University Blog the next morning as she started her carefully crafted marketing campaign, was to create a centralized marketplace for African farmers. “For farmers, by farmers.” Its slogan was simple, concise and no-nonsense.

“Fadi Donkor-Adjaye’s NotreAger project is a big and bold initiative,” the University Blog gushed. “At its core lies blockchain technology, which ensures that all transactions along the agriculture value chain can be monitored, managed, enforced and traced efficiently and securely, from the purchase of seed for planting to the final check-out by a customer in a supermarket.

“For example, a farmer can know, from the comfort of their mobile device, which final product their coffee, beans or rice ended up in, right up to the store that sold it. This gives the farmer stronger negotiating power and higher income because they can provide proof-of-quality while studying the supply and demand forces that drive the sales and prices of the final product.”

The blog went on to boldly declare: “The middle-man is officially dead!”

 

***

 

Fadi’s parents were smallholder farmers, and her entire life, she’d seen and experienced the struggle they went through, trying to keep her and her three siblings in school. She was especially devastated when her father passed away during her second year of university and her mother informed her that they had only one year of finances saved before they would go totally broke.

 

Fadi couldn’t allow this to happen; she had vowed to be the first girl in her family to finish university as an engineer.

 

If that happened, her mother had said, Fadi would have to drop out of school to enable her siblings – all boys – to continue education. Fadi couldn’t allow this to happen; she had vowed to be the first girl in her family to finish university as an engineer. Agricultural engineer, yes, but still an engineer.

 

Fadi knew that there were many ways you could make money on the internet, but hadn’t really had the need to explore until now, so she started doing research on online marketing, social media influencing and so on. But the years working with her parents on their family farm had sown the seed for hard, passionate work tilling the earth. And she had been obsessed with why her parents always struggled to find good prices for produce, especially as harvest seasons peaked. She also wondered why it wasn’t possible to store food to sell during the off-season when prices were better.

 

Her curiosity drove her deeper towards famer-focused solutions. She started gaining an interest in online markets for farmers like her parents and she soon discovered hundreds of apps that were doing exactly that, with varying levels of success. But she noticed a pattern: all these apps were developed by techies who didn’t know a thing about farming. None of them had grown up on a farm or had any experience farming; all they had was the “market research.”

 

Fadi was ten years old then, and didn’t understand, but nodded her head grimly and mouthed “global warming.”

 

As she kept researching, Fadi grew more and more confident. She had the experience, decades of it: toiling on the farm night and day; going to the market and haggling with buyers and middle-men; watching in dismay as crops failed because the weather patterns were changing.

 

“It’s global warming”, her mother had told her once, staring at the sky and shaking her head grimly. Fadi was ten years old then, and didn’t understand, but nodded her head grimly and mouthed “global warming.”

 

Fadi couldn’t code, but she vowed she would learn, because she wanted to make the product her way. It took her three long, excruciating years, juggling school and working online so she could stay in school and pay tuition for her siblings.

 

As it turned out, Fadi was an exceptional programmer, and her online marketing skills paid off in unexpected ways: when NotreAger launched on 25th March 2025, it had 0 users. Two weeks later, she had recruited 500 farmers to the platform.

 

NotreAger celebrated its first-year anniversary with 100,000 farmers from 30 countries across Africa. With $500,000 in annual profit in its second year, NotreAger was a runaway success.

 

Five years later, Fadi accepted an exceptionally large venture-capital-backed full buyout and retired to live on a large farm in Southern Ghana.

 

Terra Vertus, the company that bought NotreAger rebranded it to NeoAgro after three years. By 2035, ten years after its creation, NeoAgro had 35 million farmers in its network, coming from nearly every single African country. NeoAgro controlled 85% of the total African farming market, the majority of whom were smallholder farmers.

 

***

 

February 18th, 2080. Lamwor District, Northern Uganda.

7:15AM

Jackson Oloya tapped the small button on the side of his head, ending the call. He had been pacing the room, agitated and now he stood facing his FarmStation, a formidable but sleek computer unit on his desk. He looked at the holophone dock on the desk and shook his head in disbelief. The image fading away from the projected display was that of his farm manager who had just delivered some pretty bad news.

 

Still standing, Jackson switched on the FarmStation, and the multiple screens blinked to life one at a time. He connected to the internet and logged onto his NeoAgro account and opened up his dashboard. His quickly scanned the monitors, his heart sinking as each update came online. When the last one came on, he slowly sat down on his chair.

 

His farm manager was right: every single service was blinking red. Status: Offline.

He scanned the screen again, slowly this time. Robotics, Nutrients, Water, MarketPlace, Silo, Transport, Weather, Sensors... Everything was offline. Unavailable. No Access.

His FarmStation was no longer permitted to connect to NeoAgro, which meant his farm was officially a blacklisted farm, and he, Jackson Oloya was a rogue farmer.

He was in full panic now. If he wasn’t able to restore services quickly, his crops would start dying, his animals would not be fed, he would miss his daily NeoAgro targets and his ranking would start slipping. Fast. Within days, he might find himself back at the bottom of his cluster, erasing decades of hard work and then things would start to get really, really bad.

There was a bigger problem, however: Jackson had no idea why his services had been terminated. He was on track with rental payments for the NeoAgro services, the hardware maintenance logs were in perfect shape, he had no negative balances. But above all, his farm was a beacon that demonstrated the exponential impact of precision farming available to farmers who signed up for NeoAgro’s FarmStation service.

So why on Earth was his farm offline?

 

4PM

Jackson stood in the middle of the farm, with a deep frown on his face. He was expecting a call from a NeoAgro Customer Satisfaction Representative. He had been waiting for almost three hours.

His farm was a modest 3-acre piece of land, split into three parts to cater for: indoor crops, which were housed in the greenhouse; outdoor crops and; a large livestock shed where Friesian cows bellowed and chickens clucked loudly. The animals hadn’t been fed for almost ten hours now and they were getting extremely agitated.

 

Failure to pay salaries at the end of the month was the kind of nightmare he did not want to even think about.

 

The farm was eerily silent. Normally, at around this time of the day, you could hear the whirr of motors as the linear robots in the greenhouse moved from plant to plant testing soil moisture, acidity and nutrient values as they simultaneously planted, watered, weeded and harvested, depending on the crop and the cycle. The milking machines were also offline, which meant some of the cows were starting to get very restless. Towards the back of the farm, the autonomous transportation drones were neatly lined by the silo, which was firmly shut with a red “Access Denied” sign on its lock.

 

His workers – most of them maintenance engineers - milled about, idly chatting to one another as they waited for solutions from the boss. They all had worried looks though, Jackson noted. And he knew why: FarmStation had a reputation ranking system for farm employees, which allowed outstanding engineers and workers to get better jobs and wages. And since FarmStation also managed salaries… Jackson shook away the thought. Failure to pay salaries at the end of the month was the kind of nightmare he did not want to even think about.

 

The workers teased a younger-looking boy for being clumsy around the robotics unit and he laughed awkwardly, stating proudly that he will learn slowly.

Jackson’s holophone trilled in his ear. He quickly put on the projection glasses and looked at the caller. He frowned. It was an old friend: Clare Nassonko. His frown deepened. This wasn’t good. He hadn’t seen Clare in...

My goodness, he thought, it has been forever!

Jackson had met Clare during a farmers’ cooperative union meeting nearly twenty years ago. Back then, she was the East Africa Customer Acquisition Lead for NeoAgro and was on a product engagement trip, talking to farmers and cooperative unions about the new full access package NeoAgro was developing for farmers like Jackson.

 

“This is a day I've been looking forward to for a long, long time," Clare had said, slowly pacing back and forth in front of the hall.

 

Clare was a natural salesperson, and her presentation skills were incomparable. In a moment of weakness, she had whispered to Jackson that she relentlessly watched the videos of the greatest speakers who had ever lived, specifically the legendary Steve Jobs.

 

“Today… is a day you will never forget.” Clare smiled.

 

The farmers in the hall clapped. They were all NeoAgro users and they all had only good things to say about the service. Many of them had increased their income tenfold because NeoAgro provided them with full control and full access to the market. Of course, it came with fees, but, of course, they were more than happy to pay the fees. Over many decades, the traditional middle-men had lost all their power, as the farmers happily handed the power over to Terra Vertus’ crown jewel- NeoAgro, which now managed services for over 97% of African farmers.

 

With NeoAgro’s blockchain-based services, we didn’t just improve the way farmers accessed markets; we transformed the entire agriculture value chain. We gave you more value. We gave you control! We gave you…POWER!”

 

That day, Clare was there to convince them to trust NeoAgro a little bit more.

 

"Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything.” Her gestures as she spoke were grand, but controlled like a military general inspiring troops before a battle. “NeoAgro didn’t just change farming; it changed the African continent. With NeoAgro’s blockchain-based services, we didn’t just improve the way farmers accessed markets; we transformed the entire agriculture value chain. We gave you more value. We gave you control! We gave you… POWER!”

 

The hall erupted with shouts and whoops. It took a while for the crowd to become quiet again. Clare basked in her audience’s adulation. She had them sold even before they knew what exactly they were buying.

 

“Well, today, I would like to introduce the most revolutionary product we have ever created.”

She paused for emphasis, scanning the room. The farmers were all leaning forward, Jackson more so.

"Today, we're introducing three revolutionary products. The first one is a new, real-time updated version of NeoAgro. We call it Version X, and it will provide access to marketplaces, weather services, transportation services, land management and credit facilities. The second is a breakthrough, fully automated farming system, complete with micro-robots, crop sensors, irrigation, harvest management and silo storage. The third is the most powerful farm management computer system ever built. And it ties all of this together, giving you a secure and efficient way to manage your entire farm.

 

“Three products… NeoAgro X… an automated farming system and… a powerful farm management computer.

 

“But… these are not three separate products.”

 

Clare stopped pacing. She looked into the audience, making strong eye-contact with several people, and waited for the implication to sink in. She could sense the tension and then the release as one by one, the farmers started making the connection.

 

“These are not three separate products.” Her voice was strong and firm, with the confidence of a speaker who knew she was in complete control. The air in the packed hall was electric.

 

“This is one unified, comprehensive product, and we’re calling it… FarmStation!”

 

And with a flourish that she had clearly practiced meticulously for months, she unveiled the sleek new FarmStation system. It looked incredible.

 

The applause was deafening. Everyone was standing up, high-fiving each other and chanting, “Long live, NeoAgro! Long live Terra Vertus!”

 

***

 

“Jackson!” the voice in his ear shook him out of his reverie, bringing him back to the present. He could still hear the chants in his memories, including his own joyful whoops.

 

But now, Clare was now VP of Customer Relations. Her successful sales push with the FarmStation had propelled her very quickly to senior management. She had personally overseen its adoption in East Africa, often travelling long, weary days with the technical teams to ensure the farmers were satisfied with the product. She had actually been with the team that installed his FarmStation.

 

“Clare! Thank goodness! I need your help!” Jackson was back in full problem-solving mode, the memories pushed to the back of his mind.

 

“Jackson, I know. Your name popped up on the blacklist and I decided to check for myself. You know I like to keep tabs on my farmers.”

 

“I have no idea what’s going on, Clare. I woke up this morning to a frantic and panicked holocall from my farm manager. All my systems are offline and I can’t seem to get a straight answer from anyone in NeoAgro’s customer support. The only responses I keep getting is that the issue has been escalated to another level. Clare, my cows haven’t been milked all day.”

 

“I know. I can see all of that from here. But there’s a big problem, Jackson. You… your farm violated our supplier integrity code.” Her voice was firm and even through the poor holocall connection, he could see that she was watching him intently.

 

“I don’t… I don’t understand,” Jackson responded, hesitantly. He was frantically scouring his mind, looking for where he could have messed up. Maybe it was one of his workers… No. He dismissed the thought. His workers were well-trained… the very best. Their rankings were at the top of their cluster. There was no way they could be at fault.

 

“Jackson…” Clare’s voice had gone down a note and sounded deadly serious. “The digital signature of the fresh beans harvest you submitted last week does not match the signature of beans you should be harvesting from your farm.”

 

“What? That’s not possible!”

 

“But it is what we’re seeing.”

 

 “Clare, are you accusing me of tampering with the seed?”

 

“I’m not accusing you. But NeoAgro is foolproof and the ledger is incorruptible. Someone did something illegal on your farm. The data from your FarmStation shows an unapproved input from the planting stage. Someone provided the robotics unit with illegal seeds.”

 

“Hang on a second. Isn’t the FarmStation supposed to block all access and stop activity if there’s an error at that stage?”

 

“Yes, it should. But not if it assumes you’re adding a new crop to your garden or splicing a new strain of an existing crop. We can see the proof-of-work from your farm, and the smart-contracts kicked in at all the appropriate stages. However, someone did something illegal, at the most vulnerable point: seed storage. Unfortunately, the first stage of the NeoAgro blockchain system is based on our trust in you, the farmer. And that trust has been violated.”

 

Violated. Such a heavy, ominous word, Jackson thought.

 

“So what so I do now? Can this be traced? You know me Clare. You know I wouldn’t do this. My team also wouldn’t do this. I trust them completely, and besides, they have a lot to lose.”

 

“For now, you’re blacklisted, Jackson.” Clare’s voice on the other end of the holocall was cold and distant.

 

Jackson felt the world shrinking around him. A cold sweat trickled down his back as Clare continued talking.

 

“NeoAgro does not make any exceptions for farmers who violate the integrity code. The very fabric of NeoAgro depends on our farmers doing exactly as the system tells them, when it tells them and where it tells them. Down to the microsecond. A farmer breaking this rule destroys the trust and could easily lead to an integrity infection within the entire network.”

 

Jackson was speechless. This wasn’t Clare speaking. It was the voice of NeoAgro’s power. The same power he and other smallholder farmers had handed over decades ago.

 

They cared only for the cold, harsh, incorruptible data that came from the millions of FarmStations that ran every single farm in Africa.

 

“I’ll see what I can do.” Clare’s voice had become just a little bit sympathetic, but there was a cold edge to it. “I have to warn you, though, my hands are tied. This can take a long time to resolve.”

 

They had become close friends over the years since they met and had stayed in touch until she had been transferred to another country, where her increasing workload had made it harder for her to make time for a call, or a coffee when she was in the country. But NeoAgro’s rules, policies and frameworks no longer cared for friendships, un-milked cows, wilting crops or starving farmers saying a prayer around an empty dinner table. They cared only for the cold, harsh, incorruptible data that came from the millions of FarmStations that ran every single farm in Africa.

 

After a silence that seemed like an eternity, Jackson asked, “How much time are we looking at before I get a response?” He wasn’t sure he wanted to hear the answer.

 

“Five weeks, and even then, I’m still not sure.”

 

Five weeks?!! F***! Just one week off NeoAgro would cause unimaginable chaos. Five weeks was a death sentence.

 

F***!

 

6:32PM

Jackson walked through the greenhouse. He’d turned off the non-essential power supply to the entire farm, leaving just the lighting. There was no point keeping the power on now; his farm was doomed and his cluster rating was going back to zero. He had built his entire life around NeoAgro, and now… just like that… it was gone. The NeoAgro Legal and Compliance team wouldn’t even listen to his pleas for lenience based on his track record. Broken trust was broken trust, they had said. The blockchain doesn’t lie, they had muttered. Our data is incorruptible, they had insisted.

He reached the exit of the greenhouse and waved at one of his workers who was just entering; the same worker who was being teased earlier in the day. The worker was new, a fresh-faced kid, barely out of his teens, from another village across the country. He had been sent for training by a distant relative of Jackson’s wife.

The worker waved back, and continued on his way.

 

As Jackson fired up his motorcycle and drove back home to break the bad news to his family, the worker reached the seed storage unit, where the robotics system picked seed for planting.

Opening the packet in his hand, he carefully inspected the contents.

When he had just started working here a few weeks ago, he had noticed that sometimes the container that stored seed was not as full as it needed to be, and, eager to please his new boss, the young worker had been collecting seeds from the market across the road to fill up the container. He’d spent the idle afternoon today collecting more seed from the market and had carefully wrapped them in the packet he now held open before him.

Satisfied that the seeds had no stones – the robotics systems didn’t tolerate foreign objects in the seeds – he smiled and poured them into the container and closed the seed storage unit.

The worker left the farm and started walking home, as the sun was setting. He was happy. His boss was going to be so proud of him for being so proactive…

 

As the night came, the neighboring farms hummed and buzzed along, business as usual. Robots planted, weeded, irrigated and harvested. Milking machines tugged and squeezed, filling carefully labeled containers with fresh milk. And transportation drones zipped across the dark, moonless sky, landing, loading and taking off with extreme precision.

 

And in the darkness, a red halo appeared over Jackson’s farm, illuminating the night sky with pulsing words…

 

Access.

 

Denied.

 

Access.

 

Denied.

 

Access.

 

Denied.

 

Go back

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JOERG BOETHLING / GIZ

Continent in an uptrend

By Dr. Agnes Kalibata

Partnering for Africa’s Century: Innovation and Leadership as Drivers of Growth and Productivity in Rural Areas

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An investment in Africa's future

By Essa Chanie Mussa

Rural youth need viable livelihood opportunities to escape out of poverty and realize their aspirations. How could they be helped to fully unleash their potential? This is an aloud call that needs novel strategies among governments, policy makers, and international development partners and donors.

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Joerg Boethling/GIZ

‘The Green Revolution reaches its limits’

Stig Tanzmann is a farmer and adviser on agricultural issues at ‘Bread for the World’. Jan Rübel interviewed him about his reservations about AGRA's strategy.

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KLAUS WOHLMANN / GIZ

’Farmers are smart’

By Jan Rübel

From the lab to the masses: Maria Andrade bred varieties of biofortified sweet potatoes which are now widely used all over the continent. She sets her hope on the transformation of African agriculture.

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Frank Schultze / Agentur_ZS

Video: Visions in agriculture

By Frank Schultze and Jan Rübel

At the beginning of December 2018, AGRA's board of directors met in Berlin. The "Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa" ​​panel discussed the next steps in their policy of modernizing agriculture. How to go on in the next ten years? One question - many answers from experts.

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Frank Schultze / Agentur_ZS

The communicator

By Jan Rübel

What do electrical engineering, telecommunications and agriculture have in common? They arouse the passion of Strive Masiyiwa: Thirty years ago, he started an electrical installation company with $75, later riding the telecommunications wave as a pioneer. Today he is committed to transforming African agriculture.

 

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MarkIrungu /AGRA

Spiritual mortar for the young generation

By Jan Rübel

Fred Swaniker is working building a new era of leaders. And what about agriculture? ‘It needs to be more sexy!’

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Karel Prinsloo/Arete/Rockefeller Foundation/AGRA

'Nutrition is a human right'

Joe DeVries is a breeder – and Vice President of AGRA. What are the chances and risks of a ’green revolution‘ in Africa? A discourse between Jan Rübel and him about productivity, needs, and paternalism.

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KLAUS WOHLMANN / GIZ

Wanted: German investment in African agriculture

Stefan Liebing is chairman of the Africa Association of German Business. The manager calls for a better structure of African farms. Jan Rübel asked him about small farmers, the opportunities for German start-ups and a new fund.

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"Extreme is the new normal"

By Alexander Müller, and Jes Weigelt

As the climate changes, the population of Africa is growing and fertile land and jobs are becoming scarcer. New ways are currently leading to urbanisation of agriculture and a new mid-sized sector in the countryside

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(c) Nina Schroeder/World Food Programme

Policy against disasters

Interview with Thomas Loster

Insurance companies could provide protection during droughts in Africa. How exactly this could be done is what the industry is currently trying to figure out. First experiences are available. An interview with the Managing Director of the Munich Re Foundation, Thomas Loster

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(c) Christoph Mohr/GIZ

Microinsurance against climate change

By Claudia Voß

Climate change is destroying development progress in many places. The clever interaction of digitalisation and the insurance industry protects affected small farmers.

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(c) Nina Schroeder/World Food Programme

Hunger is caused by people, not the climate

Interview with Jacob Schewe

A study by the World Bank predicts that millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa will have to leave their homelands because of climate change. We have spoken with one of the authors

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(c) Nina Schroeder/World Food Programme

Green from the growth container

By Maria Smentek

If there is a lack of fertile soil and rain, hunger breaks out quickly. Hydroponic-systems can help

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(c) Gudrun Barenbrock/GIZ

Edible bugs - the new beef?

By Marwa Shumo

Insect farming is economical and environmentally sustainable, they are high in protein and they live on agricultural waste. Marwa Abdel Hamid Shumo thinks: They are the best weapon to combat hunger

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(c) Christoph Püschner/Brot für die Welt

The North bears the responsibility, the South bears the burden

By Susanne Neubert

Adaptation to climate change can be achieved by making agriculture more environmentally sustainable – if the rich countries also reduce their emissions

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Graphics: Africa's digital disruption

What Africa is experiencing in the course of digitisation is a disruption. Here three steps are taken in one, there you remain. In any case, the changes are enormous and bring some surprises. A graphic walk.

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Answers from the youth: "Leave or stay? That depends on it!"

GIZ study; conducted by Geopoll

Does Africa's youth want to live in the city or in the country? Which career path seems particularly attractive? And how optimistic are the young people about the future? Young adults from rural areas answered these questions by SMS.

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(c) Joerg Boethling/GIZ

"We are not Uber for tractors"

Interview with Jehiel Oliver

Jehiel Oliver was a successful consultant. One day, he quit his job in investment banking to become a social entrepreneur. His mission: tractors for Africa. Rental tractors. What gave him that idea? Find out in his interview with Jan Rübel.

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(c) Klara Palatova/WFP

A global signpost: What way is the market, please?

By World Food Programme

There is a clear global task: We need to feed nine billion people by 2050. We, the people of Earth, must produce more food and waste less. That is the top priority of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), too - the description of a challenge.

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(c) Christof Krackhardt/Brot für die Welt

Together and resourceful against worldwide hunger

By Brot für die Welt

Climate change disturbs the climate in Ethiopia. The answer from small farmers in the northern region is convincing: diversify!

 

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© GIZ / Angelika Jacob

This is how developing countries can adapt better to droughts

By Michael Brüntrup und Daniel Tsegai

Droughts are the natural disasters with far-reaching negative consequences. While rich countries are still vulnerable to drought, famines are no longer found.

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(c) Michael Bruentrup/DIE

News from the starting block: Changeover

By Michael Brüntrup

The region of Sub-Saharan Africa is on the decisive verge of a great development boost in farming: it could skip entire generations of technological development. But how?  About possible roles and potentials of digital services.

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Ebay Against Hunger

Small holders around the world are often forced to sell their harvests below market value due to a lack of market and pricing information. A new app by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is going to change this.

A project of WFP

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Resilience in times of crisis

Yemen is currently experiencing one of the worst disasters, due to war, hunger and disease outbreaks. The GIZ is locally engaged to improve the nutrition and resilience of Yemenites.

A project of GIZ

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(c) GIZ

COST-BENEFIT ANALYSES FOR MORE SOIL CONSERVATION

With the help of sustainable farming methods, soils can be preserved and made fertile again. The investment required is also worthwhile from a financial perspective.

A project of GIZ

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(c) GIZ

Youth employment in rural area

Offering young people in rural areas better employment prospects is one of the objectives of the sector project. The young population is the key to a modern and efficient agricultural economy.

A project of GIZ

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(c) Foto XtraPay

XtraPay - thanks to farmers

XtraPay wants to make international supply chains more transparent and establish a direct connection between producer and consumer. The bonus payment system was successfully piloted on 16 August in ten Edeka supermarkets in Braunschweig.

A project of BMZ

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(c) Luis Vera/Misereor

High on soya

The spread of monocultures is globally harmful to the environment and violates human rights; it makes for more losers than winners. But there are ways out, here one example: Smallholders in Parguay are fighting back.

A Misereor project

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(c) Privat

Small Farms, big money

By Agnes Kalibata

Africas economy can only grow sustainably, if also small-scale agriculture is seen as opportunity.

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It all comes down to the young population

By Jan Rübel

What happens when young people leave the rural areas? How can the region achieve what is referred to as the demographic bonus – and how can it reap the benefits of the demographic dividend? A look at demography shows the following: What is most important is promoting women’s rights and education.

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An opportunity for the continent

By the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Africa’s population is young and ready to take its destiny into its own hands. Agriculture offers amazing opportunities in this regard. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation wants to support the next generation in this way.

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Freed from trade? Towards a fairer EU Trade Agenda

By Dr. Jan Orbie

‘Fair’ and ‘sustainable’ are key words in Germany’s EU Council Presidency. At the same time, Germany pursues ‘modernization’ of the WTO and ‘rapid progress’ on free trade agreements. Are these goals really compatible? Can we be concerned about fairness and sustainability while continuing with ‘business as usual’?

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Hunger must not be a consequence of the epidemic!

By Michael Brüntrup (DIE)

Even though COVID-19 poses a threat to the health of humanity, the reaction to the pandemic must not cause more suffering than the disease itself. This is particularly relevant for poor developing countries, where the impact of the corona crisis on food security is even more severe!

 

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More than just a seat at the table

By Welthungerhilfe

Africa is home to the world’s youngest and fastest growing population. For many young people, agriculture could offer a job perspective. But to improve the living conditions and job prospects of young people in rural areas, political reforms and investments are desperately needed, as these people will be at the centre of agriculture and agricultural development in the future.

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Global responsibility: Tackling hunger is the only way forward

By Lisa Hücking (WHH)

Chancellor Merkel has begun an ambitious European political programme: Striving for compromise in budget negotiations, an orderly Brexit as well as an appropriate response to the corona crisis. Unfortunately, one of her positions that she previously held is nowhere to be found: Africa's prosperity is in the interest of Europe. 

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Reference values: A building block on the road to social equality

Article by Friederieke Martin (GIZ)

A quick and cost-effective method calculates living wages and incomes for many different countries. The GIZ together with Fairtrade International and Richard and Martha Anker have developed a tool that companies can use to easily analyse income and wage gaps.

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Quinoa could have a huge potential in Central Asia, where the Aral Sea Basin has been especially hard-hit by salinisation.

Supermarket Scorecard on Human Rights

By Dr. Franziska Humbert (Oxfam)

Oxfam’s supermarket scorecard, which is in its third year, shows one thing in particular - it works! Supermarkets can change their business policies and focus more on the rights of those people around the world who plant and harvest food. However, this does not happen without pressure. 

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Quinoa could have a huge potential in Central Asia, where the Aral Sea Basin has been especially hard-hit by salinisation.

Africa's face of agriculture is female

By Beatrice Gakuba

Africa has a huge opportunity to make agriculture its economic driver. However, the potential for this is far from being made exhaustive use of, one reason being that women face considerable difficulties in their economic activities. The organisation AWAN Afrika seeks to change this state of affairs.

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Success story allotment garden: Food supply and women's empowerment

By Nadine Babatounde and Anne Floquet

To prevent malnutrition among young children and strengthen the role of women in their communities, Misereor, together with the local non-governmental organisation CEBEDES, is implementing a programme on integrated home gardens in Benin - a series of pictures.

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Quinoa could have a huge potential in Central Asia, where the Aral Sea Basin has been especially hard-hit by salinisation.

Video: 4 Questions to Claudia Makdristo

By Seedstars

Startups are booming in African agriculture. What are the current trend and challenges – and can other regions benefit from innovative approaches? A Video-Interview with Claudia Makadristo, Regional Manager of Seedstars  

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Quinoa could have a huge potential in Central Asia, where the Aral Sea Basin has been especially hard-hit by salinisation.

Planetary Health: Recommendations for a Post-Pandemic World

By Dr. Kathleen Mar and Dr. Nicole de Paula

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, health is receiving unprecedented public and political attention. Yet the fact that climate change is also affecting the environmental and social determinants of health in a profound and far-reaching way deserves further recognition.

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Innovations for a secure food supply

By German Agribusiness Alliance

The COVID 19 pandemic is hitting developing and emerging countries and their poorest populations particularly hard. It is important to take countermeasures at an early stage. Companies in the German agricultural sector want to make their contribution to ensuring the availability of urgently needed operating resources.

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Turning many into one: CGIAR network restructures

By Jan Rübel

International agricultural research is responding to new challenges: Their advisory group is undergoing a fundamental reform process and unites knowledge, partnerships and physical assets into OneCGIAR.

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The human finca

Interview with Marvin Antonio Garcia Otero

In Eastern El Salvador, campesinos are cultivating a self-image to encourage rural youth to remain in rural areas. With help from Caritas, they have adjusted the cultivation methods to their soils and traditions - Marvin Antonio Garcia Otero,the deputy director of Caritas of the Diocese of San Miguel believes this is the best way to prevent rural exodus and criminality.

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Good health is impossible without healthy food

By Heino von Meyer

Corona makes it even more difficult to achieve a world without hunger by 2030. So that this perspective does not get out of sight, Germany must play a stronger role internationally - a summary of the Strategic Advisory Group of SEWOH.

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© GIZ

Actual Analysis: The locusts came with the crises

By Bettina Rudloff and Annette Weber (SWP)

The Corona-Virus exacerbates existing crises through conflict, climate, hunger and locusts in East Africa and the Horn of Africa. What needs to be done in these regions? To face these challenges for many countries, all of these crises need to be captured in their regional context.

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© GIZ

One Health – What we are learning from the Corona crisis

Dr. May Hokan and Dr. Arnulf Köhncke (WWF)

Due to the coronavirus crisis, the connection between human and animal health has gained new attention. Politicians and scientists are joining forces to propagate the solution: One Health. But what is behind the concept? And can it also guarantee food security for all people worldwide?

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© GIZ

Resilient small-scale agriculture: A key in global crises

By Kerstin Weber and Brit Reichelt-Zolho (WWF)

Biodiversity and sustainable agriculture ensure the nutrition of whole societies. But there is more: These two factors also provide better protection against the outbreak of dangerous pandemics. Hence, the question of preserving ecosystems is becoming a global survival issue.

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© GIZ

Ideas on the ground: Local solutions for global challenges

Interview with Sebastian Lesch (BMZ)

A world without hunger and with sufficient healthy food as well as climate-friendly agriculture can only be achieved if ideas are transformed into innovations and ultimately also applied - a conversation with BMZ Head of Division Sebastian Lesch on the Innovation Challenge programme of the new Agricultural Innovation Fund.

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Developing countries hit doubly hard by coronavirus

By Gunter Beger (BMZ)

In most African countries, the infection COVID-19 is likely to trigger a combined health and food crisis. This means: In order to cope with this unprecedented crisis, consistently aligning our policies to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is more important than ever, our author maintains.

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“Corona exposes the weaknesses of our nutritional systems"

Interview with Arif Husain (WFP)

The United Nations plan a Food Systems Summit - and now the Corona-Virus is dictating the agenda. The Chief Economist of the UN World Food Programme takes stock of the current situation: a conversation with Jan Rübel about pandemics, about the chromosomes of development - and about the conflicts that inhibit them.

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“Healthy ground brings good and many fruits”

Interview with Ben Sekamatte and Boaz Ogola

Africa's cotton production plays a key role in the fight against poverty. The "Cotton Made in Africa" initiative promotes sustainable cultivation - one element of which is the use of organic pesticides. Entomologist Ben Sekamatte and cotton company manager Boaz Ogola talked with Jan Rübel about soil and yields.

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Hier steht eine Bildbeschreibung

Statement from GAFSP Co-Chairs: GAFSP and COVID-19 Pandemic

By GAFSP

COVID-19 has unprecedented effects on the world. As always, the most vulnerable are the hardest hit, both at home and - especially - abroad. A joint appeal by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ) and the Department for International Development (DFID).

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(c) Welthungerhilfe

5 questions to F. Patterson: Why is there more hunger?

Interview with Fraser Patterson

Every year in October, the "Welthungerhilfe" aid organisation, with the Irish "Concern Worldwide" NGO, publishes the Global Hunger Index, a tool with which the hunger situation is recorded. What are the trends - and what needs to be done?

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(c) Joerg Boethling/GIZ

What it takes now

By Heike Baumüller

Artificial intelligence, big data and blockchain are the hottest topics of our time. The digital transformation of the African agricultural sector is ready for take-off. What will it take for the future of technology to hit the ground running?

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(c) Katapult/GIZ

The digitised farmyard

By Jan Rübel

Lots of apps are entering the market, but what really makes sense? For African agriculture, some of it seems like a gimmick, some like a real step forward. So this is what a smallholder farm in Africa could look like today - with the help of smartphones, internet and electricity. 

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(c) Christoph Pueschner/Zeitenspiegel

Can this end world hunger?

By Stig Tanzmann

Time to dig deeper: We can only benefit from technical progress if we have a solid legal framework for everybody. But so far, none is in sight - in many countries. Instead, international corporations grow ever more powerful.

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(c) Christoph Pueschner/Zeitenspiegel

From start to finish: a vision of interconnectivity

By Tanja Reith

At the moment, the agricultural industries of African countries exist in relative isolation. Imagine peasant farmers digitally connected to the value chains of the global food industry. How could this happen? A guidebook.

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"Pandemic increases violence against women"

Interview with Léa Rouanet

African countries still face huge gender gaps in terms of access to work and capital. What are the consequences of Corona for women in Africa? Jan Rübel interviewed Léa Rouanet on lockdowns and gender-based violence. The economist works at the Africa Gender Innovation Lab of the World Bank.

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Gender equality: Essential for food and nutrition security

By Carsta Neuenroth (BfdW)

The majority of producers in developing countries are women. Although they contribute significantly to the food security of their families, they remain chronically disadvantaged in male-dominated agriculture in terms of access to land, credit, technology and education.

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Building our food systems back better

By Jes Weigelt and Alexander Müller

What is required to make food systems provide sufficient, healthy food while not harming the planet? How should food security be maintained given the threat posed by climate change? Our authors look at some aspects of tomorrow’s food systems against the backdrop of the corona crisis.

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"We must mobilise all available resources"

By Ismahane Elouafi (ICBA)

Freshwater deficits are affecting more and more people throughout the world. In order to counter this, our global food system will have to change, our author maintains. A case for more research on alternative crops and smart water solutions.

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Do we have to dare a new food system?

By Dr. Felix zu Löwenstein (BÖLW)

Lack of seasonal workers and virus explosion in slaughterhouses, rising vegetable prices, climate crisis – all this demonstrates: Our food system is highly productive and (at least for the rich inhabitants of planet earth) guarantees an unprecedented rich and steady food supply - but it is not resilient.

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Video diaries in the days of Corona: Voices from the ground

By Sarah D´haen & Alexander Müller, Louisa Nelle, Bruno St. Jaques, Sarah Kirangu-Wissler and Matteo Lattanzi (TMG)

Young farmers’ insights on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on food systems in Sub-Saharan Africa @CovidFoodFuture and video diaries from Nairobi’s informal settlements.

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"The virus does not need visa"

Interview by Dr. Ahmed Ouma (CDC)

Countries across Africa coordinate their efforts in the fight against corona by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) of the African Union in Addis Abeba. Until now, the curve of new infections has been successfully flattened – why? Dr. Ahmed Ouma, Deputy Director, explains the work of CDC in an interview with Tilman Wörtz.

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Double interview: The Forest Maker and his director

By Jan Rübel

Tony Rinaudo uses conventional reforestation methods to plant millions and millions of trees – and Volker Schlöndorff is filming a cinema documentary about the Australian. The outcome so far: An educational film on behalf of the BMZ (Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development).

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Ms Rudloff, what are the benefits of a supply chain law?

By Jan Rübel

The Federal Government is fine-tuning a law that would require companies to ensure human rights – a supply chain law. What are the consequences for the agricultural sector? Dr Bettina Rudloff from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) discusses linking policy fields with added value.

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School Feeding: A unique platform to address gender inequalities

By Carmen Burbano de Lara (WFP)

Besides the well known impacts of Covid19 lockdowns for the adult population, the associated school closures led to 90 percent of the world’s children with no access to schools. However, school meals are in often the only daily meal for children. Without access to this safety net, issues like hunger, poverty and malnutrition are exacerbated for hundreds of millions of children.

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Africa's rapid economic transformation

By T. S. Jayne, A. Adelaja and R. Mkandawire

Thirty years ago, Africa was synonymous with war, famine and poverty. That narrative is clearly outdated. African living standards are rising remarkably fast. Our authors are convinced that improving education and entrepreneurship will ensure irreversible progress in the region even as it confronts COVID-19.

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From Berlin to Yen Bai: 10,000 trees for Vietnam

By GIZ and BMZ

It began with clicks at a trade fair and ends with concrete reforestation: a campaign at the Green Week in Berlin is now enriching the forests of the Yen Bai Province in Vietnam. A chronicle of an education about climatic relevance to concrete action - and about the short distances on our planet.

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