Victoria Madedor (African Farmers Stories), Babatunde Olarewaju (Futux Agri Consult, Lagos, Nigeria) and Dr Ikechi Agbugba (Rivers State University, Nigeria) will discuss the infrastructure needed to trade and export crops. Marjan de Bock-Smit (founder ImpactBuying, former CEO SIM Supply) will join them. She intends to source TRUE coded coffee, bananas and carbon credits for members of the Consumers Goods Forum. As Africa is a continent that grows a variety of perennial crops, storing carbon offers opportunities for farmers to access capital they already own.

Babatunde Olarewaju
Victoria Madedor
Ikechi Agbugba
Marjan de Bock-Smit
Tiffany Tsui

Join the Conversation Tuesday March 16
Join us if you want to know what is going on, what is at stake, and what you can do to make the world a better place by sharing value. 

In a 45 minute chat Tiffany Tsui (Springtide Strategy) will discuss new opportunities for Africa with Babatunde Olarewaju (Futux Agri Consult), Victoria Madedor (African Farmers Stories) and Dr Ikechi Agbugba (Rivers State University, Nigeria) and Marjan de Bock-Smit (ImpactBuying). Directly after the chat, there is 45 minutes more for an informal discussion while having virtual drinks and a bite together.

Your questions are part of the game. So join us live! In case you can’t make it, we’ll post the video and are happy to take your questions and answer them on demand.

Upon registration (Free! - the first rounds are on the house) you will receive a link to the ZOOM-chat.

AGENDA - Next chats (1:30 PM till 2:15 PM (CET) + 45 minutes of informal digital drinks)
  • March 30: Self-financing by African farmers: Carbon Credits

  • April 13: Building Natural Capital: Metrics & Transparant Monitoring

  • April 28 (Please note: Wednesday): Transparancy by story telling: commercial opportunities

  • May 11: EU Green Deal: Assessing & Monitoring Environmental Impact

  • May 25: (Crypto) Currencies and the Fair Trade Revolution

  • June 8: EU Green Deal & Sustainability Standards: Transparency in Law, Industry and Brand Based Standards

  • June 22: From Soil to Stomach: Monitoring Health and Environmental Impact

1. Digitisation will disrupt the food system as we know it

In the opening chat of the series, moderator Tiffany Tsui chats with panelists Paul Buisman (Moba, egg packing machines), Kristian Möller (GlobalG.A.P.), Hans de Gier (SyncForce, data integration), and Dick Veerman (Foodlog) to discuss the challenges ahead in the world of digital food. A quote from our full report of the discussion: Möller fears organisations that will want to be the center or hub for data as they will ultimately accumulate and use the power to control the physical world with data. The goal, however, must be to improve agricultural practices and farmer's incomes. What’s really key, he says, is "making sure that farmers and their data are protected and at the table where the rules are made".

What's the nature of a table that nobody owns or chairs?
Möller states the role he hopes GlobalG.A.P., allying with farmers, can play in the data sharing process. “When it comes to data and data sharing, I don’t want to be the Silicon Valley based company who has the power to misuse data. GlobalG.A.P. wants to be the custodian where farmers will share their data. Farmers trust us, because they have governance on us. When the data is being shared with others outside of our agreement, they trust us to negotiate on their behalf so that their data aren’t misused. We sit at the table, but we are not the chair and we don’t claim to be the table owner itself. We just want to be sitting on the table with our stakeholders on an equal basis and have an open discussion so that we can build trust among parties.”

The question remains open: what's the nature of a table that nobody owns or chairs? And who keeps the rules of this 'no-body's' super-governance or sanctions those breaching them?

2. Bye Manpower, Hello Machines and Value

In the absence of a global authority that is aware of the powers unleashed by the digitisation of food, what 'no-body' can guard the interests of the global community?
Hans de Gier (SyncForce) explains the Consumer Goods Forum's Data Ports project. The project's goal is to make the myriad of product standards interoperable by a common basic taxonomy and connecting simple identifiers. The good news: it is fully feasible, as Hans explains in great technical detail.

There is no bad news, but just this big 'BUT'. The CGF is confronted with the One Big Unresolved Question Kristian Möller identified in the first chat. The taxonomy needs an international body and a basic infrastructure to keep the game. Yet that body has to be a global authority accepted by the world community. It cannot be owned by a set of globally operating companies, as they contribute to global sustainability, fairness and animal welfare goals from their private interests. Like roads and waterways, it should be an infrastructure owned by the international community. The Big Question: in the absence of a global authority that is aware of the powers unleashed by the digitisation of food, what 'no-body' (watch the end of the video) can guard the interests of the global community?

3. The True Code - a free global digital Passport for every Farmer and Facility

In the near future, data will travel with products. Retailers and brands need fast, cheap, and reliable data. There are several platforms (blockchains, data lakes, ERP systems) that already contain supplier and product related-data. These platforms, however, are not interconnected. Data exchange is limited and complicated. Interconnectivity and the easy exchange of data cannot do without a reliable, yet simple identification of every individual company that has a role in the supply chain. This can be done by using a unique electronic passport connected to every individual facility that is an actor in the chain.

If this sounds boring, imagine what it means for fair trade
If this sounds boring, imagine what it means for fair trade. Once you know for sure where a pineapple or mango comes from, you'll be able to check what happens there to an individual product handled by an individual and that individual and how much (or how little) it was paid for the job (s)he did. Imagine what it means for animal welfare assurance. As a consumer you'll know from the label on the pork chop you pick up in your local grocery where the pig came from, what it ate and how much, how it lived and whether it suffered from illnesses, or how it was transported and slaughtered. Marjan de Bock-Smit (ImpactBuying, founder and former CEO of SIM Supply) explains the passport should allow for seamless, reliable, and speedy Peer-to-Peer Data Exchange. The Consumer Goods Forum TRUE Code project team has asked De Bock-Smit to come up with a solution that offers a convincing answer to 6 challenges:
- Will it add value for supply chain actors if we create a facility passport with a minimum set of data fields that we need from suppliers?
- Will the True-code generation combined with a facility passport make exchange of data between platforms easier?
- Will it add value for supply chain actors if the passport has a public and a private element?
- Can we apply a verification procedure to a passport to allow companies to distinguish the difference between a verified and unverified facility passport?
- Will it add value for supply chain actors if we set a standard for verification of the facility passport?
- Can we generate the True-code and facility passport without cost?

Can that be true: multinationals and retailers as the Robin Hoods of modern global society?
Marjan explains the answer is 'yes' in all cases. The next phase of the project is to find cases to apply the TRUE code in real life. In the next chat, Tiffany and Marjan will talk strawberries and coffee with Dutch and African guests and prepare for a case of TRUE coded banana sourcing.
Please note that at the end of the third chat the 'global no-body' is present again, as Marjan's project is no less than the start of a global Authority issuing a unique passport. In case it takes off - and the CGF has the power to make it work - that can change the world and people's participation in our common destiny. It will make the world more inclusive by a giant leap. It's a leap that shouldn't be left to the giants of the elite. In a way 'the giant elite' of the CGF is offering it to us, the people of the world. Can that be true: multinationals and retailers as the Robin Hoods of modern global society?

4. Blooming Africa - the transfer of practical know how, organising farmers, the AfCFTA free trade area and creating value with transparency

Tiffany Tsui discusses with hands on expert Dutch strawberry grower and advisor Jan Robben, TRUE Code-developer Marjan de Bock-Smit, Victoria Madedor (African Farmers Stories) and Dr Ikechi Agbugba (Rivers State University, Nigeria) how recent border closures on the one hand and new trade opportunities on the other impact agriculture in Africa.

On behalf of Flevo Berry and Agriterra, Jan assists Rwandan strawberry growers. He explains how he transfers his expertise in growing strawberries all over the globe, without being able to travel. And he explains the results: the farmers he is coaching get a far better price for their berries.

Victoria Madedor explains how African Farmers Stories creates a unique database of African farmers that will offer them visibility while stimulating trade and knowledge transfer to enhance their to produce and market their produce effectively. This will help facilitate agricultural trade by boosting competitiveness and improving an enabling environment for agribusiness, consolidate and expand Nigeria's and Africa's position in the World. The African Farmers Stories Agro Verified digital platform will collect and harness the details of farmers, landholdings, crops cultivated, animals reared, climatic factors at play in different geographies.

Although it is hardly known, the Lumia is Africa's universal currency to facilitate trade amongst nations
Dr Ikechi Agbugba explains the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The free trade area was founded in 2018 and supposed to commence its procedures in Juli 2020. Because of the pandemic the actual start of the free trade zone commenced as of 1 January 2021. The AfCFTA was created among 54 of the 55 African Union nations. It is the largest free-trade area in the world in terms of the number of participating countries since the World Trade Organization was created. Its operational guidelines touch on crucial topics in food and agriculture, such Africa's deficient infrastructure, trade, transport regulation, regulatory cooperation, programmes for infrastructure development in agriculture (PIDAs), non tariff barriers amongst countries, value chain development and standards for quality assurance. The aim of the AfCFTA is to set Africa on the path to growth and development by creating value.
As Dr. Agbugba explains, the Free Trade Area solves language issues (Africans speak a wide variety of languages over a large multiracial continent) and currency issues. Although it is hardly known, the Lumia is Africa's universal currency to facilitate trade amongst nations.

Marjan de Bock's and the Consumer Goods Forum's True Code can help them create value by true transparency at plot and farmer's level. Marjan explains how a coffee case in Rwanda may turn into a robust example of the world to come: tracing beans or berries back to even the smallest farmer in the field and consumers far away being able to check with they got payed individually. The case will lead up to two new project Marjan intends to start in subsequent chats: how to create value by full TRUE coded transparency in Nigerian bananas and African carbon credits?

At 1:08 min. they were spontaneously joined by Memory Nyakwima Chakwita from Zimbabwe who showed the potential strawberry fields in which she would like to apply all that was discussed. It was a special moment in the informal part of the discussion, showing the potential of this way of connecting people, expertise and ideas.

The first Digital Food conference in it's pre-covid physical guise in Amsterdam, 2019.