Food Innovation Nervecenter
Cultivating wealthy, close-knit communities that nourish themselves with safe, healthy meals from thriving sources that replenish the Earth
Lead Applicant Organization Name
Darkpore Media Africa LTD
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Small company (under 50 employees)
If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.
1. ZIMI Farms (Farmer business organisation)
2. Laspotech Student body council ( Youth Organisation)
3. Nigerian Society of Animal Production ( Researcher institution)
4. Office of the Majority Leader, Lagos State House of Assembly ( state government)
5. Office of the Chairman, House committee on Agriculture, Lagos State House of Assembly (state government)
6. Elects network studios ( small company)
7. Freelife leadership international initiative (small NGO)
8. McPherson University, Ogun State ( Large NGO)
9. Let's Talk Food (Media outlet)
10. Olu Matins, Dept. of Agriculture, Lagos State Polytechnic (Researcher institution)
Website of Legally Registered Entity
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Federal Republic of Nigeria
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
South-west Nigeria, a geopolitical zone (covers six states: Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo) and has a total area of about 80,115km^2
What country is your selected Place located in?
Federal Republic of Nigeria
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
Southwest Nigeria is the land of my ancestors, the land of my dreams. My grandfather slaved all his life as a low-income farmer to give my father the gift of a white-collar education on a peasant farmer's income.
My father grew up on a farm, and eventually became a professor of Animal nutrition and feed technology. My siblings and I worked on the family farm to help raise pigs for slaughter. It was hard, onerous work. I've thought several times that the income didn't justify the labor. It consistently occurred to me while growing up there ought to be better ways to produce food that will benefit society without hard back bending low -pay work.
Eventually, I trained as a public health physician. Now on a daily basis, I see the connections between income and diets. I've seen how environments affect the meals residents eat. I've seen meals shape state of health. I've seen families go for months without a single source of protein. I have also witnessed children in these communities under the age of 5, through no fault of theirs, develop malnutrition and nutrient deficiency, and underperform in schools.
My team and I can't time travel into the past to change things, but with this vision, we believe we can shape the future of the next generation coming after us.
We have seen the future. The future of farming is biotech. We have seen the disruptions plant-based meat, precision fermentation and precision biology is bringing. We see how artificial intelligence in farming can threaten or elevate the livelihoods of peasant farmers in Southwest Nigeria. We also see the opportunity to help prepare our communities, our farms and families for the transformation that is ahead. We can help shape a culture that will thrive in the shockwaves ahead. We can help create policies to shape our future food systems.
The opportunity for transformation in this place are tremendous. And where the opportunities are enormous, that's where we go.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Eyo Masquerades dancing
Fried rice cuisine
Moi moi (bean cake)
Akara (bean ball)
Little boy dancing gbese
Fig1. Map of SouthWest Nigeria
Southwest Nigeria is made up of six states: Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo. (Fig 1) It is predominantly home to the Yoruba tribe, the second largest ethnic group in Nigeria. Other tribes include the Igbos, Hausa-Fulani and other ethnicities who primarily migrate to Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital.
Population is 32.5 million. Half are rural dwellers, half are urban residents with Lagos alone housing 10.7 million citizens. 50% of urban residents practice some form of small scale farming despite official disapproval and regulatory prohibitions.
Two distinct seasons exist: Rainy (march to november) and Dry (november to february). Seasons influence planting and harvests as artificial irrigation is non-existent on most farms. The dry season has a variant (harmattan) in which cold dusty sirocco from the Sahara blows to the southwest.
Here, people are highly social. Parties and festivals are a regular occurrence characterised by the custom of aso-ebi in which everyone in attendance wears the same attire. Popular music include Afro-Pop, Fuji, Juju, High-Life and Afro Gospel. Each year brings new dances with a typical 3month lifespan. Last year, dance steps shifted from Shaku shaku to Zanku and now, Gbese (Lift your feet).
Popular annual festivals include the traditional Eyo, Osun-Osogbo, and Ojude-Oba festivals amongst others which attract global tourists. Festivals employ local cuisine, flamboyant attire, acrobatics, and exhibition of ancient masquerades.
Agriculture employs 75% of the populace with Lagos as exception (trading, civil service, corporate enterprise and livestock rearing). Major food crops are yam, cassava, maize and beans. Cash crops include cocoa, palm oil, kolanut, plantain, cashew, citrus and timber.
Most local dishes are derived from yam, cassava, rice and beans. These include Iyan (pounded yam), Eba (Cassava dough), Ifokore (Water yam porridge), Asaro (Yam pottage) Ebiripo (yam staple), Garri (cassava grain), Ofada rice, Jollof rice and Fried rice. Cassava and Yam is ground to powder or paste and used to prepare Lebu, Amala, Fufu or Lafun. Local snacks include Moi moi (Bean cake), Akara (Bean ball), Sagidi (Bean mish mash), Ojojo (water yam ball).
Farmers rear animals (especially chicken) and crops. However, diet is heavily reliant on plant sources and fishing. Fish provides millions of poor people with daily animal protein since livestock meat is often too costly. Fish also provides nutrients essential to cognitive and physical health, especially in children who are highly prone to malnutrition. Extremely poor rural residents get animal protein by eating rats and mice which predisposes them in to rodent-borne diseases particularly lassa fever.
Animal protein is consumed when people have economic access to it thus protein intake increases with income. Since the vast majority are poor, low income people; low protein and high carbohydrate diets are the norm. Thus, protein energy malnutrition (particularly in growing children) and increased susceptibility to infections and diseases is a regular occurrence.
What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
Our team shadowed 55 stakeholders ( 9 farmers, 2 fishermen, 4 laborers, 4 millers, 6 retailers, 2 drivers, 4 cooks, 3 butchers, 2 bakers, 4 urban, 4 rural consumers, 5 students, a policymaker, 2 elected officials, an NGO, 2 researchers and a food blogger) across 10 cities/villages over 5 weeks and identified the following challenges:
1. Food waste
Between 45-75% of crop harvests end up wasted. Most livestock are unsold post maturity. This means expensive meat and reduced dietary protein. Waste occurs at all steps in the food value chain. Problem is largely a function of production and transport of food from farms.
2. Poor living income for small scale farmers
Low income is the reason most rural farmers are stuck in poverty. The culture of young people leaving rural areas is shaped by income. Rural farmers earn average profits of N500 ($1:40) daily. These farmers complained about market access and bargaining power. Policies addressing social security and economic access to food doesn't exist for rural farmers. Most policies (towards exports) tends to favor large scale farmers.
3. Water and fertile land
Rural farmers reported erratic rains. Public water works don't work and boreholes cost millions to sink. This locks crop yields to rainy season instead of all year round. In dry seasons, vegetables are expensive, dietary options are limited and farm profits nosedive. Urban developments forced two farmers we interviewed to relocate from fertile land into rainforests.
4. Healthy food is not affordable.
Urban consumers in Lagos report eating only processed snacks almost daily in traffic. Monthly minimum wage: $83:33. Soda and 'baked dough'? 50c. Bananas? $1:50. Cheap beats nutrition. To quote the cooks: " If you crave nutritious soup? your money has to do the talking".
5. Expensive labor to profit ratio.
Farm equipments are rudimentary/obsolete.
Here: farm tech= hoe+cutlass, I.T. =radio + Nokia 3310.
Electricity is expensive and heavily reliant on diesel, thus stored food is expensive. Subsidies for renewable energy and technology to handle industry scale distribution are inexistent.
6. Ageing farmers
Culturally, farm work is perceived as dirty, 'hard' work for uneducated old men. The young abandon farm apprenticeships for 'low-stress', non-food city jobs. Rural production drops; indigenous farm knowledge is lost; diets become limited, rural economies tank and overall food production is reduced. Government policy towards culture shift is non-existent
1. Feeding a doubling population in view of limited land resources.
There is the fear that it is cheaper to import meat from China than to grow it locally
3. Fertile land giving way to rapid urbanisation.
If current practices of urban spread/ forest clearing for agriculture persist until 2050, there will not be enough arable land.
4. Technology and research to regenerate soil and increase yield per hectare are not part of culture. Farmland use policies are unenforced.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
To solve the challenges uncovered during stakeholder interviews, we will take the following actions:
1. Food waste
Train farmers and farm workers to protect crops against pest, diseases and weeds to reduce loss during and after harvest
b. Lobby public-private social partnerships to develop low-cost " pay-as -you store" solar refrigeration units e.g. Rockefeller foundation's work with technoserve in Kenya
c. Deploy digital supply chain tools to better match supply and demand
d. Build/ co-create with stakeholders (producers, processors and governments) data analytics facilities with user generated and farm generated (bio-sensors) to develop accurate supply and demand forecasting models
e. Recycle unmarketable crops and food waste into donations and bio-fuels
f. Promote regulations that encourage food donations and tax discarded food.
2. Poor living income
a. Lobby governments, bulk buyers to invest in building thriving farming communities by creating shared public services for farmers.
b. Partner bulk buyers to base sourcing decisions against benchmarks of farmers income. This could help create pricing mechanism that more accurately reflects the costs of production.
c. Establish favorable trading terms between brokers and small scale farmers e.g. prefinance, quick payments.
d. Integrate a regional toll-free farm support/brokerage contact centre that enables all food value chain players call in directly to list food commodities ahead of harvest.
e. Create online listings/auctions for commodities.
f. Toll-free live radio broadcasts to link bulk buyers with farmers listening in.
3. Water and fertile land
a. Lobby government to adopt policies of water conservation.
b. Lobby government to promote private sector led bonds for construction of solar pumps, water reservoirs across regional farmlands.
c. Deploy technology to artificially seed rain clouds over farmlands.
d. Track rainfall and water use data through biosensors deployed across farmlands.
e. Create video, memes promoting conservation of water and land resources for web, social media.
f. Partner NGOs, researchers and farm schools to create and adopt water and land conservation classes as part of primary and secondary school curriculum.
4. High cost of healthy food
a. Establish dietary standards (healthy plant-based) and offered food subsidies on healthy foods.
b. Tax and regulate HFCS and other unhealthy meals.
c. Secure long-term offtake for alternative protein sources.
d. Partner civil societies to run Foodbanks and food vouchers.
5. Expensive labor to profit ratio for small scale
a. Encourage government and bulk buyers build shared services for farm communities.
6. Ageing farmers
Establish public-private partnerships to train and support a new generation of young farmer- entrepreneurs over the next decade.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
There will be thriving farms and communities, wealthy farmers and food processors, healthy families and well nourished children
You step into the markets and it's clean. There is no waste. With data analytics precisely matching demand and supply, farmers and retailers sell all they grow.
We have finally succeeded in creating farms that replenish the earth
The faces of the children in the community are well nourished due to good food. Hospital admissions fall and families escape the cycle of disease induced poverty.
There is a reduction in rural to urban migration as the young people have employment in their community. Farmers earn a living income and can scale their farmland operations. Ageing farmers earn the respect of their children.
Communities become well knit through the power of prosperity and good health.
Government spending on healthcare declines.
The community are prepared for transition into the food opportunities of the future.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Finc immersion in a fruit sellers day
Welcome to 2050. It's been a disruptive set of years. Let me bring you up to speed with what's happened since you were last here.
The entire Southwest Nigeria has been transformed into a collection of wealthy,close-knit, thriving communities that nourish themselves through healthy meals from innovative sources that replenish the Earth.
We've done such a good job, we sure are proud of ourselves.
The first thing you've noticed for sure has been the skyscrapers. Yes, somewhere in 2021, we convinced the state governments to outlaw urban spread. So we built more skyscrapers, live in tight knit communities and walk to work.
I recall you complained about farm waste in 2020. We got that sorted years ago. Farmers are now trained to protect their crops from pests and disease. Smallholder farms use "pay-as-you-go" solar storage fridges and farms now use digital supply chains to better match demand and supply. Whatever little waste that's left is used as biofuels. The Rockefeller foundation pioneered this 30 years ago with trial runs in Kenya. We took the idea and also ran with it.
There are no dump sites either. Why? Well, there's no food waste. Families get taxed for wasting food so everyone eats out as a family and gets exact portions. Restaurants leftovers go out as donations to food-banks. Also our farmers just grow exactly what we need to eat each day. It's called advanced precision farming. The crops are rotated, fertilizers are bio-based and we have sensors that control humidity on crop farms. Crops are perennial and eliminate weeds. Land size for farming has shrunk and our food supply still matches demand. We lobbied the government to ban ranching and convert abandoned farmland into orchards and forests. It was our trade-off to fight off climate change. Those fruits have replaced unhealthy snacks. We created festivals to mark beginning of each fruit season, so the trees are considered sacred. We also have Robots, A.I. and stuff, I'll get to that later.
For a region that has to feed almost 70 million people daily, our food's quite cheap. We called it PF. It means protective food. Food that protects you from diseases: heart disease,diabetes, stroke. It's predominantly plant based grown by small holder farmers (fruits, vegetables, whole grains and a diverse meat supply. We still enjoy our delicious moi moi (bean cake) and akara (bean balls.)
I must tell you about the meat. The last time a cow was slaughtered was 25 years ago. Our meat now comes from three renewable processes: cell-based meat (meat comprised of animal cells grown outside an animal in a bio-reactor), plant-based meat (meat made from plant but resembles animal-derived meat) and precision fermentation (a big-sounding word that means we can now program micro-organisms to produce any complex molecule).
Every citizen here gets food vouchers for a meal a day from the regional food-banks. We promote regulations that encourage food donations and food-bank operations are covered by taxes on discarded food. The food-banks are run by volunteer senior citizens and it creates a close-knit culture. All students also spend a day a month serving at the food bank. If you need more vouchers you get to trade in an hour of community service for it. So no one goes hungry. There's also a fruit tree on every plot, and one tree is planted for every 20 students in a school.
Today, farming and food production contributes 40% of the GDP. Last year, crop farmers earned $200 billion in revenues mostly from cash crops. Food preparation and distribution contributes another 5%. It has been a good decade to be a farmer. They earn 40c on every dollar of farm produce. This was negotiated into law by the food lobby group foodPAC.
About 80% of food is consumed in the our cities most of which comes from small holder farms. We encouraged partnerships that enabled governments and bulk buyers build thriving farming communities by creating shared public services for farmers ( processing, storage and dedicated rail-tracks for export commodities)
If you're a bulk buyer, your sourcing decision has to be based against benchmarks of farmers income. This helped us create a pricing mechanism that more accurately reflects the costs of production and prevents poverty in rural farmers. Bulk buyers are also offered tax incentives if they donate to food-banks and show evidence of favorable trading terms towards small scale farmers e.g. prefinance, quick payments.
Annually, food and culinary festivals are organised with contests to reward farmers and cooks that produce food that's desirable and varied. Subsidies are also offered to farmers who cultivate vegetables in the dry season. 10% of subsidies are particularly set aside exclusively for women farmers.
Yes, you're still in the right place. We dance in the markets, and on the streets. We dance to sounds of birds chirping. We dance to the sizzle of fried fish. We dance everywhere. Our people are still very social and flamboyant. Parties and festivals are now designed around new food updates. It's good food, it's also exhilarating. Product launch takes a new meaning. Is it hardware or foodware? Product launch or product lunch?
The aso-ebi (party attire) is also precision fermented: silk proteins. Popular music include kefele, alujo and and Afro - pepperoni. Each year still brings new dances but now, with a typical 3-week lifespan. Chefs hosts literary and storytelling festivals every first day in April in honor of a generation 'foolish' enough to take on the world of food, and succeed. The transformation of meat grown by micro-organisms has created an entire genre of evolved African cuisine. Every meal is an adventure.
Your breakfast isn't just a meal. It's a work of genetic art, designed to match your exact DNA. No allergies, no seafood reactions. We can taste bacon whilst respecting the sensitivities of all religions, tribes and Creed.
The best part? I just simulcasted you a copy of premium rare ribs. Did you get it?
I know you saw the robots on the large scale farms on your tour down here. You've seen the drones and sensors that monitor heat, wind direction, soil pH and salinity. I know you're aware of the artificial intelligence that drives them. Those farms run themselves with minimal supervision. I don't need to show you the farmers that runs diagnostics. The farmers of today that write code and repair farm-bots.
But let me introduce you to the specialty farmers who still grow their crops the old fashioned way. Old fashioned, human-cultivated crops still command a premium and those farmers are their own kind of celebrity and have a cult following of some sorts.
Farm technology has created a slight rift in our society. Some Luddites enjoy the healthy inexpensive meals but still long for the day when crops were grown by human hands. Those specialty farmers even have a nickname: organicX farmers
The good news is, we were able to transition all farmers of the old world into robotic farming, precision fermentation and organicX. The government and business community forged an alliance that enable the transition occur 20 years ago.
Let me take you to the 100th floor so you can take a look at the farms around us. Can you see those tanks? We didn't just build farm-meat production factories, we built an ecosystem: AI driven, solar powered robotics with the mind of benevolence now grow food efficiently. But that's not the technological advancement I want to show. The real advance is in genetic medicine.
Four years ago, genetic research and quantum physics unlocked the secrets of telomere lengthening. In six years, clinical trials will be concluded and death can now be postponed even longer. Now comes the real ethical dilemma. How do we manage an ever growing population in Southwest Nigeria in a future where everyone lives a thousand years?
All the above came into force in the harmattan of 2021, when state governments committed 10 percent of their annual budgets into the food futures agency.
Through NGOs, civil society and business, established dietary standards (healthy plant-based) were set and the government offered food subsidies and targeted public food procurement. There were huge taxes and regulations on unhealthy food which helped change the culture. Now you get fresh meals, fruits and vegetables at all restaurants thanks to that policy.
Government also used public procurement to secure long-term off-take for alternative protein sources. There was increased spending in alternative proteins (especially those with benefits for low-income consumers) and policies were made to ensure that the resulting intellectual property remains in the public domain.
The government also enabled the general public access public sector data (land registries, fisheries, agriculture, soil health ) and provided regulations and incentives to provide open source data. NGOs like Transparency international created, maintained and communicated results from real-time platforms for transparency.
Gentlemen and Ladies, that's the story of how we got here to 2050: a collection of wealthy,close-knit, thriving communities in Southwest Nigeria that nourish themselves through healthy meals from innovative sources that replenish the Earth.
Please tell the FSVP committee that their plan with those resources worked. We entered this prize contest wanting to just build data analytics for farms and the food industry. Now you've successfully converted us into true believers.
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?
Describe how your Vision developed over the course of the Refinement Phase.
"Kolewerk! (can't work)!"
That's few of the initial stakeholder response towards our first draft. Many discussions later, we realized the problems are complicated because there's:
-no single root cause
-no single stakeholder who can solve them alone
-its nature constantly evolves and
-it's perpetuated by entrenched interests.
So, we assembled bigger, more diverse teams; studied all 70 FSVP resources in detail, created storyboards and prototyped interventions. We met daily over 60 allnight sessions (yes, 60!) and debated/distilled 20,000+pages and feedback from experts/community stakeholders into a refined vision.
We also began to:
-work adaptively because the problems constantly evolve
-influence at scale (both locally and globally),
-address all powers (political, subtle, self interests) that perpetuate problems, and
-constantly seek out timely moments to implement change.
Stakeholders'response towards final vision?
"Now, THIS will save Nigeria"
Please provide the names of all organizations you meaningfully partnered with to develop this latest version of your Vision (they contributed at least 10 hours of time to the Vision development during the Refinement Phase).
We approached several organisations for partnerships but here are the few ones we were able to co-create with
1. Farmer Business Organisation:
a. ZIMI Farms
b. Liadi rural farmers market Union
a. Office of the Majority Leader, Lagos State House of Assembly and Chairman, Southwest Legislative Reform Implementation Committee.
b. Chairman, Lagos House Committee on Agriculture.
3. Universities, NGOs:
a. McPherson University, Ogun State, Nigeria ( Large NGO)
b. FreeLife leadership international initiative (small NGO)
4. Research institutions:
a. Nigerian Society of Animal Production ( Researcher institution)
b. Dept. of Agriculture, Lagos State Polytechnic (Researcher institution) via Mr Olu Matins (researcher and Lecturer)
5. Small companies and media outlets:
a. Darkpore Media Africa Ltd (small company/ local think-tank)
b. Acumen digital (small company, UI/UX developers)
b. Elects network studios ( small company, cinematography)
Describe the specific steps you took during the Refinement phase to include different stakeholders to develop your Vision, including a description (age, profile, and total number) of the stakeholders engaged, and how you engaged with each.
We engaged 32+ stakeholders
Co-creation was exciting. We prototyped:
a. FoodNerve, a digital food supply platform www.foodnerve.com/prototype
b. cryptocurrency (nervecoin) on ethereum,
c. A.I assistants on dialogflow,
d. 2,400 LiFePO4 3.7v batteries into a 'superbattery'.
e. nutrient rich veggie snacks.
f. used SciFi design intelligence to create 17 characters (for comics, storybooks and videogames) based on future jobs.
g. tested cultural practices (trees as pets and seedsaving) and interviewed 6 students (16-25)
h. produced 3 vision songs ('we are not alone', 'ese ire' and 'sooner than you finc') Please see attached.
i. created agro-cooperative on NIRSAL
j. engaged teams on IDEO (Lori Herz /F)
k. drafted vision into bills and delivered to the Majority Leader, Lagos House of Assembly.
I. We interviewed
a. Animal scientists:
Prof J. Adeniyi 62/M, Nigerian Society of Animal Production,
Olu Matins 29/M, Agric researcher, LASPOTECH
b. Crop farmers:
Mafikuyomi B. 44/F
c. Food Blogger
Esther O. 23/M
d. Food Processors:
-Fanisi J. 65/M
-Lawal M. 45/M
-Mr Femi Adesina, President Buhari's Spokesman.
-Hon. Agunbiade SOB (56/M), Majority Leader, Lagos House of Assembly
-Chairman,Southwest Legislative Reform Implementation Committee,
-Hon. Kehinde Joseph (52/M),
Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture.
f. Poultry farmers:
-Busayo J. 30/M
-Dr Jaiyesinmi 67/M
II. Brainstormed with:
Awuri A. 24/F
Manyike P. 25/M
John Adeseewo 28/M
Duke J. 39/M, Film maker
Felix 38 /M, Producer
Jideofor S. 29/F, Journalist
Hammed A. 33/M, Editor
Otuju C. 28/M, Executive
Tochukwu O. 38/M, Illustrator
Ogundeinde R. 33/F
Ibrahim O. 30/M, Zoologist
Isioma L. 35/M, Electrician
Olagunju O. 34/M, Water engineer
Okeibuna M. 27/F
Onasanya A. 39/M
III. Market interviews:
Zacchaeus A. 49/M, retailer
-Oyebade C. 36/F, consumer
Amunikoro S. 48/M, garbageman
What signals and trends did you draw from to inform your Vision? Please provide data or examples that back up each signal or trend.
a. Greenhouse, rooftop and indoor farming.
Cities now rely on indoor vertical farms to keep supply chains. In 2018, Google invested $90 million in Bowery farming. Pasona group in Tokyo plants vegetables in their lobby's vertical farm.
b. Renewable energy's growth.
By April 2019, renewables outpaced coal in providing 23% of USA power generation. Wind and solar accounted for ~50% US renewable electricity.
a. Rise in planetary, health diet portfolios.
Tesco UK aims to increase range of vegan meals from 32 to 300.
b. Growth spurts in alternative protein consumption.
Investments in alternative proteins (plant-based/cell-based) options was $930 million in Q1 of 2020.
a. Fractional Fee Structure.
Rockefeller Foundation works with Technoserve and Meru Greens to set up pay-as-you-go solar fridges in Kenya.
b. Programmable Assets.
Blockchain protocols enable the creation of intelligent digital currency. In 2017, Louis Dreyfus in the first BlockChain food commodity trade, sold 60,000 tons of soybeans to Shandong Bohi Co.
a. Digital culinary curation.
Traditional culinary knowledge is being recast to overcome outdated associations with local ingredients. Patanjali Ayurved Ltd modernized traditional Ayurvedic ingredients and in 2018 became most trusted consumer brand in India.
b.Trees as indoor pets.
In 2019, according to Plant Life Balance site, 10 million Australians bought an easy-care tree/cluster to keep as indoor pet.
a. Artificial Intelligence Collaboration.
SEB, a swedish bank uses virtual A.I assistant- Aida to interact with millions of customers. Aida handles natural-language conversations and her access to vast data stores enables her manage accounts and payments via phone.
b. Rise in robot assistants.
A.I enabled, context-aware robots are handling repetitive tasks that require heavy lifting. Hyundai created wearable robotic devices which adapt to the user allowing industrial workers perform their jobs with superhuman strength.
Taxing food waste increases food bank donations.
France's Garot law passed in 2016 curbs foodwaste by making it illegal to throw away food before its sell-by-date. Stores are fined $4,500 for each violation. By 2018, half of France's Foodbank's supply to 5,000 charities came from grocery stores.
Compact communities and people-focused streets.
By 2050, 70% of the world's population will live in urban areas. Values of walkable neighbourhoods with a mix of businesses, residence and play areas are rising.
Emission free transport.
67% of Copenhagen residents didn't drive in 2015. The breakdown was as follows: 20% walk, 26% ride bicycles, and 21% use mass transit (electric buses, trains, cable cars). Also, in 2019, automakers committed $225 billion to electric cars.
BlockChain Based Medical Records
Israeli startup DNA.bits plans to store genetic/medical record data using BlockChain similar to that of the Bitcoin network.
Describe a “Day in the Life” of a key food system actor within your food system in 2050 (e.g., farmer, chef, supply chain actor, food policy actor, etc.).
I'm Dio Dakolo, a chef and culinary anthropologist.
I live with neighbors in a 15 floor condo, facing a lush green park with forest fresh air.
First up, I water tangerine trees I keep indoor as pets and eat veggies grown in my indoor farm. Lately, there's been fines for violations at my restaurant and I hope we don't get more today over foodwaste. I walk to work because I live nearby. For longer trips, I subscribe for an electric vehicle.
At work, I engage my AI assistant to automate most things to free up my time for higher-order thinking. Then, I check the solar grid on the rooftop greenhouse, greeting the Tongas (my vegetable farmers). First, we preview orders within a mile radius using FoodNerve oS, then update kitchen bot settings with our collaborative A.I. schedule. Finally, robots cook, drones deliver, while I slowjam my sax.
First in, is Ms Dara, an A.I. fluent, systems level designer to ensure all's well. I get a holographic call from a blockchain techguy- Galadima, about our crypto nervecoins. 'Dio, your clientele's allergy info needs to be on blockchain', he yells.
For lunch, I eat plant-based, grilled beef with Kemi Kuti, an MP, and old pal. Latifah Pitan, a food journalist drops by.
My regulars? Lovers, families, kids, grandparents.
Later, food safety corps pop in to remind me of my mandatory community service. Much later, Ngomo arrives in a compost truck to weigh, tax and take our waste.
After work, I ride a cable car to the foodbank to volunteer alongside folks like Mother Agnes. At home, my neighbors and I dance with street masquerades before I climb 15 flights of stairs to my floor. That's my cardio.
For dinner, I teach my virtual tribe of foodies to make Veggie Yamosa: a nutrient rich meal from vegetables, lay a track I've been humming all day and check Latifah's food review. Good news: 4 stars! As I climb into bed, I'm grateful to live in a community that enables me fuse my love for food, music and technology into a truly fulfilling life.
Environment | How will your food system of 2050 adapt to climate change and remain resilient?
Although experts are not exactly sure how climate change will affect planting and growing seasons, a study predicts >20% decline in length of Nigeria's growing seasons . According to FAO, forest area decreased by 62% between 1990 and 2005; and 64% of our land is at risk of desertification.
In response, by 2050, we envision resilient food systems well adapted to Nigeria's climate variations. To achieve this, we will breed improved crop varieties, improve water management, reduce food demand, adopt meat alternatives, restore natural ecosystems and build social welfare systems for farmers.
First, we will increase food production by planting existing cropland more frequently with improved crop breeds and drought resistant seeds. In Nigeria, the AATF is conducting clinical trials on NEWEST (Nitrogen-use Efficient, Water-use Efficient, Saltwater Tolerant) rice strains that can be irrigated with saltwater in periods of extended drought.. Obviously, we will be collaborating with government agencies and large food corporates to maintain and share open data genomic advances; An example is Mars inc. that paid for the genetic sequencing of a common cocoa variety and publicly released it without patent in 2010 to speed up research on improved yields for the plant . We will also encourage greenhouse, rooftop and indoor farming to keep supply chains going.
Next, we will adapt to unpredictable rainfalls by promoting rainwater harvesting techniques, small-scale irrigation reservoirs and use of drought resistant seeds and permaculture (i.e planting trees and shrubs alongside crops). In Niger, studies showed that millets grown under the Faidherbia tree had 63% more biomass yield than those grown in the open. In Burkina Faso, farmers use ridges to capture rainfall, reduce run-off and increase yields by over 500kg in some studies. These in concert, will adapt us to climate change events.
On the demand side, we will minimize the need to grow more food by reducing food losses through better harvesting and storage techniques. In Senegal, shifting from rice threshing by hand to a $5,000 mechanized threshing tool in the 1990s caused rice losses to drop from 35% to <1%. Also, Apeel sciences developed sprays of thin lipids that coats fruits and vegetables; and extends their shelf life beyond 30days . In contrast, food waste in restaurants will be reduced by offering smaller portion sizes and donation of all unsold food to Foodbanks as is done in France . All these will reduce volume of food needed and contribute to resilience.
Also, we will reduce growth in the number of mouths to be fed by instituting replacement level fertility rates of 2.16; down from today's 4.6 births per woman in Southwest Nigeria. We will create increased educational opportunities for girls, improve access to family planning services and reduce rates of child mortality in order to deliver a 2050 population size that can be sustainably fed.
In addition, we will shift our meat consumption to healthier, more sustainable diets by subsidizing alternative proteins (precision agriculture to create plant-based and cell-based meat) and withdrawing subsidies favoring ruminant meat (beef, sheep and goat) production. Quorn (made from mycoprotein) and Impossible burger (a plant-based burger) are two meat alternatives that replicate the taste and texture of meat . The production of these substitutes creates only 4% of the greenhouse gas associated with ruminant meat production . This shift, will free up 60% of land used for livestock rearing thus creating a great opportunity to repurpose that land for reforestation and reversing climate change
Next, we will restore natural ecosystems by returning nutrients to the soil through composting and use of night soil in fertilising cropfarms; reforesting abandoned and unproductive farmlands ; making the shift to emissions-free energy sources (solar, wind and geothermal); banning plastics and replacing it with alternatives (like bioplastics); Over the next 30 years, this will restore the soil, increase tree cover, help reduce temperatures, enhance precipitation leading to better rainfalls and reversal of climate change.
In addition, we will build social welfare systems for farmers to enable them withstand periods of hardship without selling their assets. Health clinics, tuition-free primary schools for rural farming communities, and school feeding programs for their children will enable our farmers remain resilient during periods of low yields.
Finally, in the words of Mr Francois Hollande, ex-president of France: "We have a single mission: To protect and hand on the planet to the next generation".
As we adapt to climate change by breeding improved crop varieties, improving water management, reducing food demand, restoring natural ecosystems and building social welfare systems for farmers; we ask this of you:- Will you join us in our quest to become a more resilient people?
Diets | How will your food system of 2050 address malnutrition in all its forms (undernutrition, micronutrient deficiency, metabolic disease) for the people living there?
Nigeria has the second highest burden of stunted children in the world. About 2 million Nigerian children suffer from acute malnutrition with only 400,000 getting treated .
By 2050, we would have tackled undernutrition, micro-nutrient deficiency and metabolic disease in our communities by sustainably farming and eating sufficiently varied diets with the right micro-nutrients (minerals and vitamins). To enable this, we will bio-fortify staple foods, shift towards protective diets, diversify protein supply, invest in food value chains, ban unhealthy food adverts, nudge consumers towards healthy choices with A.I. apps and return to ancestral domestic gardening traditions'
First, we will bio-fortify staple food crops such as sweet potatoes, beans, maize and cassava through improved breeding, fertilizer and biotech. These improved crop varieties provide higher amounts of vitamin A, iron and zinc- three micronutrients identified by the W.H.O. as most lacking in diets globally. We will also address the root cause of rural dietary deficiencies: soils deficient in micronutrients. Rural farmers will be trained in soil care through composting, mulching and fertilizer microdosing to correct deficiencies in our communities.
In addition, we will update Food-for-Education programs to reflect the shift towards human and planetary health diets by including protective foods like vegetables, nuts, leafy greens, beans, pulses, fruits and whole grains. Today, we are drafting public policies to incorporate all these into school feeding programs. Over 30 years, this will help correct malnutrition and improve cognition in school children.
Next, we will shift consumption away from diets high in salts, processed sugars and saturated fats (e.g. fries) towards protective foods via nudges. The EAT-Lancet declares that to sustainably nourish everybody on the planet, the food system would need to shift diets towards less meat and more vegetables and fruit consumption. So, we will increase the demand and desirability of protective diets through awareness, memes, social media; and use of social proof 'nudges' at festivals, restaurants and markets to make healthier food choices easier . This dietary shift addresses malnutrition by correcting imbalances created by eating highly processed meals like 'soda and baked dough'.
Then, we will diversify protein supply to include alternative proteins like plant-based and cell-cultured meat. Ruminant meat farming competes with humans for grains and leafy vegetables and are expensive for over half of our population . These address malnutrition by providing inexpensive dietary iron.
Also, we will invest in cold chain, processing, storage, data analytics and other value chain infrastructure to enable local availability and reduce waste. In Kenya, Twiga foods' investment in super efficient cold storage units enables it distribute fresh fruits and vegetables sourced from over 10,000 rural farmers to city residents. Cold chain and data systems addresses malnutrition by making fresh, nutrient-rich fruits/vegetables easily accessible.
In contrast, we will regulate food product labels and ban misleading advertising of processed foods. In 2006, the UK government banned TV advertising to children under 16, of foods high in fats, sugar and salt. This led to a 41% drop in adverts of unhealthy foods within a year. Food advertising influences children's dietary food preferences even into adulthood. Regulations will mitigate cases of metabolic diseases from unhealthy diets.
Also, we will deploy artificial intelligent apps on personal devices to nudge people into healthy dietary behaviours. Despite the benefits of the protective diet, changing consumer behavior on a large scale is not easy. So, users of smartAPPetite 'app' receive food and health related tips personalized to their dietary goals . Medical records including DNA will be maintained on blockchain' with alert systems warning consumers when diets contain triggers.
In addition, we will return to ancestral traditions of planting fruit trees when a child is named. In Wisconsin, the Madison Fruits and Nuts group is working to get fruit trees on vacant city plots so residents can get nutritious fruits and vegetables free . We'll inspire our communities to plant fruit trees in every residential plot, school, sidewalk, backyard, vegetable patch and indoor farm so micronutrients are accessed through fruits, for free, everywhere.
Finally, to quote Dr Dennis Burkitt, "The only way we're going to reduce disease is to go backwards to the diets and lifestyle of our ancestors". Our team is particularly committed to the return of our ancestral gardening practices, shifting our people towards protective diets, investments in food value chain infrastructure and nudging folks towards healthy diets. We need more partners to scale our efforts. Will you consider joining our team?
Economics | Where and what will the jobs be that support living wages in your future food system of 2050, and how will these jobs impact gender equality?
We envision a food system that fosters a culture of collaboration enabling all stakeholders to earn fair and living wages, derive a livelihood whilst offering equal opportunity to individuals of all genders, ethnicity, physical abilities and creed.
I. JOBS OF THE FUTURE
Based on signals and trends that exist today, the jobs that pay living wages in our food system will include :
A. Food Innovation Technology areas:
1. Artificial Intelligence (A.I) Collaboration will enable our food system improve food products and better educate our consumers. Jobs will include:
a. A.I fluent food data scientists/experts
b. A.I. enabled food researcher
2. Microbiota management will enable microbe friendly diets for optimum health outcomes.
Jobs will include
a. Probiotics engineers
b. Synthetic microbiologist
c. Ecobiotic pharmacologists
3. Cellular agriculture will reinvent animal based products at the cellular level and will require
a. synthetic biologists
b. de-extinction biologists.
c. 3D food engineers
d. Biomedical tissue engineers
4. Programmable assets will be deployed toward seamless transportation and payments and will require
a. BlockChain builders
b. Systems level designers
5. Digitizing cultural wisdom used to reintroduce ancestral food practices and ingredients. Jobs will include
a. Cultural anthropologists
b. Digital culinary curators /Food artists
c. Food/restaurant critics
d. Food journalists
f. Food intellectual property lawyers
B.Traditional jobs will persist and increasingly overlap with technology and biotech.
- food policymakers and regulators (in government agencies)
- urban/periurban farmers
- Large scale contract farmers
- agro- cooperatives
-Circular waste recovery engineers
Traditional jobs will also include:
- food orders fullfilment experts
- food innovation champions
- media outlets
- Food system newsrooms
II. TRANSITIONS PLANS INTO 2050
B. Enable entry into profitable food system livelihoods
C. Make all vacant unforested land in cities available for growing food as urban microfarms; and greenhouses available for smallholder farms.
We envision multiple microfarms popping up incities and surburbs, producing more on a single land than what tractor can produce on 10 times the land.
E. Build local loops and linkages.
We are building an open data platform that connect residents to food markets, farmers and vendors using location based apps. www.foodnerve.com/prototype
F. Digitize the food system via programmable assets, digital supply chain tools and A.I. collaboration.
G. Create local cryptocurrency that complement the naira. During the refinement phase, we prototyped a test token/cryptocurrency (10 million units) called nervecoins on ropsten test network on ethereum to testrun with our teams and a few literate stakeholders. Our plan going forward is to further explore opportunities to scale into a dedicated cryptocurrency with its own dedicated blockchain. (https://ropsten.etherscan.io/token/0x88c40b484e20b379817d0763ec5d08784ec60ed4#balances)
F. Create affordable credit to enable smallholder farmers finance for productive assets.
G. Accelerate aid and training to women farmers and improve gender equality.
Section 4(11) of the Lagos State Technology and Innovation Bill 2020 drafted by us and submitted to the Majority Leader of the Lagos House of Assembly provides for female farmers and inclusion of women in science and technology innovation. (Bill attached in submission)
I. Shift procurement to long term sustainable supply from equitable partnerships.
J. Incentivise /Partner Large food corporates shift research and development, and marketing resources into healthier food options.
K. Help transition our communities into the jobs of the future that pay living wages
III. OUR TEAM'S TRANSITIONS INTO JOBS OF THE FUTURE
We're taking steps to transition into the jobs of our future.
John Adeseewo, the commercial attorney and Otuju Collins are starting coding classes in June with focus on fullstack development to enable us build and maintain our data platforms and apps in house. By January next year, four team members should start a full-time in-residence training at Ironhack coding bootcamp in Miami, Florida. Olu Matins, the animal nutritionist is switching career paths to cellular agriculture with interests in becoming a synthetic biologist. Dr Rebecca, is researching careers in probiotics.
As a team, we looking forward to striking up a joint venture with an alternative meat company for Subsaharan Africa. We reached out to Prof Lori Herz, Professor of practice at Lehigh University via the ideo platform and she stated her commitment to such a collaboration.
We entered this contest because of the prize. Now, it has altered the course of our lives far beyond what we could ever have imagined.
Culture | How will your 2050 food system ensure that the cultural, spiritual and community traditions and/or practices in your Place flourish?
How do you live in an age of bewilderment, when the old stories have collapsed, and no new story has emerged to replace them?
Our answer? You channel your inner creative juices to bring godlike stories to life.
Just as Thor, Loki and Odin were brought forward into a tech enabled storytelling future, we are reinventing our stories, food cultures, and ancestral culinary traditions to inspire our kinsmen into 2050 and beyond.
By then, our food systems will continually nuture our families (and yours) into caring, well-knit communities whose cultural, spiritual and community traditions flourish through the sensorial and creative power of food.
Quick question: Have you danced to Nigerian music? Heard of Davido? Burna Boy? Wizkid? Tekno? You should. They're our biggest musical acts, testaments of the power of music and stories to drive cultural change.
To bring this vision to life, we have begun:
A. Using music, contests and live festivals to change eating habits. We sang this vision in three songs- 'Oh Africa, Sooner than you finc, and E se rere (See attached music).
B. Resurrecting indoor farming.
Our grandfathers would cultivate garlic and herbs like efinrin(a mint-like) vegetable inside their huts close to the windows using special claypots. It was meant to ward off bad spirits causing malaria (mosquitoes) and this it did. It also oxygenated huts and nourished their meals. We're reintroducing indoor vegetable farming with two techboxes we prototyped for apartments and on balconies. Old traditions of indoor gardening are being reborn.
C. Using the power of stories/ oral traditions condensed as digital food wisdom to create a single searchable open data commons for food resources in everyday language. Our forebears used Yoruba soft cane leaves as food wrapping when cooking moin-moin (see attached videos). It solved the problems of sustainable packaging and added micronutrients to the meals. There are nourishing practices we have neglected and we've begun preserving their wisdom in digital formats.
D. We are mainstreaming healthy food knowledge with stories, graphic novels, series (and soon video games). Our aim is to create Marvel style cinematic universes to inspire youths to live with respect for our food and earth traditions.
E. We are repurposing existing rites of passage through cultural centers, local anthropologists and griots for example, the tradition of planting a tree when a child is born, and naming it on the child's name day. In old times, Yoruba children were expected to succeed in life as tall as their name-trees grew. Nobody dared cut down name-trees because it was equivalent to 'spiritually' killing a child whose name it bore - an effective rite that conserved trees for centuries. Our forebears could literally see their ancestral trees.
F. We're making old ingredients taste like new favourites. Our grandmothers would cook grated wateryams with iru and ogiri (fermented locust beans and egusi seeds). We reinvented them into a nutritious snack with green vegetables (fluted pumpkin leaves)
H. We've applied for licence to launch the FoodNerve radio, a dedicated food station using programming to mainstream healthy food ideas and evolve/shape local languages to accept and drive innovation
J. We will scale up high touch relationships via A.I enabled natural language processing mobile chatbots
K. Through cultural centers, we are preparing rural farmers to be functional for 2050 and inspiring parents, teachers, preachers and social media personalities to ignite conversations about our meals.
L. WHO WE ARE BECOMING
Beyond this vision contest, is the matter of who we're becoming. Today, we realize no one can prepare for every future possibility, and so we need a cultural worldview that constantly scans emerging signals and trends; and determines in real time the appropriate response to future events. We're creating communication material based on FSVP and IFTF materials to mainstream this skill of signal scanning the future. We're starting with our college students so they can future proof their career decisions.
Next, we're creating community support systems to transition everyone into teachers and champions of this vision. Our drive is to change the inner focus, motivations and desires of our communities by reimagining cultural outcomes. Transitions take time, and have to be inside jobs- matters of the heart. We need to help the minds of our people catch up quickly with the changes that will occur.
We are also working to teach our people to let go of old customs that are no longer useful, that will not serve us in the years ahead. We will deploy A.I apps over the years to nudge our communities to embrace healthy eating and lifestyle habits. We are teaching folks through folklore and illustrations; and giving them a chance to reinvent themselves.
What we are really aiming for, is the company of immortals- and guess what? Our ancestors are rooting for us. We hope you do too.
Technology | What technological advances are needed to transform your food system into one that meets your goals and embodies the values of your Vision in 2050?
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller
To transform our food system into its envisioned state that fulfills our goals of nutrition, economic inclusion, and sustainable food production within environmental limits, we will deploy the following technological advances:
a. Deploy cellular agriculture and precision farming to replace land intensive agriculture,
b. Deploy artificial intelligence to nudge consumers towards healthier dietary choices,
c. robotic farming,
e. blockchain technology,
e. renewable energy,
f. automated food processing/transport,
g. digital food supply chain apps,
i. Remote farm monitoring,neuralink.
First, we will deploy meat alternatives(Cellular agriculture,precision farming) like Modern Meadow, a Brooklyn-based company that grows meat, fish,
and poultry in a science lab. This will reduce need for Agricultural land. Within 90 days of this contest, our teams are incorporating a meat alternative startup called Disruptive Foods. We will seek startup/euity financing to create our own brand of plant based meat or explore distribitive partnerships in Nigeria with already established alternative protein companies like Impossible foods Ltd
Next, we will deploy artificial intelligence to assist local farmers make intelligent well informed data driven growing and sale decisions. As example Agrix Tech a Cameroon-based startup is helping african farmers tackle crop pests and diseases using A.I During refinement, we designed a basic a.i assistant on dialogflow.
We will also adopt robotic farming particularly for our female farmers to reduce the physical exertion in agriculture. Students from the Jomo Kenyatta University in Kenya have designed a robot,to automatically remove weeds in 2020. We reached out to them to explore possibilities of scaling their technology in Southwest Nigeria.
Also, we will mainstream biosensors (Nano-sensors) across farmlands. Strella biotechnology,in 2018 developed a biosensor that detects when fruits begins to ripen. This will help to reduce food loss and waste significantly. Although, not a key goal for our team at the moment, we have penned it down as a possible product line in the not too distant future.
Next we will generate Local level power via renewable energy for instance, Lumos’Solar Home systems provides instant power to over 80,000 low-income households across Nigeria since 2014. This will reduce GHG emissions. The major challenge with solar installations have been battery technology. We were able to strong together about 2400 units of 3.7v lithium iron batteries together during refinement. At present, we have 3 apartment buildings running on those batteries.
We will also transition to seamless automated food processing/transport.For example automation in the south african food industry has delivered improved benefits. This will ensure a smooth transition of food across the entire food value chain. During refinement, we cocreated a visual prototype of a digital supply chain app (FoodNerve oS ) with acumen digital. We look forward to building a full fledged working app integrating with payment systems and voice searchable database within the next 360 days.
Next, we will monitor daily activities on our farms remotely.For instance, Ghanian based startup Complete Farmer in 2017, created a platform allowing users own and manage farms on their devices from anywhere they are. This aids our transitioning into smarter data driven agriculture.
We will use holographic communication to improve communication between key actors in our food value chain and enable real time 3d viewership of farms and food processinh. In 2018, a california-based company, Double Me demonstrated holographic communications over 5G in .
Next, we will upload precise farming knowledge to new/young farmers via neuralink. For example, Neuralink is developing ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers based in california. This will help us update and upgrade local farmers' knowledge. Although, we admit this technology is still way off, we are excited about the prospects of creating a way to digitize farmer knowledge and transfer it to newbies. If neuralink works as touted, we aim to be among the first across Africa to deploy it in training the next generation. In our graphic novel, we created a character : a cortically blind crop farmer (Mofe mogaji) who control his farm sensors via thought patterns.
Finally, in the immortal words of Arthur C. Clarke, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. We look forward to a decade where African farms will leapfrog past obsolete technology into deploying the tools of the future to shape the lives of our families
Policy | What types of policies are needed to enable your future food system?
Policies can only deliver best fruits if they are based on reliable tools to measure the improvement they seek to produce in our lives. Jose Angel Curria.
To achieve our 2050 vision of sustainable and nourishing food futures for Nigeria, we have drafted and submitted two Bills to the Lagos State House of Assembly during the refinement period. (See the attached Lagos State Science, Technology and Innovation Bill, 2020 "ST&I Bill"; and the Lagos State Environment Management Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2020 "EMP Bill"). We've also opened communication with the Honourable Chairman, Southwest Legislative Reform Implementation Committee to enable us replicate these key policies in other state legislature of Southwest, Nigeria.
The two Bills have as their key objectives, the re-purposing of agricultural subsidies for community greenhouses and peri-urban farms. see S.199B(3) of EMP Bill;
The developing of patient capital that supports smallholder farmers. see S.4(3)(i) of ST&I Bill;
Taxing and regulating unhealthy foods. see S.4(5)(d) of ST&I Bill;
Taxing food waste. see S.4(7)(b) of ST&I Bill;
Using public procurement to secure long term offtake for alternative protein sources. see S.4(5)(a) of ST&I Bill;
Scaling up payments for eco-system services. see S.4(3)(o) of ST&I Bill;
Make public sector data readily available. see S.4(1)(e) of ST&I Bill; Creation of policy newsrooms and think tank. see S.4(8)(d) ST&I Bill;
Build feedback infrastructure into policy making. see S.4(8)(e) ST&I Bill.
For our 2050 vision to flourish, we need to implement policies that repurpose agricultural subsidies for community farming. A good example is Nigeria's fertilizer subsidy reform which has enhanced it's agricultural development(1). This would eliminate food waste, make agricultural production facilities like greenhouses cheaper and ensure increased income for farmers.
Next, we would need to develop patient capital that supports smallholder farmers. In Latin American countries, the injection of patient credit support has improved smallholders farming(2). Patient capital solves the problem of aging farmers by enabling easy entry of young people into farming.
Also, we would need to tax and regulate unhealthy foods. Mexico imposed a 8% tax on sugary drinks and food with high caloric density to address the country's obesity challenge(3). Such taxes and levies promote heathy diets and increased income for government through violation fines collected by regulatory agencies.
In additon, polices taxing food waste would be implemented. Policies work better on a collective basis only when they also work on an individual basis. For example, France's food waste law has changed how grocery stores approach excess food(4). Food waste fines would ensure the drive towards a net zero food waste food system.
Futhermore, we would drive the use of public procurement to secure long term off-take for alternative protein sources. Israel recently concluded a $300 Million trade deal with China for lab grown meat(5). Norway and Vietnam have also integrated acquaculture as a alternative protein source(6). The economy would take a huge win from the direct and portfolio investment into alternative protein sources while acting as a panacea to the over-dependence on livestock grazing system.
Next, payment for eco-system services would be scaled up by imposing bans and fines on practices that theatens the eco-system just like Cambodia did in imposing log export bans to reduce forest degradation(7). Greenhouse gas emissions would be lowered, ecosystem would be boosted and local sites with rich cultural and spiritual heritage would be preserved.
In addition, policy news rooms and think tanks would be created to increase awareness of public policy and ensure that public sector data are constantly made public. PRIME, a Pakistan Think Tank dedicated itself to a mission of increasing understanding of Pakistani public policy(8). Local loops would be fed and players in the food value chain would be linked on this network. Information encouraging sustainable practices would also be mainstreamed.
Finally, we are building Feedback Infrastructure Into Policymaking.
Rural farmers/producers/ preparers in our stakeholder teams expressed deep resentment towards the "credentialed class" of policymakers (public service bureaucrats and pressure groups) who create policies that govern food value chain activities without consulting those "whose heads are to be shaved".
We are creating feedback mechanism through an open data platform, toll free lines and talk radio broadcasts to enable stakeholders critic/ offer continual feedback on policies and their second/third order consequences and effectiveness in real time. At present, we have a visual prototype: www.foodnerve.com
We look to the Rockefeller foundation to facilitate partnerships between Pyxera global, Technoserve, Farm Radio int. and our team (FINC) to amplify our policy feedback efforts in SW Nigeria.
Describe how these 6 Themes connect with and influence one another in your food system.
Please see the 7 systems maps attached
2050 Southwest Nigeria needs to:
a. feed about 85 million people, more nutritiously
b. ensure food production contributes to poverty reduction through inclusive economic and cultural activities , while also
c. reducing greenhouse gas emissions, water depletion and other environmental impacts of farming.
If we pursue one of the above goals to the exclusion of the others, we will fail to achieve any of them
Technical solutions can be effective only when other parts of the food supply chain are effective. For example, improved on-farm storage (technology) will not ultimately lead to reductions in food loss (environment) and improved nutrition (diet) if farmers lack market access (economics)sell their surplus harvest. Market access policies need to be implemented if markets will exist. Retailers using poor forecasting techniques may place food orders and later cancel them, negating per unit efficiency gains made by food processors. Therefore, progress in reducing food loss and waste requires require an integrated supply chain approach i.e. intelligent data and product distribution technology.
In our food systems, farms and food production have digital nervous systems.
Describe any trade-offs you may have to make within your system to attain your Vision by 2050.
A sustainable and resilient food future requires we balance many competing needs.
A. TRADEOFFS BETWEEN ENVIRONMENT, ECONOMICS AND DIETS
1. If we reduce growth in food demand by reducing food losses, this ensures a greater food supply, which can lead to food prices dropping. While consumers benefit nutrition-wise, the farmers (producers) earn less.
Falling incomes can tempt farmers to increase their use of land, fertilizer and water in order to generate adequate income through increased production. This will negatively impact the environment and prices may now even fall further (because of greater market supply), which leads to further drop in farmers' income.
A solution to this, is an analytics service (like FoodNerve oS) that tracks demand, supply and prices; and updates producers on when to shift production to food items with added value in order to increase returns.
2. If we raise food prices by allowing food demand to rise, we could actually encourage efficient land and water use. However, those same higher prices will also send signals to farmers to expand agricultural production on new land- or to use more water or fertilizers- to reap more profits from increased production.
3. If we raise food prices through growth in demand (to benefit farmers), we harm the poor and increase malnutrition because:
a. the poor either eat less, cut back on more nutritious food to maintain caloric intake or cutback on education or healthcare.
b. the rich outcompete them due to higher prices when supplies are limited.
4. Thus, rising prices due to increased demand will trigger both sustainable and unsustainable ways of raising production. In contrast, falling food demand and production overall means less demand for water, land and fertilizers.
B. TRADEOFFS BETWEEN TECHNOLOGY, ECONOMICS, POLICY AND ENVIRONMENT.
1. Encouraging higher productivity per plot of land (via indoor vertical farming etc) can prevent GHG emissions that could arise from expanding the agricultural area. But, emissions per plot can still increase if more fossil fuels are used to power the agricultural intensification.
Our food system trade-off entails a switch to climate smart solutions ( smarter crop rotation, precision agriculture, drought resistant seeds, solar powered farming).
2. A dietary change from meat to plant products will reduce emissions because production of plant-based meat substitutes produces just 4% of GHG emissions associated with meat industries. However, shifting from meat to plant-based substitutes will plunge animal farmers into poverty for a few years after the shift has gone mainstream.
Our trade off involves gradual introduction of plant based alternatives and training of rural farmers to transition into farming the raw materials for the substitutes.
The better way to address the challenges of poor farmers while striving for a sustainable food future is to target their specific needs while holding down the growth in food demand.
3 Years | Describe 3 key milestones that you would need to achieve within the next three years for your Vision to be on track?
1: Assure policy coherence.
Establish multi-disciplinary cross-agency taskforces to identify policies influencing dietary choices, assess alignment with promoting healthy, sustainable diets, and recommend changes.
The President's Spokesman: Mr Femi Adesina committed to navigating this process with our teams.
Create a Policy Newsroom+ThinkTank+RadioFM+Social Media to examine and mainstream food policies, healthy diet info
-we've applied for broadcast licence
By yr 3
-Review and update EVERY SINGLE LAW affecting dietary choices.
-A million engaged listeners monthly
-100,000 stakeholders via phone -in shows
2. Launch an open food data platform ( FoodNerve oS) integrating different means of trading, brokering, and sharing food/agriculture information together into a single, voice searchable platform to:
a. democratize market access for rural farmers and let consumers find inexpensive, nutritious food nearby through location-based listings, apps and A.I assisted natural-language processing phone service.
b. amplify voices of innovation champions and mainstream food research from experts to farmers,
c. provide price, trading, agronomy data and early disease/pest warnings via an SMS/CHATBOT.
d. enable farmers access patient capital, crowdfunding and insurance.
We've prototyped FoodNerve oS web/app visuals: www.foodnerve.com/prototype
By yr 3
-create labelled datasets for machine learning
-1 million users
-10 million transactions
3. Bring plant-based beef replicates to market (from plants sourced from rural farmers) alone OR via Joint venture (JV) with existing US alt-meat company or in partnership with a large food corporate. Our team partners have backgrounds in biochemistry, nutrition and medicine. We reached out Prof Lori Herz via IDEO platform for collaboration.
By 360 days,
-incorporate a private food lab, Disruptive Foods Ltd-
-create a plant-based beef duplicate as proof of concept
-Explore joint venture OR equity with a large food corporate.
10 Years | What progress will you need to make—by 2030—that would set your Vision up to become a reality by 2050?
Over the next 10 years we expect to make the following progress to setup our vision for success by 2050
1. A replacement level fertility rate of 2.16 down from this year's rate of 4.6 per woman in Southwest Nigeria. This will minimize the amount of mouths to be fed by 2050.
2. A reduction in national food loss and waste by 10%
3. Aggregate average agricultural productivity continues to increase at rates of 0.9 per year.
4. Halt deforestation i.e. Zero conversion of the forests and natural ecosystems for farming. Since 1950s, Nigeria has lost over 90% of our primary forests
5. Energy efficiency increases with a marked shift towards renewable energy.
6. Enough food is produced by 2030 to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
7. Significant progress in shifting our population towards the protective diet ( human and planetary diet)
8. Significant investments in human capital, technology diffusion and the digital revolution/platforms to support emergence of a new generation of rural entrepreneurs.
9. Increased investments in rural infrastructure like roads, renewable energy and data connectivity. This will help overall income growth and push growth of non agric jobs
10. A combination of rural assets and productive safety nets to enable our rural farmers remain resilient during periods of uncertain income.
11. A large shift from ruminant meat consumption to alternative proteins.
If awarded the $200,000 prize what would you do with it?
What we do in our lifetimes informs the generations that come after.
Our teams have agreed to devote the resources to bring the actionable points/ goals to life within the next 18months
Resources will be allocated within the framework below
1. Policy Newsroom/ThinkTank 25% ($50,000)
To cover volunteer stipends, basic overhead for 2years.
Basic DLSR cameras and video editing equipment to create content driving food policy for youtube, instagram, twitter and local tv. We will bootstrap extra costs.
2. FoodNerve Radio station broadcast licence fees
3. Coding Bootcamp 25% ($50,000- $100,000)
Transition at least 4 of our team members into fullstack developers/ data scientists via enrollment in a 6 month coding bootcamp at Ironhack, Miami Florida.
At this stage of our growth trajectory, we cannot afford to pay top dollar for programming talent. The prize money enables us upgrade our data science and programming skills in-house so we too can transition our team members into the careers of the future.
To translate 3year plans into action, we are developing FoodNerve oS, an open data platform, with digital supply chain applications and programs. Acquiring programming skills in-house as fullstack developers/programmers would enable us maintain and update our platforms and apps.
A borehole and mechanical handpump for our immediate community: (10%) $20,000 to help the 82 out of 100 homes that lack water supply.
5. Incorporate Disruptive foods, a company to explore alternative proteins in Nigeria and fund the development of a basic proof-of-concept alternative-meat product.
6. An Opportunity fund to enable us secure even better funding, hire key skills we lack, for driving all the actionable goals in this vision
If you are chosen as a Top Visionary, The Rockefeller Foundation would like to share your Vision widely with a global audience. What would you like the world to learn from your Vision for 2050?
You're not reading this by accident.
How do we share with you the excitement, hope and strong sense of desire and urgency that has kept us awake every single night for the past twelve months?
For some, this is just another prize. For us, this is the salvation of an entire continent, the dream of a million hearts- the groans, giddiness, blood and sweat of a new generation excited and committed to epamoolosa (inventing tomorrow)
Today, we're building digital nervous systems to connect us to the food we grow and design. We're taking traditional farms and food distribution channels; and giving them FoodNerves so they can self-coordinate and act more intelligently to eliminate food loss.
Next, we are moving our young people into the tech careers of tomorrow; creating safe, nutritious meat alternatives whose supply chains power rural farmers' livelihoods, all within planetary limits.
Our dream is to build antifragile (resilient) food systems that will withstand the shocks of any future blackswan event. In other words, we want to future proof our farms, farmers, families and food channels so there's healthy food for everyone and a restored planet for our grandchildren.
The power of dreams is to plant reality. When you join your hearts to our efforts, just as Rockefeller Foundation, SecondMuse and IDEO has, we can bring this to pass...
...sooner than you FINC.
Please write down this vision. Make it plain. S/He who reads, will run with it.
Please share a visual that communicates the structure and operation of your food system in 2050. Describe the visual.
The first map above (Stakeholders map) describes how the key stakeholders (based on our projection of the jobs in the future food system) interact with each other.
The next six systems' maps show how each of the themes in the Food System Vision Prize interconnect and some consequential trade-offs arising from such connection.