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Symposium Online Welcome

September 23  |  9:00 New Zealand   •   September 22  |  14:00 PDT  |  17:00 EDT  |  21:00 UTC

2020 Symposium Online Chairs, Professor Jacques Trienekens, Wageningen University, Netherlands and Professor Victoria Salin, Texas A&M University, USA, help kick off IFAMA’s two-day virtual program.

Symposium Research Papers

September 22 - September 24

The 30th Annual Symposium features more than 40 scientific papers appealing to a broad spectrum of interests and timely topics addressing every facet of the global food system.

Getting Your Research Published in an International Journal

September 23  | 11:00 Beijing  |  3:00 UTC    •    September 22  |   20:00 PDT   |  23:00 EDT

Moderator: Greg Baker, Professor, Santa Clara University, USA

Presenter: Dr. Kevin Zhigang Chen, Qiushi Chair Professor, China Academy for Rural Development and School of Public Affairs, Zhejiang University, Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Dr. Kevin Chen is Editor-in-Chief, of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Review.  He will share the secrets to getting your research published in an international journal. This popular session answers your questions on how to structure your research so that it contains the components of high-quality, scholarly work and how to properly prepare the manuscript for the peer review process.


How Technology and Other Trends Are Changing Food
September 23  |  5:30 PDT  |  8:30 EDT  |  12:30 UTC

Presenters: Aidan Connolly, President, Agritech and CEO Cainthus, Ireland;  Mary Shelman, Mary Shelman Group, USA;  and Damian McLoughlin, Professor of Marketing and Marketing Subject Area Head at UCD Smurfit Business School, Ireland

Straight talk and entertaining opinions about the real challenges facing our food industry as three thought leaders debate the trends and technologies transforming what we eat.

The adoption of Digital technology in the food chain and on farms has been catapulted forwards by the Covid-19 pandemic. Other factors, however, are also transforming what we eat and what we eat. Coronavirus is not the only virus we face as Swine Fever continues to devastate the world’s largest livestock sector.  Trade wars loom large, the growing acceptance of alternatives to meat and milk, indoor and vertical farming, and growing concerns with climate change are all potential hazards facing both food business and farmers. Not least the resurrection of retail poses questions about how consumers will get their food, now and in the future.

Great topics for the ultimate expert conversation with Mary Shelman, Damien McLoughlin and Aidan Connolly, all who have written and contributed substantially to food and agribusiness thinking now and in previous IFAMA events.  Expect a robust discussion with informed debate.

Innovating for the Future of Food and Ag

September 23  |  15:30 Germany   |  6:30 PDT  |  9:30 EDT  |  13:30 UTC

Keynote Presenter: Bob Reiter, Bayer Crop Science, Germany

Moderator: Dr. Vincent Amanor-Boadu, Professor, Kansas State University, USA

COVID-19 has accelerated pre-existing trends, highlighting the need for transformation of agriculture toward a system that is more resilient, more productive and more sustainable. How can we feed a growing world population without starving the planet? How can we deliver greater value for farmers in challenging market environments? What innovations do we need to drive today to meet tomorrow’s challenges? Bob Reiter discusses the approach Bayer is taking to tackle these questions and provides concrete examples of how the company is helping to shape agriculture for the benefit of farmers, consumers and the planet.

Digitization of Africa’s Agrofood Value Chains: The Effects of COVID-19 on Scaling Up Solutions
September 23  |  8:30 EDT  |  10:30 EDT  |  14:30 UTC

Presenter: Edward Mabaya, Cornell University, USA

Moderator: Dr. Vincent Amanor-Boadu, Professor, Kansas State University

Within the past decade, digital technologies are increasing seen as a game changer for agriculture in developing countries. Early evidence suggests that digital technologies can deliver key solutions to traditional agrifood value chain challenges including: enhance yields and scale productivity of smallholder farmers; improve efficiency of production systems and farm management; improve traceability, sustainability and profitability of agribusinesses; and facilitate access to markets. The 2019 CTA/Dalberg Report on The Digitalisation of African Agriculture identified at least 390 active and distinct digital solutions reaching more than 33 million farmers and pastoralists across Sub-Saharan Africa and growing at a staggering rate of 44% per annum. Despite the opportunity, African agriculture is yet to realize, at scale, the benefits that digitalization can offer. The middleware infrastructure, regulatory frameworks and data policies needed to incentivize innovators to reach the last mile are insufficient or lacking in some cases; digital literacy and human capacity to develop, integrate and access digital solutions is still nascent; and many agritech companies are yet to find a commercially viable business model to deliver affordable digital solutions to smallholders and agri-SMEs at scale. Against this backdrop, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant disruptions to traditional food systems and increased the urgency to quickly scale innovations that can deliver social and economic value to all the players in African agriculture. This presentation explores the opportunities and threats presented by COVID-19 and how these will affect the scaling up of digital agriculture solutions across the continent.

Driving Toward the Next Normal: Swimming with Black Swans
September 23  |  15:30 PDT  |  18:30 EDT  |  22:30 UTC

Presenter: Allan Gray, Executive Director, Center for Food and Agricultural Business, Purdue University, USA

Moderator: Steve Sonka

The pandemic is reshaping the global landscape and how we are imaging the future. Strategic planning is more about preparing for the possibilities rather than trying to guess a particular outcome. Surviving is imperative, but what about when the dust settles? What might the “new normal” be? What will drive these changes and how can we begin to prepare for it now?

September 23  |  16:15 PDT
  |  19:15 EDT  |  23:15 UTC

Moderator: Hector Laurence, McLaren Associates, IFAMA President, Argentina

IFAMA President, Hector Laurence welcomes all attendees to our first virtual event. A video follows containing segments from eight of IFAMA’s past presidents and other friends as they explore our roots, what makes IFAMA unique, and their visions for the future. Global virtual networking session immediately follows.

Case Methods Workshop
September 24  |   5:30 PDT
  |  8:30 EDT  |  12:30 UTC 

Co-Chairs: R. Brent Ross, Michigan State University, USA;  Bernardo Piazzardi, Universidad Austral, Argentina;  Rocio Reina, San Telmo Business School, Spain

The case method is an active learning tool that helps participants assess, analyze, and act upon complex business issues. This popular session features a Roundtable discussion on writing and teaching online case studies. Cases are utilized to effectively facilitate knowledge transfer and problem-solving. Whether you are looking for new business strategies or curious about how to share or teach others, you will find this session useful. In late October and early November, the presenters will showcase two unique teaching cases that utilize the case method format. These sessions are hands-on and designed to stimulate group discussion.  Symposium Online attendees are invited to attend these sessions. A copy of the full cases to be discussed will be sent to participants who sign up in advance.

Food Chain Transparency: A Question of Governance?

September 24  |  17:00 Germany  |   8:00 PDT  |  11:00 EDT  |  15:00 UTC

Moderator: Kristian Moeller, Chief Executive Officer of GLOBALG.A.P., Germany
Panelists:   Anselm Elles, Managing Partner, AFC Consulting Group AG, Germany
Johan Maris, Director, Peterson Control Union, Netherlands
Sabbir Nasir, CEO, ACI Logistics Limited, India

Organizing transparency in food chains is no longer a question of technologies. They are available and widely tested. A growing number of IT solution providers are competing to be the single go-to platform, in order to achieve the necessary critical mass to capitalize on network effects. So far, they have not been successful. Kristian Moeller, Chief Executive Officer of GLOBALG.A.P. and Board Member of IFAMA, continues the dialogue held in the Digital Food forum of the IFAMA goes Digital event and discusses the possible reasons why. His guests are managing partners and CEOs of leading agribusiness firms from Asia and Europe. They discuss why major brands do not want to place all their transparency and traceability data for their competitive food chain with a single commercial and shareholder-value-driven IT platform operator, and what a governance structure should look like for a global Honest Broker Platform.


2020 Fellows Awards

Since its founding, IFAMA has been successful due to the vision, hard work and creative efforts of a few key Individuals. These individuals have distinguished themselves as leaders in the food and agribusiness industry as well as in service to IFAMA. This is the highest award given by IFAMA and is only awarded to members who have made outstanding and sustained contributions to the success of the organization.

Vera Bitsch

Professor and Chair Economics of Horticulture and Landscaping, Technical University of Munich, Germany

Roberto Feeney

Associate Professor of the Center for Food and Agribusiness, Austral University, Argentina

Woody Maijers

Professor value chain development, Inholland University of Applied Science and Co-founder of the Agribusiness Academy, Netherlands

2020 Lifetime Achievement Award

Professor Jacques Trienekens, Wageningen University, Netherlands

Jacques retires after a lifetime of service in agrifood science at Wageningen University he invites friends of IFAMA to share and celebrate some of his career highlights.

IFAMA Young Board Networking Sessions

The IFAMA Young Board launched in 2020 thanks to the generous support of Bayer and several highly committed individuals. This group of early career professionals is helping to mobilize the next generation of thought leaders promote discussions toward the conversion of education globally in agribusiness and agriculture to integrate technology and market dynamics and match the industry requirements of young professionals for the future.

The IFAMA Young Board offer two networking sessions to meet and connect with other early career  professionals in the ag sector.


Esteban Brenes, INCAE
September 24

Professor Esteban Brenes, sums it up with key takeaways from 48 hours of content streaming and invites all attendees to Costa Rica 2021.

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