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How Technology and Other Trends Are Changing Food

Aidan Connolly, Mary Shelman, and Damian McLoughlin

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.

Innovating for the Future of Food and Ag

Bob Reiter, Bayer Crop Science, Germany. 

Moderator: 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

Ed Mabaya, Cornell University, USA. 

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

Digital technologies are  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. Despite the opportunity, African agriculture is yet to realize, the benefits digitalization can offer. Against this backdrop, the pandemic has resulted in significant disruptions to traditional food systems and increased the urgency to quickly scale innovations. 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.


Food Chain Transparency:
A Question of Governance?

Moderator: Kristian Moeller, CEO, GLOBALG.A.P., Germany

Panelists: Anselm Elles, Managing Partner, AFC Consulting Group AG, Germany; Johan Maris, Director, Peterson Control Union, Netherlands

Why are major brands reluctant to place all their transparency and traceability data for their competitive food chain with a single commercial and shareholder-value-driven IT platform operator? What should a governance structure look like for a global "honest broker" platform?

In a second session with Kristian Moeller interviews
Sabbir Nasir, Executive Director, CEO, ACI Logistics Limited, India

Driving Toward the Next Normal: Swimming with Black Swans

Allan Gray, Executive Director, Center for Food and Agricultural Business, Purdue University.

Moderator: Steve Sonka, University of Illinois

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?


Since its founding, IFAMA has been successful due to the vision, hard work and creative efforts of a few key individuals.


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

[Video on YouTube] 


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

[Video on YouTube] 


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

[Video on YouTube] 



Getting Your Research Published in an International Journal

Kevin Zhigang Chen, Editor-In-Chief, IFAMA Review

Moderator: Gregory Baker, Santa Clara University

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.


The Case Method is an interactive learning tool which helps participants assess, analyze and act upon complex business issues.

Whether you are looking for new business strategies or curious about how to share or use case studies in your classroom, you are sure to find this interesting.

Part 1: Case Methods Workshop
Part 2. 
Fazenda Maxi - 29 October 2020
Part 3: Vietgreen - 2 December 2020

Learn More


The Academic Symposium features selected, peer reviewed paper presentations, case studies and the Best Paper Competition.

See your colleagues in action, ask questions, and take part in small group discussions.

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Additionally, view these discussions produced for IFAMA2020 Goes Digital series with our partners from Rotterdam.

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