In our summer interview series we are featuring a number of experts who have recently spoken at the FOOD 2030 High Level Event in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and who all have their unique view on the food systems and the transformation it needs to become future-proof. Our fourth guest is Moctar Sacande from the FAO. As the International Coordinator for FAO’s Action Against Desertification in support of Africa’s Great Green Wall, Moctar Sancande provides technical backing in large scale restoration for small scale farming in ACP countries. He was awarded a PhD from Wageningen University and worked for RBG Kew, UK for 15 years as Research Leader in natural capital before joining the FAO. He has considerable experience in seed science and dry land restoration, used in a resilient restoration approach with rural communities.

Why is your specific area of expertise important in relation to food systems transformation?

When land fails to provide sustenance, people are more likely to fight over productive resources or look elsewhere for a better life. My area of expertise  in large scale restoration of degraded lands, with recent successes in improving land productivity in several developing countries, is helping small scale farmers to boost food security, improve livelihoods and help to adapt to climate change.

What is  the single most important issue to be addressed to make our food system future-proof?

The food system being future-proof relies on the sustainability of production systems, with zero land degradation, bio-diversification (agro-ecology), recycling and reduced obsolescence (losses/wastages).

What needs to be done to make the outcomes of Research & Innovation more impactful?

The challenge is to turn Research and Innovation into actual practices and at scale that will bring more impact on food systems transformation. This is  the types of R&D that brings science to communities in the most challenging environments  and contexts.

Describe a relevant innovative good practice related to food and nutrition security in your neighbourhood/region.

Organic production and consumption of a variety of food that can be sold or exchanged in farmer markets on a weekly basis, with no wastage and composting or transforming left-overs.

What can FOOD 2030 do to help you and your colleagues?

FOOD 2030 can support the visibility and communication on the successes out there and help to disseminate the methodologies and approaches that work and are replicable.

As a citizen, how are you contributing to food systems transformation?

As a citizen with job conditioned toward great awareness in climate change, its effects and causes, my contributions to food systems transformation are embedded in my and family lifestyle: from sbuying on-season and locally sourced food, shopping in farmer markets, offsetting my CO2 footprint through tree planting in Africa, using public transport or walking to and from work.

What is your preferred meal and who would you invite?

It would be a meal with locally produced and on-season products. I’d invite a village community to share it with!