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Carla Tanas Announces ‘Lebanon Agripreneur Of The Year 2019’

For the second year in a row, within the Agrytech program, Berytech has partnered with Future Agro Challenge (FAC), the global competition targeting food and agribusiness startups from various corners of the globe addressing national, regional and global challenges, to catalyze innovation in the agri-food industry.

The Challenges Facing Our Food System

Carla Tanas, guest speaker at the Lebanon Agri-Food Innovation Day 2019 (AFID) and founder of the Future Agro Challenge joined the Agrytech Team and competition jury to announce the two winners of this year’s local edition: Compost Baladi – Lebanon Agripreneur of the Year 2019, and Clean2O, first runner up.

In her talk during AFID, Tanas explained the scope of the challenges of feeding an ever-growing population with ever-dwindling resources, the reason leading to her founding Future Agro Challenge: “We are aware of 12,000 edible species, yet 95% of the food we are eating in today’s food menu is made up of 30 edible plant species. There are 7.5 billion people in this world, with 3 billion in the workforce and 1.2 billion are in the agricultural workforce. Which means 570 million farming families are producing more than 80% of the world’s food. With less than 1% of the world’s menu, imagine the number of taste palates that have gone missing, imagine the number of value chains that have gone missing, defining local cultures that have gone missing, and we continue to aim to produce more of what we are currently doing.

We are looking at a challenge where, in 2050, we have to produce 70% more. We have 40% of the people in the global workforce working in agriculture, but only 4% of the global GDP is coming from agriculture. We’re going in the opposite direction of SDG #2. There are 38M more people who have gone hungry because of conflict and immigration and if we don’t do anything about our rural areas, more people from these areas are going to join terrorist organizations, and more people will immigrate. But then one-third of the food that humans produce is wasted. The numbers don’t really add up. We know that the current world menu goes hand-in-hand with climate change. Agriculture is the third industry that is causing climate change, mostly from rice production and livestock.

More importantly, farmers are going into retirement age with not enough income to make their children want to continue to do the jobs they are doing. We might be losing instinctual knowledge from farmer to farmer. This is not something that computers or technology can take over. A farmer’s instinctual knowledge is something a knowledge economy can go extinct if we don’t take care of. The only way to solve that is to create farmer incomes, to be able to generate their own income so that the young see agriculture as a fruit basket opportunity.”

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