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K-State Today

August 29, 2023

K-State lab sponsors, kicks off international food system symposium in Senegal

Submitted by Sanders Barbee

More than 70 international students attended the Resilient Food System Symposium in Senegal, Africa.

Kansas State University, in partnership with a team of master's and doctoral students from Université Gaston Berger, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, and École Nationale Supérieure d'Agriculture, organized the first student-led symposium, "Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture for a Resilient Food System," on July 31. 

Ignacio Ciampitti, director and lead principal investigator for the Digital Tools, Geospatial and Farming Systems Consortium and K-State professor of agronomy, presented the opening remarks for the symposium.

The symposium's main goal was to create a platform for exchanges between the various actors in the agricultural sector in Senegal to share solutions and innovations for the sustainable intensification and resilience of agriculture. The symposium was sponsored by Syngenta Foundation, Carrefour International, UFR des Sciences Agronomiques, de l’Aquaculture et des Technologies Alimentaires-Université Gaston Berger, and the Digital Tools, Geospatial and Farming Systems Consortium of the USAID Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab.

"This symposium provided an excellent platform for many students not only leading the organization of the event but being involved in discussing with many senior scientists about the future of food security via sustainable intensification practices," Ciampitti said.

More collaborations will be expected in the coming years to support this ambitious goal.

With distinguished speakers from academia and industry, the aim was to create a space for knowledge exchange and discussion on how these themes can contribute to food and nutritional security in Senegal.

Andre Diatta, a faculty in the department of agronomy at Université Gaston Berger and mentor of this symposium, also emphasized that "sustainable intensification of the production systems is proving to be one of the best alternatives for achieving food and nutritional sovereignty and youth's engagement in the development and dissemination of new technologies and innovations should be encouraged."

Amina Niane Sene, a graduate student at Université Gaston Berger said that "she appreciated the opportunity to meet and discuss with several stakeholders in the agricultural sector, but also to learn about the crucial role that young people, especially girls, can play in achieving food security in a context of climate change."

Of 120 participants who attended the symposium, nearly 80 were students from various universities, showcasing the voluntary involvement of the youth in the development of the Université Gaston Berger farm. Seventeen students had the opportunity to present their research work and projects to symposium participants through oral presentations and posters.

Read more about the symposium.