Emergency solution or silver bullet? National pathways for food system transformation





Think Tank for Sustainability (TMG)
Andreas Hermes Academy
European Commission DG Research & InnovationBioeconomy & Food Systems (B2)
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Time: Friday, 20. January 2023, 09:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Room: A1

Language: English, German, French


The participating experts discussed the elaboration, objectives and implementation of the so-called “National Pathways”, using the examples of Cambodia, Ethiopia and Kenya. In addition, a classification by the scientific community was part of the discussion. The input providers did not only discuss from a regional perspective, but also approached the topic from a sectoral perspective, i.e. from the perspective of the producers (Dr. M`Mailutha), the civil society (Ms. Worku) as well as the governmental – and thus regulatory – institutions (Dr. Sok Silo). During the short first inputs it became clear that there have been successes in the respective “National Pathways”, but that there are still big steps to be taken, especially with regard to the inclusion of marginalized groups. A general strengthening of the targeted exchange between science, state institutions and civil society was also highlighted as a desirable goal, as only in this way can truly holistic solutions be devised and implemented. During the exchange with the audience, various aspects were discussed (e.g. financing of implementation) and underlined by different experts, e.g. from GIZ or the EU Commission. The input of Agatha Thuo and Dr. Marcella D`Souza, both speakers of a thirteen-member expert group, which successfully addressed the issue of governance of food systems in the run-up to the expert panel, deserves special mention.

Panel Guests

Dr. Mwendah M’Mailutha is the Kenya National Farmers’ Federation (KENAFF) CEO since September 2017.
He is an expert in agricultural policy development and development economics with specialities in rural development. He has an intimate understanding of the agricultural sector in Kenya and Eastern Africa and is well versed in the role of agriculture in the socio-economic transformation of African countries.
Dr. Mwendah M’Mailutha holds a PhD in International Development Policy and a Master’s in Public Policy from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, United States. Before that, he graduated from Kenya’s Egerton University with a BSc in Agriculture and Human Ecology. He also holds certificates in International Law, Business Administration, Leadership & Management, and Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) for development.
He has a wealth of professional experience, having worked as a field research assistant for Catholic Relief Services in former Sudan (now South Sudan), as a regional coordinator for KENAFF, and as a lecturer at the Kenya School of Government and Egerton University in Kenya. He has also held teaching positions as a graduate student in the USA (2006–2013). Additionally, he co-founded two prosperous enterprises in Kenya and South Sudan that catered to farmers.
Dr. Mwendah M’ Mailutha has a passion for dairy farming and apiculture and practices both in Nakuru County.

H.E. Dr. Sok Silo has served as the Secretary General for the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) of the Royal Government of Cambodia since July 2019. He has been appointing as the SUN Government Focal Point since August 2014 and the National Food System Dialogues Convener since November 2020. He is also the Secretary of the Technical Working Group for Food Security and Nutrition. Previous holding these positions, H.E. Dr. Sok Silo was Deputy Secretary General of CARD for 12 years, Director of the Administration Department of CARD for nearly 10 years and Private Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for almost 5 years.
Dr. Sok Silo played an important role in the coordination and policies and strategies formulation related to food systems, food security and nutrition in Cambodia. He has actively led the dialogues and consultations in the development of the 2nd National Strategy for Food Security and Nutrition 2019-2023, the Cambodia’s Roadmap for Food Systems for Sustainable Development 2030 and the Country Operational Roadmap for the Global Action Plan on Child Wasting and many others.

Roberta Sonnino is Professor of Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Surrey (UK). Over her career, she has produced more than 100 publications on sustainable food, some of which have been translated into French, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese and Korean. Professor Sonnino has an established track record of creating impact and engagement at the interface of food systems research and policy. In recent years, she has been Vice-Chair of the FOOD2030 Expert Group, which led the development of four priority areas of the FOOD 2030 European research framework; lead author of FAO’s Framework for the Urban Food Agenda and Rapporteur of the High Level Expert Group assembled by the EC to explore ways to improve food systems governance through more effective science-policy-society-interfaces. Professor Sonnino is currently principal investigator of the €12m FOODCLIC project, funded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe Programme, researching the transformation of city-region food systems in European and African city-regions.


Sara Worku is a development professional with 15 years of experience. She currently fulfils the role of Coordinator of Alliance2015-Ethiopia (www.alliance2015.org) since 2019.  Alliance2015 is a strategic network of 7 European-based, globally active humanitarian, development and advocacy NGOs, acting as a platform to foster and nurture collaborations for greater scale and impact towards the SDGs and humanitarian principles; leveraging joint actions, knowledge, and solidarity and working extensively with local partners.

Sara’s role involves providing strategic intelligence and steering, facilitation, coordination, representation and advocacy competencies to Alliance2015 members in Ethiopia. In terms of advocacy and representation, Sara represents the Alliance in several different key national-level dialogues and for a; for example, the Ethiopia food systems transformation pathway mechanism; and acting as co-chair for the National Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture forum/platform. She is also playing a role to empower the CSO partners who are working with the Alliance2015 members to be more effectively included and access improved pathways to influence, resources and skills and competency building.

Prior to this senior role, Sara has worked in both national and international non-governmental organizations including People In Need covering initiatives in sectors including job creation, women and child empowerment. Sara holds a Master’s degree in Geography and Environmental studies from Addis Ababa university.



Jes is responsible for co-steering TMG’s programmes, and overall strategic development. He has more than 10 years’ experience in providing science-based policy advice in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. His thematic interests span natural resources governance, transitions to sustainability, co-creation of knowledge, and social innovation.


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