The Sustainable Agriculture Matrix (SAM) is a framework that provides an assessment of agricultural sustainability for over 150 countries to inform policy & promote accountability at the national & global scale. Workshops are currently being co-developed and held by scientists & stakeholders in six countries/regions (i.e., Austria, Brazil, South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Turkey, & the United States of America). Thus far, our efforts to share and further develop SAM through stakeholder engagement has resulted in 9 workshops (5 virtual and 4 in-person workshops) hosted in Austria, Kenya, South Africa, Turkey, and the United States for 113 stakeholder participants representing the public and private sectors, NGOs; government; private industry; academia; and producers interested in their region’s agricultural sustainability. Below are brief descriptions and images of our previously held and upcoming workshops, organized by region.
The workshops in Turkey were held on March 1, April 19, and May 31, for three different target audiences namely governmental and international institutions, private sector, and producer and civil society organizations. Additionally, academics from different disciplines were invited to each workshop. Number of attendees for each of the workshops were 15, 19 and 12.
The workshop in the United States was held on December ‘21 & February ‘22 for 13 stakeholders from both the private industry, NGOs, as well as governmental and academic institutions with a vested interest in US agriculture. The final session is currently being scheduled for late-July/early-August and will enable us to share our efforts to improve upon SAM based on feedback from the previous workshops.
The African Plant Nutrition Institute (APNI) spearheads the Sub-Saharan African Working Group and is developing in-person workshops in Morocco, Kenya, and Ghana. For Kenya, two workshops were held on March 31 ‘22 & April 4 ‘22 in Nairobi and Embu, respectively. The two workshops focused on maize food systems at the national (Nairobi) and sub national (Embu) scales. Prior to the workshops, invitations with links to online questionnaires were sent out to the stakeholders. There were 11 respondents at the national scale and 12 respondents at the subnational scale. For the in-person workshops, more stakeholders participated in the subnational workshop (29) than the national workshop (12). There were more female participants at the subnational than at the national scale. Additional workshops are currently in development for Ghana and Morocco in July and September, respectively.
The Austrian country team held a first full-day in-person stakeholder workshop in October 2021 with a total of 11 participants (7 stakeholders + 4 team members) from public institutions, applied research and education, and civil society. A range of exercises spanning rich picture sketches of agricultural systems and their sustainability aspects, group discussions of SAM indicators, their state in Austria, potential additions and modifications, as well as breakouts on synergies and trade-offs provided comprehensive feedback on and inputs for the project. At present, the team is engaging in bilateral communication with stakeholders in preparation for a second workshop in the coming fall.
The Centre for Transformative Agricultural and Food Systems (CTAFS) held a one-day stakeholder consultation workshop on 31 May 2022 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Six stakeholders that included representatives from the KwaZulu Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, a farmer’s union, an NGO working with farmers and researchers from the University of KwaZulu-Natal attended the workshop. The workshop’s objectives were to develop a narrative for agricultural development in South Africa, identify challenges facing agriculture, and prioritize areas for improving indicators of agricultural sustainability with a focus on maize production systems. Challenges of high soil erosion, rural poverty and access to markets and finance were major challenges limiting progression towards sustainable agriculture in South Africa. The Sustainable Agriculture Matrix (SAM) was seen as a valuable tool to track progress toward sustainable agriculture. Insights from this workshop included an identified need to further adapt SAM to the local context.