WFO Conference - "Seeding Nutrition, Harvesting Health"

22 Oct 2014

On 14 November 2014, the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) will host a conference titled “Seeding Nutrition, Harvesting Health” in Rome, Italy, at Roma Capitale (Rome City Council's Hall).  This special WFO event will be held in the Giulio Cesare (Julius Caesar) room from 9:00am to 2:00pm at Campidoglio (on Rome’s Capitol Hill).


If you wish to attend, please register by email to 


To join the discussion virtually, we encourage you to use the hashtag #ICN2 on Twitter and Facebook.



Health and nutrition are closely linked. According to the United Nation's Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) malnutrition is the largest single contributor to disease in the world. Malnutrition - ranging from obesity to a lack of vitamins to cases of starvation - is a global problem with real costs. Estimates report that 2 billion people are micronutrient deficient and 1.4 billion are overweight, of which 500 million are obese, and all this comes at the cost of approximately USD $3.5 trillion per year. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates 805 million people to be chronically food energy deficient (undernourished), and estimates stark numbers of undernourished individuals suffering stunting 161 million, wasting 51 million, and underweight 99 million.

There are two aspects that must be tackled in the face of malnutrition and its impact on public health: 1) Sustaining the quality and quantity of food a person eats; and 2) Ensuring adequate health care, and a healthy environment.


Direct involvement of farmers, the key players in food production, is necessary. Farmers bring their expertise and knowledge to the field of nutrition and healthy diets in order to ensure public access to sufficient and good quality food, along with an understanding of what constitutes a healthy diet.

In this framework WFO will hold the “Seeding Nutrition, Harvesting Health” conference with the aim to promote discussions regarding the critical role farmers play in tackling this global issue.

If we want to achieve better global health conditions, then we must invest in better nutrition. Who is more capable than farmers to assuring production of nutritious and healthy food?

This is one of main issues the special WFO event will address leading up to the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), which will be held from 19 - 21 November at FAO Headquarters in Rome. ICN2 is an inclusive inter-governmental meeting on nutrition being jointly organised by FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO). Prior to ICN2, the WFO nutrition conference will focus on the value of farmers’ knowledge and experience vis-à-vis nutrition and public health.






8:30 - 9:30                     Registration


9:30 - 10:00                  Opening Ceremony

Remarks by:

Hon. Mirko Coratti, President of the Capitoline Board, Rome

Dr. Riccardo Valentini, Nobel Peace Prize, Rome

Dr. Marcela Villarreal, Director, Office for Partnerships, Advocacy and Capacity Development, FAO, Rome

Mr. Marco Marzano de Marinis, Executive Director, WFO, Rome


10:00 - 11:00                Session 1: Where to plant nutrition and harvest health, the farmers’ contribution

Mr. Ken Davies, Director, Purchase for Progress, WFP, Rome

Mr. Norberto Bellini, Vice President, ASES-CIA Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori (Italian Farmers Confederation), Rome

Dr. Giovanni Vanni Frajese, MD, Università degli Studi di Roma “Foro Italico” (Italian University of Sport and Movement), Rome

Moderator: Mr. Marco Marzano de Marinis, Executive Director, WFO, Rome


11:00 - 12:00                Session 2: The role of farmers in nutrition and public health

Dr. Laura Rossi, Ph.D, Italian National Institute for Research on Food and Nutrition, Rome

Dr. Carlo Iacovissi, Surgeon - Head of Laboratory Social Agriculture, Associazione l'Impegno (Impegno Association), Frosinone, Italy

Dr. Luigi Buonaiuto, Surgeon - Vice President, Associazione AmiAfrica Onlus (AmiAfrica Association), Frosinone, Italy

Mr. Iain MacGillivray, Special Advisor to the President, IFAD, Rome

Moderator: Ms. Ute Ruth Charrondière, Nutrition Officer, Nutrition Division, FAO, Rome


12:00 - 13:00                 Session 3: Protecting biodiversity and increasing public health

Mr. Matthew Worrell, Minister Counsellor (Agriculture), Australian Embassy, Rome

Mr. Thomas Price, Senior Officer - Agricultural Innovation and Society, GFAR - Global Forum on Agricultural Research, Rome

Ms. Ute Ruth Charrondière, Nutrition Officer, Nutrition Division, FAO, Rome

Mr. Vincenzo Lenucci, Head, Economic Department, Confagricoltura (Confederation of Italian Agriculture), Rome

Moderator: Dr. Danny Hunter, Senior Scientist, Bioversity International, Rome

13:00                           Lunch


Read more about FAO and nutrition-sensitive agriculture: