Expert Panel 17

How to better cope with change: New approaches for food system resilience to pandemic and climatic shocks


German Agribusiness Alliance (GAA) & Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO)

Time: Friday, 22. January 2021, 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (CET), subsequent deep dive 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Languages: English, German

Crises and weather extremes such as heavy rains and droughts contribute to amplifying “production shocks.” To respond to this situation, agronomic innovations, including improved land management and biotechnologies, need to be disseminated, international trade in food promoted, and early warning systems for extreme weather events and risk management improved through digital data discovery and index insurance, emphasized Dr. Daniel Müller, IAMO.

Dr. Thomas Kirchberg, Südzucker AG, explained how the sugar value chain is an example of how an intensive exchange with farmers as well as science can already today ensure that efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly production can be achieved on farms through the use of resistant plant varieties, the use of weather and soil analysis, the development of appropriate water and pest management and the use of alternative energy concepts.

Dr. Michael Wironen, The Nature Conservancy, highlighted the potential of a regenerative food system and the importance of resilient soils – numerous projects have shown that improved soil quality has a decisive influence on production performance and nutrient-rich supplies.

All speakers agreed on one aspect: long-term food production can only be managed by looking at a holistic system and using innovative technologies.


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Julia grew up in a farming family and studied agricultural science before joining BASF in 2001 in what is now the Agricultural Solutions division. In addition to working as staff of the BASF Board of Executive Directors, she led marketing teams in France and Canada and is now Vice President for Global Sustainability and Governmental Affairs. Here she leads a diverse global team that is passionate about shaping the agriculture of the future.

Panel guests

Dr. Daniel Müller is deputy head of the Department Structural Change at the Leibniz-Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO) and lecturer in geography at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The overall goal of his research program is to contribute knowledge and empirical evidence that allow steering land use towards more sustainable pathways. The geographic focus of his research is on the countries of the former Soviet Union and China where he analyzes land-system changes, examines options to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in the land-use sector, and assesses impacts of climate change on crop production.

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Taras Kachka was appointed as Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture – Trade Representative of Ukraine on 6 September 2019. He is an expert in international law with extensive experience in the private sector, international environment and government. He was a member of Ukrainian negotiating team for Ukraine – EU Association Agreement. Previously, he worked as Deputy Executive Director and Strategic Advisor at the International Renaissance Foundation (2016-2019). In 2014-2015, he was Vice President for Strategic Development at the American Chamber of Commerce, Ukraine. He served as Director for Foreign Economic Relations at the Ministry of Agricultural Policy and Food.

Dr. Thomas Kirchberg studied agricultural sciences and received his doctorate from the University of Göttingen, Germany. He joined Südzucker in 1989 and has been a member of the executive board of Südzucker since 2007. His current responsibilities include agricultural commodities, production, R&D and human resources, as well as the divisions BENEO (functional food) and Freiberger (frozen pizza). Among other things, Dr. Kirchberg is also member of the supervisory board of various companies, member of the board of BDI and the presidium of the German Eastern Business Association (Ost-Ausschuss) and member of the supervisory board of the Forum Moderne Landwirtschaft (FML).

Dr. Michael Wironen is Senior Scientist for Agriculture & Food Systems at The Nature Conservancy. In this role he provides technical and strategic leadership to projects and collaborations with leading agriculture and food companies, including Syngenta, Walmart, McDonald’s, and AB InBev. His portfolio includes place-based projects in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. His work focuses on achieving sustainable intensification while driving toward a regenerative food system, including leveraging carbon and other ecosystem service markets. As Science Lead for TNC’s Syngenta collaboration, Dr. Wironen helped secure and structure Syngenta’s $2 billion commitment to invest in innovation to support sustainable agriculture.


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