Aims to support research, science and nature-based solutions addressing food & water security, biodiversity and livelihoods
Goumbook, a leading social enterprise dedicated to accelerating sustainability and climate action, today announced the launch of the Regenerative Agriculture Venture Programme.Launched in partnership with HSBC Bank Middle East Limited and SAB (Saudi Awwal Bank), and supported by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Food, Goumbook’s Regenerative Agriculture Venture Programme aims to empower and upskill researchers and students who are actively engaged in addressing the fundamental agricultural challenges facing the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT) region.The primary objective of the programme is to chart a sustainable path toward a greener future by supporting innovative solutions in process methods and technology, addressing a broad spectrum of challenges including hunger, nutrition, climate change mitigation, and adaptation, among other matters. In doing so, it will position regenerative agriculture as a beacon of hope in the battle against the regional agricultural obstacles, fostering a more resilient and prosperous MENAT region for generations to come.
The solutions proposed by the participants must yield net beneficial economic, environmental, and social impacts for farmers and local communities, tailored to the unique agricultural conditions of the MENAT region to drive sustainable, long-term change.Recent research1 reveals that earth has only 60 years of nutritious topsoil left, equating to approximately 60 harvests, as a result of conventional agricultural practices. A thin layer of topsoil is responsible for 95% of all the food produced for human consumption2.The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations also reports that globally, conventional agriculture accounts for 72% of all surface and groundwater withdrawals, mainly for irrigation, which is straining and depleting water supplies in many regions.
Regenerative agriculture, through its key principles and adoption of resilient crop varieties that require less water, fewer pesticides, and reduced chemical inputs, is an approach that translates as a vital component in addressing the region- specific agriculture and climate challenges of the MENAT region Regenerative Agriculture also holds the potential to sequester carbon dioxide, making it a climate change mitigation and adaptation solution.
The Regenerative Agriculture Venture Programme has a multifaceted approach aimed at bolstering support to the knowledge economy by emphasizing research, science, and data-driven solutions. It also strongly focuses on capacity building for academia and researchers, fostering entrepreneurship and business skills to bridge the gap between the academic, research and business sectors. Furthermore, the programme aims to transform research solutions into long-term, accessible, scalable, and sustainable impact solutions; that are within reach of small and medium farm holders. Lastly, it strives to initiate a regenerative agriculture movement in the MENAT region, positioning regenerative agriculture as a critical response to climate change & resilience and to the unique agricultural challenges faced in this arid, saline, desert, and water-scarce region.
Students and researchers focusing on innovative and applicable solutions within the domain of regenerative agriculture for the MENAT region can submit their applications for the programme online by 18th December 2023 at www.RegenerativeAgricultureVenture.com.Tatiana Antonelli Abella, Founder and Managing Director at Goumbook, said: “In a world grappling with pressing agricultural, climate change, and food and water security challenges, we recognise the urgency to innovate and maximise resource efficiency, especially in our region’s harsh farming conditions. Regenerative agriculture, with its holistic approach that enhances soil health, fosters biodiversity and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, offers tremendous potential.”
Abella added: “Our ambitious program embarks on a transformative journey to establish concrete and scalable impact solutions for regenerative agriculture, significantly fortifying the MENAT region’s sustainable development and environmental health. We are not just imagining a future of regenerative agriculture; we are strongly facilitating its emergence. Together with a new generation of thinkers and innovators, we are dedicated to empowering impactful change that preserves our precious environment for future generations and positioning MENAT as a climate-resilient agriculture hub.”
David Ramos, Head of Sustainability at HSBC Middle East, said: “This is an important programme which we hope will help support regenerative agriculture, enhance food and water security and aid in climate change mitigation.”
Mai Bin Dayel, Head of Corporate Communications & ESG at SAB, stated: “The Regenerative Agriculture Venture Programme represents a convergence of scientific inquiry and practical application, aimed at enhancing soil vitality, conserving water, and securing food resources in a climate-impacted world. It’s a visionary approach that seeks to not only mitigate environmental challenges but to regenerate the very foundation of our ecosystems. Our support signifies a deep investment in not just the present, but also in a thriving, sustainable legacy for our communities and the environment that sustains us all.”The programme will culminate at the final, where participants will showcase their innovative solutions to a panel of esteemed judges, with the chance to win one of three $10,000 cash prizes, with further opportunities to support the solutions to scale for impact, further recognizing and supporting their groundbreaking ideas. The final three candidates will engage in collaborative efforts with farmers to refine their proof of concept, thereby guaranteeing their ideas’ practicality and high impact, firmly rooted in substantial knowledge and skills.
For more information about the MENAT Regenerative Agriculture Venture Programme, visit www.RegenerativeAgricultureVenture.com.