Global Innovation Challenge 2018

Team JHAMN: 2018 Global Innovation Challenge Winners

Team JHAMN Presenting during the Global Innovation Challenge 2018.

Team JHAMN Presenting during the Global Innovation Challenge 2018

Team JHAMN proposed leveraging existing local resources to provide a platform for members of underrepresented farming groups to achieve viable and thriving positions in the agri-food system in Kerala, India. 

The 2018 GIC was supported by the Community for Global Health Equity, the Guru Foundation, Growing Food Connections supported through the United States Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture Grant, the UB Food Systems and Healthy Communities Lab, and the UB Experiential Learning Network.

JHAMN Project Updates


Smallholder farms provide at least 50% of the agricultural output for domestic consumption in most low- and middle-income countries. Smaller than two acres in size, smallholder farms account for about 70 percent of all farms. Yet, the 500+ million households that run these farms withstand the worst food insecurity, especially in the Global South. Limited access to capital, markets, land, technology, and training, as well as political stressors, gender inequities, and, more recently, climate change, amplify the vulnerability of smallholder farm families.

Historically, top-down policy efforts have been the primary strategy for addressing the challenges smallholder farmers experience. This approach neglects the complexity and localized nature of urban and regional food systems. For example, agriculture is not only found in rural areas; globally about 68,000,000 hectares, or 15.7%, of all irrigated and rain-fed cropland is in urban and peri-urban areas. Producers who farm in different contexts face different challenges.

An alternative approach is farmer-centered: learning from and building capacity among farmers in order to achieve practical and sustainable solutions to meet the consumption demands of the world’s population and the farmers themselves. Nevertheless, with an increasing policy emphasis on large-scale agricultural production, innovative strategies are needed to support and empower smallholder farmers.

The Challenge

Develop innovative strategies to cultivate food equity in the Global South – improving the health, livelihoods, and environments of smallholder farmers. 

Rice Trial, CIAT, Neil Palmer, 2010, Modified.

Rice Trial, CIAT, Neil Palmer, 2010, Modified 


In a world of plenty, no one, not a single person, should go hungry…But almost 1 billion still do not have enough to eat. I want to see an end to hunger everywhere, within my lifetime.

– Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General in 2012 on the “Zero Hunger Challenge”

Program Materials

In the News

  • GIC focuses on food systems

    This year's Global Innovation Challenge examines cultivating equity for those who grow our food.

  • Dr. Korydon Smith describes the week.
    Improving food equity with a hackerspace for farmers
    A multidisciplinary group of students will receive funding for a pilot program that will bring farmers in rural India together to share and learn advanced techniques, have increased access to land, and connect with established support organizations.

Global Innovation Challenge

The annual weeklong workshop addresses significant and persistant global health challenges. This year's challenge, which took place May 21-25, focused on cultivating equity for those who grow our food. Photos: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

Published May 31, 2018 This content is archived.

2018 Partner Organization

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Jorge Fonesca, UN FAO.

Jorge M. Fonseca currently serves as the Programme Adviser for the Food Systems Strategic Programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. In this capacity he provides expertise to member States in different areas related to food systems, including activities related to FAO’s Urban Food Agenda. For FAO he previously served as Economic and Food System Analyst, and also as an Agro-Industry Officer providing supervision of field projects in Latin America, Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.  Prior to joining FAO he was an Associate Professor at The University of Arizona, where he led the state’s postharvest and produce safety research and extension program. He also worked as consultant for the private sector in multiple countries and US federal agencies. He is a member of the independent expert group of the Global Nutrition Report. He holds a PhD in Food Technology from Clemson University, USA.

2018 Expert Fellows

Tanveer Dar.

Tanveer Ahmad Dar, State Project Manager J&K State Rural Livelihoods Mission for the Government of Jammu and Kashmir has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Kashmir, Srinagar and M.Phil in Public Health from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has worked with Supreme Court Commissioners on Right to Food, New Delhi; National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Government of India; and ActionAid Association (INGO). He has led many programmes in Kashmir on the issues of livelihoods, children’s rights, mental health, education and disaster responses, and has been actively engaged in many initiatives on governance and people’s rights. His research has focused on understanding the complexities of public health, food security and education in the context of long term conflict in Kashmir using a social determinants perspective. His publications include a dissertation of the public provisioning and people’s access to health services in Kashmir, a report for Supreme Court Commissioners on Right to Food, New Delhi titled ‘Hunger in the Valley’, and articles on education and food security issues in Kashmir. Tanveer is currently working on to understand the complexity of changes in Socio-Economic conditions and Health Status in Jammu and Kashmir since the conflict began in Kashmir.

Biraj Patnaik.

Biraj Patnaik is the Regional Director (South Asia) for Amnesty International and also the Principal Adviser to the Commissioners to the Supreme Court in the Right to Food case. He has been responsible for the oversight of food programs of the government of India on behalf of the court, for the past ten years.  He was part of the lobbying, campaigning and advocacy efforts for the landmark National Food Security Act in India. He was concurrently the Associate Director of the Centre for Equity Studies, a Delhi-based public policy and advocacy institution. 

Jim Sumberg.

Jim Sumberg is an agriculturalist by training and has over 25 years experience working on small-scale farming systems and agricultural research policy in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. He joined the Institute of Development Studies as a Research Fellow in October 2009. Previously he served as Programme Director at The New Economics Foundation and Senior Lecturer in Natural Resource Management in the School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia. He has also held research positions at WADRA - the Africa Rice Centre, the International Livestock Centre for Africa, CARE International and the Gambian Livestock Department.

A key research interest has been the dynamics of change within agricultural systems.There have been two sub-strands to this work. The first explores the persistence of agricultural research and development themes such as de-stocking, mixed farming and fodder legumes despite consistently poor results from promotional programmes. The second strand focuses on agricultural research as a development intervention. Here he has published on the farming systems research movement; farmer-participatory research; the potential role of concepts from industrial 'new product development' in targeting research; and the value of systems of innovation theory in understanding the challenges to agricultural research in sub-Saharan Africa.

More recently he has worked on the agricultural development potential of "home-grown school feeding", the changing global food system and the growth of interest in 'local' food within the UK.

Dr. K Vasuki.

Dr. K Vasuki has served as the 42ndDistrict Collector of Thiruvananthapuram since September 2017, in the state of Kerala, India. Her work has focused on green protocols throughout the district and at major state and national events. Dr. Vasuki is a member of the prestigious Indian Administrative Service (IAS), class of 2008. Trained at the Madras Medical College, Dr. Vasuki chose to make civil service her career to work for the development of people. Prior to her work in Kerala, Dr. Vasuki worked in Madhya Pradesh, in Dindori district with the Biaga tribe. In Kerala, Dr. Vasuki has promoted recycling and reusbale materials for large-scale events to reduce plastic waste.