Wednesday, March 1, 2023
Food security is a concern in some parts of Central Asia. In Turkmenistan, food rationing and shortages have been reported regularly since at least 2017. In Tajikistan, 1/3 of the total population is currently estimated to be food-insecure, and the majority of the population spends between 70% and 80% of its income on food.
Focusing on these two case studies of Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, renowned specialists Ms. Jocelyn Brown Hall, Dr. Suresh Babu, and Amb. Allan Mustard will discuss the challenges to food security posed by the impacts of the covid-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and climate change.
Jocelyn Brown Hall is Director of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Liaison Office for North America based in Washington, D.C. Ms.
Brown Hall comes from her previous position as Deputy Regional Representative for the FAO’s Regional Office for Africa based in Accra, Ghana, where she served from 2019 to 2021. In this capacity, she oversaw 47 FAO country offices in Africa and guided their strategy and communications around food security, agriculture, climate change, agri-food trade, and animal and plant health, among other matters. Prior to joining the FAO, Ms. Brown Hall was with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) where she was appointed Deputy Administrator in the Foreign Agricultural Service, and led the USDA’s $2 billion food and technical assistance programs in low- and middle-income countries.
Dr. Suresh Babu is Head of Capacity Strengthening, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and Extraordinary Professor, University of Pretoria, South Africa.
Dr. Babu is the Capacity Strengthening Lead, Asia for the USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy. He is guiding IFPRI’s regional and country programs in their institutional and human capacity-development activities. In this leadership position, and as a collaborating researcher of the CGIAR’s research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Dr. Babu has conducted many national dialogs leading to the development of national food security and climate change policies of several developing countries in Africa and Asia including India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, and Bhutan. Dr. Babu has trained several senior policy researchers and policymakers in South and Central Asian countries who are currently in leading policymaking positions, directly influencing and shaping food and agricultural policies.
Allan Mustard was US ambassador to Turkmenistan from January 2015 to June 2019. A career Foreign Service Officer with the Foreign Agricultural Service, Ambassador Mustard previously served as chief of the agriculture section at the US embassies in New Delhi, Mexico City, Moscow, and Vienna; at the US Consulate General in Istanbul; and as Assistant Agricultural Attaché in Moscow, USSR. Ambassador Mustard is a graduate of Grays Harbor College and the University of Washington, holds an MS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a certificate in Russian from Leningrad State University. He speaks Russian, German, and basic Spanish.
Director of the Central Asia Program and research Professor, IERES, George Washington University. His main areas of expertise are political systems in Central Asia, economic and social issues, Islam and religious minorities, and Central Asia’s geopolitical positioning toward China, India, and South Asia.