There are professionals from a wide range of backgrounds, including private sector agriculture, working in food security today.
Daniel White, associate director of agriculture at ACDI/VOCA, pointed to the example of one of his coworkers — and one of the most dynamic minds looking at rice and maize marketing in East Africa — who has a degree in art history.
Whether Peace Corps or private sector, the most important thing for a career in the sector is to find a way to spend some time in the field, he said. It’s important to have the opportunity to understand not only a smallholder farmer’s link in a value chain, but also his or her day-to-day life and habits.
“We are in a very different socioeconomic system...oftentimes the theory can start to obscure the complex reality on the ground,” White said of work in Washington.