New strategy to boost food security
Davos, January 30, 2011
Top global companies have partnered with governments of Tanzania, Vietnam and the US and farmer leaders to launch a strategy aimed at boosting food production while conserving environmental resources and spurring economic growth.
Entitled “Realizing a New Vision for Agriculture: A Roadmap for Stakeholders”, the strategy recommends better co-ordination among business, government and civil society to improve agriculture systems holistically.
Over 350 leaders from all sectors around the world contributed to its conclusions and recommendations.
Building on the private sector’s capacity for innovation, investment and growing markets are a key focus of the strategy, said experts after presenting the strategy at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.
The approach is already being implemented in two countries, Tanzania and Vietnam, they added. It will help accelerate sustainable agricultural growth through market-based solutions.
Spearheaded by 17 companies, the strategy sets ambitious targets for collective action to increase production by 20 per cent, decrease greenhouse gas emissions per tonne by 20 per cent, and reduce rural poverty by 20 per cent each decade.
These companies are Archer Daniels Midland, BASF, Bunge Ltd, Cargill, Coca-Cola Company, DuPont, General Mills, Kraft Foods, Metro AG, Monsanto, Nestlé, PepsiCo, SABMiller, Syngenta, Unilever, Wal-Mart Stores and Yara International.
Speaking at a press conference, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania unveiled a blueprint for public-private investment in the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor, developed with support from the initiative.
“Developing this corridor could triple regional production, generate $1.2 billion per year, and lift two million people out of poverty,” he said. “My government is committed to realizing this opportunity to generate sustainable growth in the region,” he added.
“Business can help transform agriculture, but we can’t do it alone,” said Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever.“By working collaboratively with farmers, governments and others, we can achieve common goals of increasing health and prosperity while protecting planet.”
The concept of co-ordinating investments has attracted interest from business, government and donor organizations.
“Innovative public-private partnerships offer a powerful opportunity to achieve significant impact on global hunger and nutrition,” said Rajiv Shah, administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
USAID is supporting Tanzania’s growth corridor and catalytic fund through Feed the Future, the US government global hunger and food security initiative.
Farmer leaders from India, Africa, Europe and the US welcomed the initiative.“Farmers are entrepreneurs, and by partnering with firms they can get access to markets, financing and technology,” said Chengal Reddy, co-chair of Indian Farmers and Industry Alliance.
“The success of farmers will bring this New Vision to life,” said Hugh Grant, CEO of Monsanto. “The New Vision will require action by all of us, working across the public and private sectors, to create the policies, infrastructure and partnerships needed to provide farmers choice and access to markets.”
“Investing in agriculture is the best way to drive the virtuous circle, creating economic opportunity and helping eradicate chronic hunger and malnutrition for millions. That’s good for everyone,” said Irene Rosenfeld, chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods.
“New partnerships between the private and public sectors are critical to confronting the new reality of high and rising food prices,” said Robert Greenhill, managing director at the Forum.
The New Vision for Agriculture roadmap was developed in collaboration with McKinsey & Company.-TradeArabia News Service