‘Partnering for sustainability’ to achieve global food security

In October, the U.N Committee on World Food Security (CFS) opened its new session in Rome. CFS serves as a forum in the United Nations System for review and follow-up of policies concerning world food security, including food production and physical and economic access to food.

To coincide with CFS, Farming First organised a side-event on “Partnering for Sustainability”, in partnership with the International Agri Food Network. Guest speakers at the event gave presentations on public-private and private-private partnerships and the important role they play in building a more sustainable and stable food system.

Franklin Moore, USAID began the event with his opening remarks before Thomas Lyall, from Dow AgroSciences spoke about how sustainable beef production in Brazil is being achieved through multi-stakeholder collaboration. In Brazil, the Sustainable Livestock Initiative is working to increase the productivity and profitability of pasture whilst at the same time preventing deforestation. This is being achieved through the recovery of degraded areas and building the capacity of local producers and technicians through field visits, lectures and training.

Stephen Wilkinson from the International Zinc Association later gave a presentation on zinc and how it is an essential nutrient for human health. With a third of the global population deficient in zinc, it is crucial that adequate levels of zinc intake are achieved. Globally, 800,000 people die each year from zinc deficiency – 450,000 of which are children under the age of five – and many of who live in developing countries.  Zinc is a growth-limiting nutrient, which means that inadequate intakes can cause growth retardation or stunting in children. Wilkinson spoke about how the International Zinc Association has launched a partnership program with UNICEF with a goal of raising $3 million from zinc industry. “One sustainable solution to zinc deficiency is applying zinc to crops” said Wilkinson at the event. “Farmers using zinc fertilizer can increase their profitability whilst at the same time growing more nutritious food that contains higher levels of zinc”. HarvestZinc, a program under HarvestPlus, has shown that proper zinc fertilizer use can double the zinc concentration in cereal grains.

The final presentation at the event was given by Patrick O’Quin from Danone who spoke about private-private partnerships and gave an introduction to three Danone funds: The Danone Ecosystem Fund, The Danone Livelihood Fund and the Danone Communities Fund.  The Danone Ecosystem Fund is designed to support, strengthen and develop the activity of Danone’s “ecosystem”, meaning all stakeholders whose activities are impacted by Danone and who act closely with its local subsidiaries on economic, social and territorial matters. Through cooperation with 29 partners, the fund finances 36 projects around the world.

The Danone Communities Fund was created to fund and develop social enterprises that create social and economic value, locally. Alongside social entrepreneurs, this support is provided through investment and technical advice via a network of committed experts. The Danone Livelihood Fund is a carbon investment fund that helps poor rural communities by generating financial resources for projects with high social and environmental value. Since its creation in 2008, Danone has invited companies such as Crédit Agricole, Schneider Electric and CDC Climate to join the Livelihood fund. Fund partners receive top-grade certified carbon credits in proportion to their investment, and can use the credits to offset their carbon emissions. Read more about the Danone Livelihood Fund in our previous blog.