Collaborative efforts in the 20th century yielded the norms, policies and institutions that collectively served as a protective system until today. It is imperative that we again shape such systems through more inclusive development efforts. Enhanced international cooperation and earnest multicultural dialogue are critical to advancing innovations for greater societal impact. The 47th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting therefore aims to rededicate leaders from all walks of life to achieve common goals and drive new initiatives. Read more >>
The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Annual Meeting will take place from 20-23rd January 2016., under the theme “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution“. Leading minds will gather to discuss how technology is changing our lives and that of future generations, and reshaping the economic, social, ecological and cultural contexts in which we live.
Agriculture and food security features on the agenda, participants will discuss how to revamp the global food system to sustainably deliver 70% more food than is consumed today to feed 9 billion people by 2050. Read more >>
The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Annual Meeting will take place from 22-25 January 2014, under the theme ‘The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business,’ with the aim of developing the insights, initiatives and actions necessary to respond to current and emerging challenges.
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Last week, the World Economic Forum on Latin America took place in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Latin American and global leaders of government, business, farmers’ associations, international organisations and civil society gathered to discuss the future of the contient. More than 70 countries were represented, and agriculture featured high on the agenda.
The Latin America and Caribbean region produces 14% of world agricultural exports, including corn, soybeans, beef and poultry. It is also home to one-third of the land that is suitable for sustainable agricultural expansion due to its high agro-ecological potential, low population density and non-forested status (World Bank, April 2012). These opportunities also come with great challenges, such as the need to improve infrastructure and distribution methods to expand rural communities’ access to markets and the adoption of resource-efficient practices to overcome challenges of water scarcity and climate change. Such issues were amongst those discussed during the forum last week.
Juan Carlos Cortéz Garcia, President of the Mexican National Agriculture Council (CNA) chaired a panel event entitled: “How are new models of collaboration and innovation driving investment in food production and distribution?” He commented:
Climate change has had a huge impact. Mexico has been affected by droughts and frosts in successive years, which has had a devastating effect on food production. Export policies in certain countries are also an issue; when they are under pressure through having low supplies they change their exports policies, which has an adverse effect on food prices. We need a new approach, a new vision, a new way to confront these challenges that we were not experiencing a few years ago.
Speakers at the panel discussion exchanged regional best practices on food security as well as talking about empowering smallholder farmers and establishing new mechanisms and partnerships.
Julio Cesar De Toledo Piza Neto, Chief Executive Officer, BrasilAgro spoke about the need to balance out the food value chain in order to create a fair environment for smallholder farmers. He commented on the need for sufficient access to markets, inputs and financing for smallholder farmers.
We need to make sure there is a competitive market in terms of providing resources for smallholder farmers (…) so they are not squeezed.
The report argues that the food system presents a major development opportunity in a time of crisis. It sets out three goals that it believes can be achieved by rethinking agriculture: economic growth and opportunity, improved food security and nutrition and environmental sustainability. The report sets goals of 20% improvement per decade on each of these three areas.
To achieve the transformative change the New Vision for Agriculture initiative seeks, they recommend sparking a “virtuous cycle” of increasing skill and investment in the food system. The report details a number of case studies that are showing how such changes can be achieved through multi-stakeholder partnerships, and highlights six essential steps towards success. These are:
– Leadership and alignment of stakeholders around shared goals
– A clear strategy and priorities for implementing the transformation
– A network of entrepreneurs, innovators and investors
– Enabling hard and soft infrastructure policies and investments
– Catalytic financing and risk management
– Robust mechanisms and institutions for delivery, implementation and durability
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Launched in early 2009 at the World Economic Forum, the Beira Agricultural Growth Corridor is a project based in Mozambique that seeks to stimulate a major increase in agricultural production in an area whose growth potential has not yet been realised. The Beira Corridor has 10 million hectares of arable land with good soils, good climate and reliable access to water, but despite the promising conditions, very little commercial agriculture is practised.
The Beira Corridor project aims at drawing smallholder farmers out of the cycle of subsistence farming by providing the infrastructure, finance and training needed to improve their productivity. The project has followed a cluster approach whereby agriculture is developed around existing infrastructure, which provides easy access to electricity and water supplies, for irrigation, and road and rail networks for access to markets.
The initiative is a joint scheme between various public and private sector organisations in the international community, including the Government of Mozambique. It was set up by Yara, who recognised the huge potential of the Beira Corridor as a key contributor to achieving food security. The project’s goal is to establish the corridor as a major agricultural producing and processing region over the next 20 years.
The Beira project will help to realise the agricultural potential of the region, with significant benefits for farmers and local communities. As a case study, this kind of project could be replicated and scaled up elsewhere in Africa and other parts of the developing world, to make best use of arable land, helping farmers improve their livelihoods and produce a secure food supply for their communities.