Thank you Madam Chair. My name is Cindy Brown, I am a farmer from the United States.
We welcome the conclusion of the negotiations on responsible agricultural investment. The guidelines can offer a useful framework for engaging investors and to ensure the potential of investments is realised.
However, as a farmer, this process has highlighted some core issues with the way farmers are being characterised, not only in the RAI outcomes but also often in other work streams under CFS.
Farmers – in all their sizes – are a vital part of our agricultural system. The RAI outcome suggests being a farmer is not a valid self-identity. It posits an unhelpful and unrealistic dichotomy between being a smallholder and being a business.
Farmers farm for a living. Their farms are a business, even when small. Large-scale farmers are no less farmers than small-scale farmers, even if they run a larger business operation.
And in between smallholder and large-scale farmers, there are a multiplicity of farms of varying sizes and with different set ups. But all farm to support their livelihoods.
Establishing this division between farmers is not helping us support food and nutritional security. We need all farmers to contribute to sustainable production. Different farms may play different roles and they can be complementary. This diversity and multiplicity needs to be recognised across all aspects of our work here at CFS.
We nonetheless hope this outcome document will help guide and improve investments – of all sizes, in all types of farms. Investments should help foster choices among consumers and producers.
Thank you madam Chair.
Thank you Madam Chair.
My name is Keith Polo, I am the country lead for Malawi for the Clinton Foundation. My role is focused on building partnerships and facilitating investments in Africa.
In Africa perhaps more than anywhere else, agriculture holds the key to broad-based economic growth, poverty reduction and food security. Agriculture generates on average 25% of GDP– and much more in many countries. The broader agribusiness sector, including input supply, processing and retailing, is estimated to account for close to half of GDP.
Leveraging the potential of agriculture requires significant increases in investments, both public and private. Out of the 83 billion dollars required annually to feed 9 billion people in 2050, 11 billion dollars would be needed in Africa.
We need to see more investment that supports growth, food security and nutrition. And we hope that we are at a turning point where it becomes clear that business plays an integral role in delivering economic and social progress.
In reality, we are already seeing a tremendous increase in investments in Africa. But it is not only an increase in investment, but also the emergence of new business models.
Novel partnerships that build on the synergies and complementarity of different actors are gaining ground. These partnerships combine public sector investment, philanthropy investments and commercial ventures. They build on differentiated skill sets, cost efficiencies, scale, and combine multiple sources of investments.
We are moving away from a model where partnership meant simply funding of one party by another. The new investment models allow partners to create a value proposition that individually they would not achieve.
We welcome the responsible agriculture investment principles and we believe they are well aligned with the direction in which businesses are going. We hope they provide a source of guidance for investors in Africa, and complement the efforts undertaken under CAADP to increase investments in agriculture.
Thank you Madame Chair.
Thank you very much Madame Chairperson, your excellencies,
My name is John Young Simpson, Head of Africa Investments for a Singapore-based asset manager, Duxton Asset Management, which has 23 direct investments in agribusiness and emerging markets globally.
Over the past three years Duxton has been working closely with the private sector and civil society mechanisms to ensure the RAI process remains as meaningful as possible a framework to promote transformative investment into agribusiness.
We only need to look at the situation for rice farmers in Tanzania over the past 18 months to understand the danger of miscommunication and complacency between stakeholders, including public ones. Lack of consultation and poor transparency within the rice supply-chain significantly impacting the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of farmers and further disincentivising greatly needed private sector investment which was until that time growing.
For this very reason we praise the multi-stakeholder consultation facilitated by the CFS working committee for RAI which has resulted in the creation of an effective document which is of use to in the private sector and we hope will facilitate further investment into agricultural production. We also call member governments to help replicate the spirit of such facilitation at their national levels which will help lead to the transformation of the agricultural industry for which we are all working towards in this room.
At the same time, we encourage CFS to consider the importance of farms of all sizes. The commercialization of medium sized farming operations is a tremendous opportunity for agriculture. These farmers and their transforming organizational structures promote the evolution of diverse business models and employment that many economies dependent on agriculture are failing to create in the urban setting. Further, private investment into this space has the resilience to afford innovation – a risk too high to expect smallholders to take. As global consumers becomes more adept to the safety and nutrition of what they eat, we believe the mid-sized farmer is best placed to develop the marketing and standards required to facilitate such demand – and they are undoubtedly the largest bridge between smallholders and consumers with their highly localized context. Medium sized farmers and their businesses are relevant to all.
In order to ensure the continued consultation and involvement of these medium-sized farmers in the RAI process, and to demonstrate our continued support of the formidable work of the Committee for Food Security Duxton will be one of the first private sector actors working with the World Bank and UNCTAD to apply and test the RAI principles in the field in Africa. Such involvement we believe will demonstrate how incorporation of these principles in a conscious, systematic and nuanced manner makes good business, development and investment sense.
China has announced a $50 million donation to FAO to support the Organization’s program of “South-South cooperation” to improve food security and promote sustainable agricultural development over the next five years.
Chinese Premiere Li Keqiang made the announcement today in a speech at FAO ahead of tomorrow’s World Food Day celebrations. It was his first visit to a UN agency since assuming office. Read the full release on the FAO website http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/260439/icode/