Dr. Director General,
Thank you for taking the time to meet with us today. We truly welcome this opportunity and hope this is the continuation of a fine tradition.
This year our delegation to CFS is broader than ever. We have 90 delegates attending from 30 countries. Our teams come from different parts of the food chain, from farmers to traders and manufacturers.
We believe our delegation’s strength and diversity reflects the positive evolution of our relationship to CFS and to FAO. For example, we deeply appreciate the opening of an office space for the PSM secretariat here.
It is very helpful for our team and is a welcome indicator of your commitment to long-term engagement with our sector. We were so pleased to have Marcela Villarreal join us for the ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday. Thank you for your kind remarks Marcela, and we too felt it was a significant moment.
In the past few months, we’ve also seen some important developments in terms of other areas of engagement. I would like to extend our gratitude to FAO generally, and to you personally, for your help in securing engagement for non-state actors at the International Conference on Nutrition in November. The opportunity to have 100 delegates and to have clear modalities with FAO for this event is a tremendously important development. We appreciate the efforts of Rodrigo Castaneda and Daniele Volpe to accommodate our enthusiastic delegation.
We have more than 70 delegates already registered for ICN2 and there are more wishing to participate every day. The private sector wants to send a strong signal about the importance of nutrition and the role we can all play to end hunger and malnutrition.
Similarly, we were able to host a side event on market access for pulses during the recent meeting of the Committee on Commodity Problems. It is the first time we do so and it was a valuable opportunity. We hope to be able to see further engagement around other FAO meetings as we go forward.
It has been a very positive few months, and I know how much our own meeting last year sent a signal to all of us that it is time for a new level of engagement here. In addition to participating, we in business are ready to act. We hope to work with you to develop partnerships that mobilize the power of business – not as donor – but as truly a partner in delivering solutions.
PSM remains pleased to discuss the opportunity to second someone to assist with partnerships processes with private sector who has experience working on public-private partnerships, if that would help to increase capacity at FAO. We have many businesses and associations here eager to partner with you.
To that end, we look forward to good news for the fertilizer sector shortly. Recognizing that the group is large, we have also organised ourselves by sector:
- grain trade
finance and investment
There is one person per group designated for remarks, though I assure you sir, if time allows many others would be pleased to speak.
As always, sir, it is an honour to be in your presence.
Statement by the Private Sector Mechanism On the Occasion of the CFS
Rome, Italy, October 15 2014 – The Private Sector Mechanism welcomes the conclusion of the negotiations and the endorsement of the voluntary Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems as part of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in Rome.
On behalf of the International Agri-Food Network (IAFN) and the private sector mechanism, Hakan Bahceci, Chair of IAFN, thanked the FAO, member states, civil society members and other relevant stakeholders, for their willingness to listen the private sector concerns, value their participation, and be open to their contributions. “The Private Sector is proud to have been part of this process, which will contribute to enhance food security and sustainable livelihoods,” noted Bahceci.
Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems is a set of principles to promote investments in agriculture. “An increasing number of private sector firms are already engaged in the improvement of corporate practices related to agricultural investments. It is a real benefit to have a set of principles endorsed by the UN which can give guidance,” said Bahceci.
Many companies have already started to review the principles in the context of existing reporting mechanisms and relevant laws and are willing to examine how the principles may work in practice, with a view to operationalizing them.
“These Principles will also guide not only private sector engagement, but also that of national governments, donors, and NGOs. Stakeholders need to work together collaboratively to attract resources to agriculture – a sector which has long been underfunded,” added Bahceci. “Investments should and do improve livelihoods, promote economic growth and eradicate poverty, foster social and gender equality, achieve sustainable development practices – all if there is a stable, corruption-free enabling environment provided by government.”
The Private Sector Mechanism wishes to congratulate all relevant stakeholders for their tireless efforts to complete these principles, with particularly recognition of the tireless work of the work group Chairperson Christina Blank of Switzerland. It is an important milestone to successfully achieve better food security and nutrition outcomes.
For more information please contact:
Secretariat to the International AgriFood Network
The Private Sector Mechanism fosters the input of the private sector into the UN Committee on Food Security. It is currently co-ordinated by the International Agri Food Network.
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.