29 April, 2014: The Private Sector Mechanism (PSM) has engaged in a day of discussions on Responsible Agricultural Investment with FAO member countries and stakeholders in Rome. The meeting, hosted by the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS), was a chance to exchange views on the first draft of the Principles on Responsible Agricultural Investment. Final negotiations will take place on the document from 19-24 May 2014, when the PSM will continue its calls for a clear and workable set of principles that acknowledge the value of investment into agriculture. The text of the private sector statements at the Rome meeting can be read pdf here (118 KB) .
The Private Sector Mechanism operates under modalities available at www.agrifood.net. The PSM holds an annual meeting and has an election process in place on a two year cycle. We happily accept registrations to engage at the CFS and operate a committee system to allow private sector actors to participate in areas of the greatest relevance to them.
The PSM supports a diversity of actors at CFS. The PSM believes in the principle of self-organising and we emphasise the importance of encouraging all Advisory Group representatives to have modalities to enable larger participation in a transparent manner.
The PSM calls for parity of seats with the CSM, given the breadth of the private sector actors involved at CFS. The private sector also encourages the inclusion of two farmer seats on the Advisory Group to recognize the unique role of farmers in food security discussions. Any change in seats on the Advisory Group should be inclusive though not unmanageable.
In PSM engagement at the Advisory Group we advocate for:
- The relevance and utility of CFS
- CFS to handle issues which are important, non-duplicative, and likely to result in action
- Increased utility of CFS outcomes including fostering the convening power of CFS to engage actors with the capacity to act
- To maintain a time-controlled environment so that CFS can be an efficient and relevant decision maker
- To ensure CFS uses precious resources of time and funds in the most cost-effective, focused manner possible
As part of an effort to build sustainable businesses in Africa and fight poverty, the Soros Economic Development Fund has announced a US$5 million investment in GADCO, a Ghanaian agriculture company.
GADCO was a featured presenter during the first IAFN side event on responsible agricultural investment in 2011. Their model clusters small producers around a medium-sized farm that boasts processing and transport capacity. The aim is to boost rice production while improving the livelihoods of thousands of subsistence farmers.
SEDF’s commitment to GADCO will help smallholder farmers produce and sell rice on a large, commercial scale. The investment aims to reduce Ghana’s dependence on imported rice and consequent obligation to pay world market prices, by increasing and stabilizing rice production within the country.
Stewart Paperin, president of the Soros Economic Development Fund says that “Ghana has the potential to be an agribusiness leader on the continent”.
The International Pulse Trade and Industries Confederation, CICILS, has set aside $1.1 million in a CICILS account to fund activities that will form contributions to the United Nations International Year of Pulses 2016. The Year will be a key opportunity to promote the benefits of pulses to food security; health & nutrition; rural livelihoods and environmental sustainability.
In addition to this funding, CICILS is working to raise further funds and in-kind contributions to make the year a success, for example through the FAO trust fund by member states. Activities are already underway with national promotional groups worldwide, from China, to the UK, to Brazil and North America. The UN, the pulse sector, scientists, civil society and others are encouraged to give support for progressive goals for the year and innovative partnerships to implement them.
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