On May 5th, 2020 the Private Sector Mechanism had the opportunity to virtually meet with the Food Systems Summit Special Envoy Madame Agnes Kalibata. Five members of the Mechanism were able to make statements on potential action pathways.
Below you will see the address presented by Ms. Margaret Munene. Ms. Munene is part of the Global Dairy Platform and Managing Director of Palmhouse Dairy. She spoke on the Livelihoods and Supply Chain action pathway.
Madame Kalibata, it is a pleasure to speak to you and see an African woman in agriculture take on this leading role. As an SME working in rural Kenya, I know how difficult it is to build supply chains that support the livelihoods of farmers and our workers. These times have made it all the more difficult.
Without question, the pandemic has shown us how fragile supply chains can be in the food system. A disruption in one part, can hurt other parts. In the case of our small dairy, we source from 500 smallholder farmers and process milk and yoghurt, supplying many hotels here in Nairobi. Those markets are now damaged. And dairy is not alone, many parts of the food sector including meat, fruits, vegetables and seafood – all perishable high value products are being lost.
What this shows us is that the Food Systems Summit is very timely, and we hope you will consider focusing on how to strengthen supply chains.
This is so important because livelihoods are built from supply chains. I myself am a farmer and I have built my business by creating processing capacity. We are working now to help these women farmers to move from 1-3 cows to 5-10. You have seen it Madame – the change this makes in the quality of housing, the ability for children to go to school, the ability to diversify.
This is the path to tackle all the SDGs. It is all the more important as a UNDP study shows that 80% of the people living in multi-dimensional poverty live in rural areas. Rural infrastructure and investment gets far too little attention. The cause and impact is very big. However, because it often involves things that are seen as small – some seeds, some fertilizer, some animals, a dairy chiller, a mill - the world and diplomacy is apt to overlook it.
You have the power to change that.
We hope you with think about action pathways that foster Rural Resilience and put Farmers First. With more economic opportunity and connectivity to markets through functioning supply chains, we can empower women, attract youth to agriculture and improve the livelihoods of many of world’s most vulnerable.
The Food Systems Summit must help more countries grow their agricultural economies: just as you did in Rwanda, Madame Special Envoy. Be blessed and successful in your work. Thank you.