IAFN Updates

John Young Simpson
John Young Simpson of Duxton Asset Management, PSM Member

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.

Chinese Premiere and FAO Director General
Chinese Premiere Li Keqiang (l) and FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva (r).

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/

Private Sector Delegates

L to R: Katy Lee, IAFN; Ann Steensland, Global Harvest Initiative; Nico van Belzen, International Dairy Federation; and Helen Medina, USCIB.

October 3, 2014 – As the Plenary session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) draws nearer, a cross-section of industry representatives are preparing to be present in Rome on Monday 13 October for the Round Table policy debates to emphasise the following points on food losses and waste:

  • Reducing food losses and waste is a core to how businesses function, as it offers an important way to maximize efficiency and returns.
  • The private sector is already actively addressing the issue of food losses and waste in its own operations, through supply chains, and by providing services and products to help others reduce waste and losses.
  • The private sector’s efforts need to be supported by sound policies as well as public investments in key areas, such as infrastructure, to be able to grow in scale and maximize impact and minimizing post-harvest losses.
  • Discussions to date have placed great emphasis on loss and waste at the retail stage. However it is important to tackle the issue through the supply chain and to recognise the need to address the roles of other actors, such as consumers, in reducing loss and waste.

23 September, 2014 – Private sector actors from farmers, to traders, to food companies and input providers, are self-organising their input into the 2nd International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) – an inter-governmental meeting on nutrition organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) from 19-21 November 2014.

The process has now been formalized by the co-organizers at FAO and WHO. The participation of the Private Sector shall be coordinated through the Private Sector Steering Committee (PSSC). The PSSC is comprised of the Private Sector Mechanism (PSM), the Sun Business Network (SBN) and the International Dairy Federation (IDF) on behalf of the livestock sector. The PSSC is tasked to arrange the engagement of the private sector in the ICN2 process and be the main interlocutor of the two agencies in arranging the engagement of the private sector in the ICN2 process. Private sector engagement will be self-organised, and develop mechanisms to call for open and transparent participation of private sector of all sizes and from all regions.

One hundred Private Sector representatives will be invited to the event on 19th-21st November at the FAO headquarters in Rome. On the 18th of November there will be a chance for Private Sector participants to present their thoughts on ICN2 to the Director-General of FAO, Mr. Graziano da Silva. Nominations for Private Sector participation can be made though the IAFN website here.

This week, private sector actors are in Geneva for the negotiations on the final ICN2 texts. To read an update from the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) click here.

8 August, 2014 – In Rome, private sector representatives have expressed extreme dismay with the lack of recognition of the role of farmers in new Principles on Responsible Agricultural Investment. The Principles, to be endorsed by the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in October, fail to recognise that farmers – in all their sizes – are a vital part of our agricultural system.

The document as currently worded suggests that being a farmer is not a valid self-identity – having to pick whether they are “smallholders” or “business”. It disrespects their established role around other UN processes and most of all it ignores their primary role in producing the world’s food. Private sector representatives have spoken on the Plenary floor, stating that this is a sad message to take back to farmer organisations around the world.

4 August, 2014: – Agri-businesses, United Nations countries and civil society organisations are in Rome this week to negotiate new Principles on “Responsible Agricultural Investment”, which will be endorsed the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in October 2014.

The private sector has had a seat at every stage of the two-year negotiation process through the International Agri-Food Network (IAFN) and has made the case that the Principles, being voluntary, must have a positive focus if businesses and states are to commit to them.

20 June, 2014: – A broad and diverse delegation of private sector representatives have participated in the global debate on nutrition with UN countries in Rome. The IAFN, the SUN Business Network and others were present for the meeting, which took place in the run-up to the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) in November 2014.

The IAFN told the international audience it hopes ICN2 “will be a game-changing, meaningful conference that will make a real difference for millions of nutrition insecure people around the world”. José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), welcomed the participation of both the private sector and civil society, highlighting that “the participation of non-state actors is critical for the success of any development process”.

The rest of the private sector intervention can be read pdf here (154 KB)

A write up from the Global Harvest Initiative can be read here

9 May, 2014: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was in Rome yesterday for a dialogue with the Committee on World Food Security, highlighting that “multistakeholder partnerships bring benefits to those who are at risk of food insecurity”.

Barrie Bain of Fertecon spoke out on behalf of the Private Sector Mechanism, stating “working together as governments, private sector and civil society is the only way to defeat hunger, poverty and malnutrition”. His intervention in Plenary can be watched at the following link: Webcasting From FAO.

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) .

"Training young people in farming and processing is a waste of money if there is no road to get them to market - or… https://t.co/fjQmuWMoql
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