FAO calls for inclusive business models in agriculture

FAO calls for inclusive business models in agriculture
November 08 15:30 2018

By Judith Kajuma

The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in conjunction with the Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies (SMAIAS) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development  {IISD), is running a two day International Symposium on Contract Farming and other Business  Models that aims to promote policy dialogue and knowledge generation.

The conference which is organised within the framework of the FAO Umbrella Programme Supporting Responsible Investments in Agriculture and Food Systems seeks to gather evidence and debate on contract farming schemes and inclusive business models in the Global South while addressing the major issues of unequal power relations, conflicts between the contracting firms and farmers and the implications of contract farming on food security and livelihoods of the farmers.

In his opening remarks Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa, FAO, Dr. Patrick Kormawa said that not all investments are equally beneficial and some carry significant risks for all actors involved..

“In order to generate sustainable benefits for all, it is essential to ensure not only more but above all, better investments in agriculture and food systems. The latest figures indicate that 821 million people were under nourished in 2017. This was the third consecutive year in which hunger increased in the world after more than a decade of decline. The urgent need to address hunger and extreme poverty is recognized in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

He further mentioned that the majority of the world’s poor and food insecure live in rural areas of developing countries, hence agriculture and rural development are key to the achievement of the SDGs.

“Unfortunately, the agricultural sector suffers from serious under investment, hence, neither a world free of hunger nor one free of poverty can be achieved by 2030 without a substantial increase in public and private investments in agriculture and food systems, at the same time, not all kinds of investments are equally beneficial. Some investments carry significant risks for all actors involved.

“In order to generate sustainable benefits for all, it is essential to ensure not only more but above all, better investments in agriculture and food systems,” Dr. Kormawa said.

He added that in 2014, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) adopted the Principles for Responsible Investments in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS-RAI) in order to provide guidance to all types of agricultural investment including fisheries, forests and livestock. The CFS-RAI has ten principles that cover a wide range of areas such as food security, poverty eradication, gender, youth, tenure and sustainable management of natural resources.

Dr Kormawa said, the CFS-RAI recognizes smallholders as major investors in the agricultural sector, in particular taking into account those families that invest their own capital and labour in their agricultural activity. He said public investments that match investments by smallholders are important for fighting poverty and hunger.

“The CFS-RAI underlines that public investments should enable, support and complement investments by smallholders, through improved access to inputs, markets, advisory and financial services including insurance, education, extension, training, and infrastructure,” he said

In his welcome remarks the chairperson of SMAIAS, Mr Joshua Moyo said the Symposium is an important platform where different stakeholders engaged in contract farming, particularly farmers and the private sector, can learn from each other’s experiences.

 

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