A delegation of fertilizer industry leaders from across the globe was present in New York during the week of the 23rd to 27th March for the latest session of negotiations surrounding the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. These goals are meant to follow on from the Millennium Development goals, which are to be realized in 2015, and will play a large role in setting the agenda for worldwide development policies in the near future.
It is with this in mind that the delegation of the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) conducted bilateral meetings with representatives from over a dozen United Nations bodies and national delegations. These proved to be an excellent opportunity for a frank exchange of views concerning the central importance of agriculture for sustainable development, and the role that private sector actors can play in alleviating poverty and achieving food security. The IFA delegates were able to have honest and rewarding conversations with those at the heart of the negotiations, and to establish and strengthen relationships that will be useful for a wide range of activities.
Hopefully, these efforts will prove to be a solid link in the chain pulling the world towards a more food secure future. This future cannot be forged by government actors alone, and it is vital that the private sector be able to engage with them in order to achieve sustainable agricultural intensification to meet the planet’s growing food and nutrition needs.
According to the WFP, “There are 805 million hungry people in the world and 98 percent of them are in developing countries.” According to the World Food Program, hunger kills more people each year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
These sad facts are even sadder when we consider that an estimated one-quarter of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted each year. Halving that would save enough to feed the whole population that lives in hunger.
Food loss and waste occurs both in developed and developing countries. In the developed it tends to happen more at the end of the food chain — on the store shelf and in the kitchen. In developing countries food losses are mostly at production, post-harvest and processing stages. This is largely due to the lack of infrastructure — from accessible roads to poor storage facilities.
The Copenhagen Consensus Center has taken on the task of examining the costs and benefits of reducing post-harvest losses and their findings can be found in the report Benefits and Costs of the Food and Security Nutrition Targets for the Post 2015 Development Agenda. What really struck me were the figures on research and development.
The paper studied different scenarios to show that investment in infrastructure contributes to lower food prices, improved food security and has positive economic rates of return. Such improvements are estimated to cost $240 billion over the next 15 years, but will reduce the number of hungry people by 57 million, avoid the malnourishment of four million children and generate $13 of benefits per dollar spent. Although this would be a significant step towards the achievement of the sustainable development goals, there may be a better way. Read More
Emerging Ag is adding new talent to serve our clients in light of growing demand for our specialised services in issues management. I am delighted to inform you that Morgane Danielou will be joining Emerging Ag as Vice-President – Operations in May. Morgane has been with the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) where she was Director of Communications and Public Affairs. In this role, we have worked closely with her for the past 6 years in the founding of the Farming First coalition as well as the establishment of the Private Sector Mechanism at the UN Committee on World Food Security.
Morgane has a strong background in international development and communications in relation to the agrifood sector. She brings 15 years of experience at the service of international organizations (World Bank, CGIAR), NGOs, and the private sector. She has been a spokesperson for specific industries as well as business groups in international policy processes. She was also vice-chair of the Food and Agriculture Committee of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the OECD for the past 3 years.
Morgane’s addition to our team will further position Emerging Ag as a leader in helping our clients tell their stories effectively, be visible in international processes, build strategic partnerships with global stakeholders and develop strong reputations and thriving businesses.
Morgane’s bio is available here.
On February 23rd and 24th, Emerging Ag assisted POGA with an outreach trip to Ottawa to follow up with their Canada Transportation Act Review submission. In our efforts to draw attention to the transportation issues faced by Oat farmers across Canada, we met with MPs from all three major parties, including Bev Shipley, Malcolm Allen, David McGuinty and Gerald Keddy. These meetings were both an excellent opportunity to discuss our concerns with parliamentarians deeply involved in the grain transportation situation, but also to establish relationships that POGA can utilize going forward.
We also met with many people within Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and had the opportunity to have dinner with representatives from both CN and CP, where we had a productive and honest conversation. We hope that the meetings become the stepping stone for POGA’s continued part of the larger transportation conversation, and that the relationships formed during the trip will serve POGA well in future.
The intrepid and dedicated Paddy Docherty has been building a rice business called Lion Mountains Agrico Ltd. in Sierra Leone, Africa, that aims to turn the country into an agricultural powerhouse. Building a business in a developing country is always a tough job, but it gets even more complicated when there is a health crisis the magnitude of the Ebola outbreak. Here’s an audio interview with Paddy on BBC World Service about the successes they are having.