3. Increase food systems resilience through market innovation.
Food security cannot be achieved without corporate sector investment. The private sector has the power to increase the sustainability and equity of global food systems by investing in and promoting smallholder farmer access to finance and markets, sustainable supply chains, soil health, agriculture run-off prevention, erosion prevention, and efficient water use. It is also in a unique position to respond to the call for nutrient-rich and drought-resistant crops, and to aggregate producers and processors through cooperative structures.
Promote private sector leadership on food security and create a roadmap for private sector investment.
The private sector has the power to increase the sustainability and equity of global food systems by investing in and promoting smallholder farmer access to finance and markets, sustainable supply chains, soil health, agriculture run-off prevention, erosion prevention, and efficient water use. It is also in a unique position to respond to the call for nutrient-rich and drought-resistant crops, particularly in Africa, and to aggregate producers and processers through cooperative structures.
The private sector would benefit from a constructive and practical guidance document that would illuminate opportunities for regional and international private sector investment in food markets, variations across government institutions regionally that enable investment, and case studies of companies that have navigated challenging policy environments or limited infrastructure to successfully develop new food markets that provide financial and physical access and agriculture inputs to smallholder farmers.
Support agricultural lentreprensurship as a model for economic success.
Food security and economic security (e.g. job security) go hand in hand. In developing countries, agriculture already supports or employs the majority of the population; however, achieving global food security requires the creation and growth of enterprises—large and small—across the entire value chain. Africa in particular is ripe for entrepreneurial activity in the food sector, given its youthful population and large swaths of uncultivated arable land.
The World Bank estimates that Africa’s food market could reach $1 trillion by 2030, with significant opportunity for entrepreneurs to create wealth and jobs by forming companies that improve and expand the provision of inputs to farmers, build modern processing facilities, and provide logistics, distribution, and consulting services. Policymakers should tailor training, mentoring, research and financing programs to lower the risks and barriers that impede entrepreneurial initiatives in the food production space.
Enable public-private partnership through policy frameworks and clearly defined roles.
Public-private partnerships targeting various parts of the food system and value chain are slowly creating a new paradigm of cross-sector engagement, requiring deeper understanding and alignment between the sectors.
Going forward, the global food security community should shift its partnership focus to addressing how ongoing points of tension between the public and private sector can be better addressed, to further the effectiveness of existing and new partnerships. National governments should also be encouraged to support partnership development by creating a level playing field for investment, developing transparent rules and regulations, funding public goods that catalyze innovation and allowing scalable partnerships that catalyze innovation.
Photo credit: flickr@NH53