Guest post, from Jim Borel, DuPont executive vice president
At the start of every year, business, government and civil leaders from around the globe convene in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum meeting. It is a great time to take the pulse on key issues and trends and to plan for the future.
It was heartening to see that food and agriculture took a prominent place throughout much of the 2015 proceedings – a clear acknowledgment that food security stands as a top priority as we march toward the middle of this century.
Partnerships and Collaborations are Working
The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) New Vision for Agriculture initiative has provided a unique global platform to build alignment and collaboration among all stakeholders. Initiated in 2009, it now engages over 350 organizations from the private sector, government, international organizations, civil society, research and academia, and farmers’ associations.
The initiative has catalyzed a series of unique, high-impact partnerships – including Grow Africa, Grow Asia, and emerging initiatives in India and Mexico – that are driving action to achieve food security and sustainable agricultural growth in 16 countries. These partnerships have helped mobilize over $10 billion in investment commitments, of which over $1.2 billion has been implemented to date, benefiting more than 3.6 million farmers.
These achievements demonstrate how the global community can support countries in reaching their national goals for sustainable agricultural growth, while contributing to both global food security and the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals.
DuPont is one of 32 global, private-sector companies that champion the New Vision for Agriculture. We are pleased to see the partnership continue to inspire action and collaboration – such as our work with the government of Ethiopia and USAID to help improve maize productivity and storage. For us, working toward common goals with other stakeholders makes business sense while also contributing to societal needs. One of our initial goals with this partnership was to improve the livelihood of 35,000 smallholder farmers. Our outcomes have been so successful that we are now working on plans to expand to 100,000 farmers in Ethiopia. And, in partnership with USAID, we are expanding to other Africa countries with a model that appears both scalable and replicable.
New Goals are being Established
The Millennium Development Goals, established around the beginning of this century, have allowed us to make great progress in reducing poverty and hunger. The next round of goals, the Sustainable Development Goals, will take us to the next level as we strive to increase food productivity and nutritional value of food in a way that addresses environmental threats such as climate, water and land use. We are confident that meaningful progress against this next round of goals will make a significant contribution to ensuring food and nutrition security.
Challenges Remain, but Optimism Continues
For all of our collective progress, significant challenges remain – the growing population, the flight to urban centers, severe weather patterns. Despite these challenges, I am optimistic about our future. Technology and innovation will help guide us to solutions we may never have even dreamed of. Collective will, focus and partnership will bring the best thinking and execution needed to deliver a food-and-nutrition-secure future for our children and grandchildren.