THE FUTURE OF AGRICULTURE
Achieving food and nutrition security today and for a world population that will number more than 9 billion and be 70% urbanized by 2050 is a key global challenge. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, current global trends in incomes, diets and population growth suggest that 60% more food will be needed in 2050.
The evidence points to this being achievable, but there are some increasingly urgent pressure points in the system that must be addressed, including depleting water tables, climate change, inadequate infrastructure and reductions in land availability, largely as a result of soil degradation. In the last 150 years, changes in this system have enabled us to feed a population that has grown from just over 1 billion in 1850 to 2.2 billion in 1940 and 7.2 billion in 2013. Food production soared during this period while the supply of edible food to the consumer underwent significant technological and distributional advances.
But there are still huge challenges, most notably the persistence of hunger and the scale of food that is wasted. Post-harvest losses and waste account for up to 50% of total calories available from farm to fork. Nonetheless, I am confident that the required solutions to address the food and nutrition security challenge can be found.
The sustainable development of agriculture has to be a central pillar in this endeavor. All actors in the food value chain, starting with farmers, must be involved.
For its part, the food industry can play a significant role. After all, the industry depends for its very existence on the reliable and sustainable provision of high-quality agricultural raw materials. While not directly involved in agriculture per se, the Nestlé approach is to seek to provide a robust framework for farmer livelihood and community development. In this respect, the importance of generating higher and more reliable incomes for farmers, notably smallholder farmers cannot be overemphasized. We need to ensure that farming remains attractive for the next generation and thus that it is a sustainable and profitable activity. We need likewise to ensure that the rural communities in which farmers live remain vibrant and provide the necessary opportunities for economic and social development. Investing in rural education and focusing on the creation of job opportunities for rural populations through, for example, a decentralized manufacturing strategy, are some key elements.
Working together to achieve food security
Finally, we must remember that there are several dimensions to food security. Producing the necessary quantity of food is just one; the quality of food, in terms of nutrition, matters greatly, as does affordability, access and safety, while sustainability must underlie all these. Governments must take the lead in creating the enabling environment within which farmers and other actors can deliver. They must ensure that all policy areas, including trade, education, finance and health, are involved and aligned. Market-based approaches must be prioritized as the only proven way to ensure long-term viability. The private sector must focus on bringing in investment and developing new technologies and other innovations, as well as delivering greater efficiencies where possible. And farmers must be front and centre of the picture.
A new vision for agriculture
The kind of multi stakeholder approach that is needed is exemplified in the World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture initiative. This is helping crystallize common goals and interests across all the actors in the agricultural space and driving the establishment of coherent and action-oriented partnerships and commitments that are already yielding results. In many ways, it is putting agriculture back on policy agendas as a priority issue. This is vital.
French Louis Dreyfus Group Shows Interest in Georgia’s Agriculture
One of the largest French companies Louis Dreyfus Group has expressed interest in the Georgian agriculture. Within the framework of the Davos World Economic Forum, the Prime Minister of Georgia met today with the company’s chairperson Margarita Louis-Dreyfus.
The parties agreed that in the near future the Louis Dreyfus Group will send a work group to Georgia, which will observe the situation on the ground.
The meeting focused on the business environment of Georgia. The Georgian side briefed the Louis Dreyfus Group of the Co-investment Fund. They also touched upon the liberal terms offered by the Georgian government to investors.
The Louis Dreyfus Group
The Louis Dreyfus Group has businesses in more than 100 countries worldwide, employs more than 22 000 people. In 2014, the company’s profit reached 640 million, while the company’s budget is 9 billion. They are present in 6 regions where we operate 13 different business lines. We call these business lines our platforms. Louis Dreyfus Commodities is a global merchandiser of commodities and processor of agricultural goods, operating a significant network of assets around the world.
Over the last decade Louis Dreyfus Commodities has significantly expanded and diversified as a business by broadening our portfolio and making investments in strategically located origination and logistic assets. As a result the company is now hold several leading positions in major commodities and have delivered substantial year-on-year growth for a number of years.