Latin America can significantly boost food production to become a global “breadbasket” while driving sustainable and inclusive growth for the region, according to leaders meeting Friday at the World Economic Forum on Latin America.
Mauricio Macri, President of Argentina, noted that the region will play a key role in feeding a global population that will reach 9 billion by 2050. The region’s abundant natural resources – including 28% of the world’s arable land and one-third of its freshwater supplies – will help meet growing global demand. “Argentina is a leader in food production, and we are prepared to support Colombia’s agricultural development through technology transfer and other means,” he said.
Colombia is prioritizing agriculture as a key pillar of its post-conflict development strategy to provide sustainable livelihoods in rural areas, said Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia. “We will significantly invest in rural areas, with more roads, infrastructure and financial support for smallholder farmers in the post-conflict regions, with policies aimed to benefit all Colombians,” he said.
In working discussions at the event, four governments committed to develop and advance public-private partnerships in the agricultural sector linked to the World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture (NVA) initiative.
Mexico will advance progress of the VIDA partnership, which engages 40 companies with the government to increase sustainable production of four commodities, engaging thousands of smallholder farmers. The partnership works to support and empower producers through policy alignment, capacity building and financing, and is expected to mobilize over $100 million in private-sector investment in 2016.
Nicaragua announced the launch of the CultiVamos partnership, championed by government, business and academic institutions, with an initial focus on three commodities, plus improving irrigation and insurance, with a goal of benefiting smallholder farmers.
Colombia announced that it will join the New Vision for Agriculture initiative and strengthen private-sector engagement in the Colombia Siembra programme, which focuses on expanding production of 11 key commodities.
Argentina confirmed that public-private partnerships are a key tool for further boosting its productivity, and committed to work with private-sector partners to further develop this agenda.
The private sector is ready to expand its role as a partner for sustainable agricultural development, according to Svein Tore Holsether, President and Chief Executive Officer of Yara International. “We have committed significant investment in Latin America as well as other regions, in order to support countries in sustainably developing their agriculture sectors. Through the New Vision for Agriculture, all stakeholders can join this effort, and I look forward to seeing concrete progress when we meet again next year,” he said.
The World Economic Forum committed to join the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to support this agenda. “We look forward to supporting Latin American and global partners in working together to expand public-private partnership for sustainable and inclusive agricultural development,” said Lisa Dreier, Head of Food Security and Agriculture Initiatives at the World Economic Forum.