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9 May, 2014: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was in Rome yesterday for a dialogue with the Committee on World Food Security, highlighting that “multistakeholder partnerships bring benefits to those who are at risk of food insecurity”.

Barrie Bain of Fertecon spoke out on behalf of the Private Sector Mechanism, stating “working together as governments, private sector and civil society is the only way to defeat hunger, poverty and malnutrition”. His intervention in Plenary can be watched at the following link: Webcasting From FAO.

29 April, 2014: The Private Sector Mechanism (PSM) has engaged in a day of discussions on Responsible Agricultural Investment with FAO member countries and stakeholders in Rome. The meeting, hosted by the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS), was a chance to exchange views on the first draft of the Principles on Responsible Agricultural Investment. Final negotiations will take place on the document from 19-24 May 2014, when the PSM will continue its calls for a clear and workable set of principles that acknowledge the value of investment into agriculture. The text of the private sector statements at the Rome meeting can be read pdf here (118 KB) .

The Private Sector Mechanism operates under modalities available at www.agrifood.net. The PSM holds an annual meeting and has an election process in place on a two year cycle. We happily accept registrations to engage at the CFS and operate a committee system to allow private sector actors to participate in areas of the greatest relevance to them.

The PSM supports a diversity of actors at CFS. The PSM believes in the principle of self-organising and we emphasise the importance of encouraging all Advisory Group representatives to have modalities to enable larger participation in a transparent manner.

The PSM calls for parity of seats with the CSM, given the breadth of the private sector actors involved at CFS. The private sector also encourages the inclusion of two farmer seats on the Advisory Group to recognize the unique role of farmers in food security discussions. Any change in seats on the Advisory Group should be inclusive though not unmanageable.

In PSM engagement at the Advisory Group we advocate for:

  • The relevance and utility of CFS
  • CFS to handle issues which are important, non-duplicative, and likely to result in action
  • Increased utility of CFS outcomes including fostering the convening power of CFS to engage actors with the capacity to act
  • To maintain a time-controlled environment so that CFS can be an efficient and relevant decision maker
  • To ensure CFS uses precious resources of time and funds in the most cost-effective, focused manner possible

As part of an effort to build sustainable businesses in Africa and fight poverty, the Soros Economic Development Fund has announced a US$5 million investment in GADCO, a Ghanaian agriculture company.

GADCO was a featured presenter during the first IAFN side event on responsible agricultural investment in 2011. Their model clusters small producers around a medium-sized farm that boasts processing and transport capacity. The aim is to boost rice production while improving the livelihoods of thousands of subsistence farmers.

SEDF’s commitment to GADCO will help smallholder farmers produce and sell rice on a large, commercial scale. The investment aims to reduce Ghana’s dependence on imported rice and consequent obligation to pay world market prices, by increasing and stabilizing rice production within the country.

Stewart Paperin, president of the Soros Economic Development Fund says that “Ghana has the potential to be an agribusiness leader on the continent”.

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