IFAD and Unilever signed the first cooperation pact to promote sustainable sources of supply and improve food security. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and leading global consumer goods company, Unilever, have signed a public-private partnership agreement to help improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers around the world.
A five-year global agreement – the first of its kind between IFAD and the private sector – was signed by IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze and Unilever CEO Paul Polman to help improve food safety through: increasing agricultural productivity, connecting farmers to markets, reducing risk and vulnerability, improving non-agricultural rural employment and transforming agriculture to make it more sustainable.
Exploratory analyzes have already begun to look for ways to leverage IFAD’s knowledge and experience in working with small farmers and rural enterprises, as well as Unilever’s ability to integrate farmers into markets and its experience in sustainable agriculture. These analyzes included a joint mission to assess an IFAD-supported project in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, western India, focusing on spices and onions.
About 1.2 billion people live in poverty, 76% of whom live in rural areas, and 200 million are unemployed. This will be exacerbated by an ever-increasing population that requires more food. The world will need to feed 9 billion people by 2050. A 70% increase in global agricultural production will be essential to feed them, as by 2050 we will need to produce as much food as we have produced in the last 10,000 years. If we do not achieve higher yields of crops, small and large, many people will remain hungry and trapped in poverty.
Investments in agriculture, according to the World Bank, are two to four times more effective in increasing the incomes of the poorest than increases in other sectors. Paul Polman said: “Now more than ever, the world needs to increase investment in agriculture, and that investment needs to come from both the public and private sectors to achieve truly scalable change.”
“Both small and large-scale agriculture are necessary for increasing productivity and sufficient production food feed the world’s poor. To move from subsistence farming to commercial farming, the 1.5 billion people who depend on smallholder agriculture need access to the knowledge, assets, credit, markets and risk management that can come from larger-scale commercial enterprises.
In November 2010, Unilever launched its Sustainable Living Plan, committing to a ten-year journey to sustainable growth, with the aim of helping more than 1 billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by sourcing all of their agricultural raw materials sustainably. by 2020 and separate its growth from environmental impact. In order to support these three main goals, seven pillars have been defined, three of which are aimed at improving living conditions, sustainable supply and nutrition.
Source: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). ILO report on global employment trends for 2013