The 21st century has a massive challenge in store: how can the world feed an expected 9 billion people by 2050? And how can we do this given the far-reaching impact of climate change and a growing competition for the use of natural resources? This challenge is compounded by the knowledge that we will most likely fail to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people living in extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. Therefore, an urgent and comprehensive transition of the world economy is needed towards a sustainable, inclusive and resource efficient path.
Agri-ProFocus has committed itself to contribute to the so-called Triple Win Agenda, which is also referred to as ‘climate smart agriculture’. Triple Win interventions are meant to advance agricultural productivity, make farms a solution to the climate change problem rather than a part of it, and improve the food security and livelihoods of rural populations that today live in poverty. From a farmer’s viewpoint the Triple Win Agenda requires entrepreneurship, political representation and appropriate legal institutions and tax regulations.
The Agriculture, Food security and Climate Change platform was launched in 2010. This launch was connected to the ‘It’s down 2 Earth – Global Conference on Agriculture, Food security and Climate Change’, which was held in The Hague in November 2010. The Dutch government invited Agri-ProFocus to participate in this conference and to represent the perspective of farmers and their organisations.
Agri-ProFocus’ Sustainable Food Production activities will start along three tracks:
- Livestock and development. Livestock takes up a central place in expert discussions about climate change and food security. Rearing livestock can cause land degradation and cattle and in particular are responsible for a large part of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, livestock can also be part of the solution to both climate change and food security. APF members are committed, contributing to the policy dialogue about this issue, through the Global Agenda of Action for Responsible Livestock Development and for pastoralism issues specifically through CELEP. AFP professionals will strengthen their coordination at field level, and focus on extending mutual learning to students and alumni from all participating knowledge institutions.
- Strengthening the seed sector in Africa. There is a great need for upscaling effective examples of collaboration between smallholders, service organisations and companies. Key aspects of this are the development and adoption of new seed varieties (adaptation) and strategic knowledge generation and provision (enabling environment). Promising examples are the project in Zimbabwe led by SNV and HIVOS; the project in Tanzania led by Rijk Zwaan and Afrisem; and the Local Seed Business Programme led by Wageningen University in Ethiopia.
- Local sourcing from smallholders targeting domestic markets in Africa. In response to the increased domestic demand for food in African countries and moreover in an effort to ‘green’ their supply chains, companies are increasingly interested in the small-scale producers at the beginning of the value chain. This may lead to increased investment in small-scale agriculture (which is in line with the Triple Win Agenda) and more direct market linkages. Both developments are potentially good news for farmers in poorer countries. With their higher cash earnings, they can free up more money to invest in their farms as businesses, which eventually will increase local food security. Information about Agri-ProFocus’ member activities in this area can be found on www.local-sourcing.com