Connecting small-scale food producers with larger agrifood companies can go a long way to ensure global food security. In a statement released recently by Alvaro Lario, president of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and Tetsuro Nomura, minister of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries of Japan (MAFF), the two leaders announced the launch of the enhanced linkages between private sector and small-scale producers initiative (ELPS) which was presented at the G7 Agricultural Meeting in Miyazaki.
The agreement between IFAD and MAFF of Japan promises to strengthen their strategic partnership with the aim to make small-scale producers and local food systems around the world more resilient and sustainable together with the enhanced engagement of private sector companies. ELPS investments to be aimed towards improving agricultural productivity, raising incomes, and enhancing the livelihoods of small-scale producers in developing countries. The MAFF will support IFAD with approximately US$2 million for the implementation of the initiative as part of this partnership, said a press release.
Living on the front lines of climate change, small-scale food producers, including farmers, fisher folks, herders, and food processors, are being hit the hardest by the current combination of crises, especially the climate and cost-of-living crises. Unpredictable weather events, drought, and floods hamper production. Many cannot absorb price hikes because they already spend more than half of their income to put food on the table. Yet small-scale farmers are the cornerstone of global food security, producing one-third of the world’s food.
According to a press release, the joint statement recognizes the essential role that the private sector has in eradicating world hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. By working with small-scale food producers, private sector partners such as food companies can contribute to sustainable agriculture and resilient food systems. Mutually beneficial cooperation will help increase agricultural production, boosting profits for both partners as well as strengthening global food security.
Minister Nomura said, “This initiative will facilitate the initial stages of collaboration between the private sector and small-scale farmers in developing countries. It will work with local farmers and their organizations that are deemed to merit from the private sector’s expertise in enhancing their productivity and sustainability, and in turn, provide the private sector with opportunities to engage in local farming communities to enhance the sustainability of their value chains.”
“IFAD is honored to implement this flagship initiative to boost public-private-producer rural investments, with the leadership of Japan under the G7 Presidency. With IFAD’s unique capacity, we can further strengthen the capacity of small-scale food producers in developing countries to access new markets” said the President of IFAD. “Small-scale producers can greatly benefit from the expertise, knowledge, and technologies from the private sector to increase production and incomes while contributing to global food security.”