Leaders Call for Action to Make Latin America ‘Breadbasket of the World’

07 Apr 2017

Alem Tedeneke, Media Manager, World Economic Forum; Tel.: +1 646 204 9191, Email: ated@weforum.org

· Six South American ministers of agriculture recognized the need for public-private collaboration to improve sustainable agricultural production and trade to meet growing global food demand

· Leaders of industry, government, international agencies, farmers associations and civil society committed to collaborate to sustainably improve agricultural production and farmer livelihoods in Latin America

· The World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture initiative is supporting national public-private partnerships in Mexico, Nicaragua and Colombia

· For more information on the meeting: www.wef.ch/wef17

Buenos Aires, Argentina, 7 April 2017 – Latin America will play an increasingly central role in feeding the world, but must take actions now, according to leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum on Latin America.

Six South American ministers of agriculture – from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile and Bolivia – issued a joint ministerial declaration recognizing the strategic value of the World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture initiative as a platform to build public-private collaboration to achieve food security, environmental sustainability and economic opportunity through agriculture. The Consejo Agropecuario del Sur (CAS), whose objective is to articulate agricultural public policies in the region, held its XXXIII Ordinary Meeting on 4-5 April in Buenos Aires and issued the ministerial declaration affirming the importance of public-private collaboration in advancing progress on key priorities such as food safety, sustainable agriculture and smallholder farming.

The region currently produces 11% of total world food, half of which comes from smallholder farmers. Latin America is home to one-quarter of the world’s arable land and one-third of global freshwater resources; it therefore holds great potential for increased production. “Latin America will play a major role in meeting the growing global demand for food, if we make the necessary investments to enable increased productivity,” said Ricardo Buryaile, Minister of Agroindustry of Argentina.

If the region wants to increase food security while building resilience to climate change, it will need to invest in new technologies and ensure robust trade policies. “Brazil became a major agriculture-exporting country through strategic investments in science and innovation, and by engaging farmers as stewards of the land,” said Blairo Maggi, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply of Brazil. He noted that the private sector plays a key role in building productivity and competitiveness.

Partnering with farmers is essential to realizing the region’s potential, noted Laxman Narasimhan, Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo Latin America. “Industry can bring the investment, technology and innovative business models to the table, but we rely on strong partnerships with farmers, communities and governments to make our business work,” he said.

Over 80 leaders from government, business, civil society and farmers associations gathered to develop and strengthen partnerships for sustainable agricultural development as part of the Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture initiative. The initiative has worked with three countries in the region to establish national public-private partnerships in the sector, including:

In Mexico, the VIDA partnership engages 19 Mexican and global companies in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture to develop sustainable livelihoods for small and medium-size farmers of eight commodities. The partnership has mobilized over $100 million in investment, reaching over 12,000 farmers to date.In Nicaragua, the CultiVamos partnership has engaged 10 organizations with the Ministry of Agriculture to develop four commodity value chains and address key issues (such as irrigation and finance) to benefit smallholder farmers.In Colombia, stakeholders have committed to a national public-private partnership focused on mobilizing investment towards four commodity value chains, in alignment with national plans for post-conflict development and agriculture-sector growth.

Global and regional institutions will play a key role in supporting public-private collaboration in the sector. “Latin America has an enormous opportunity to help achieve global food security through a more sustainable food system,” said Sarita Nayyar, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum. “The Forum looks forward to using its global platform to support these important efforts in Latin America.”

More than 1,000 participants are taking part in the 12th World Economic Forum on Latin America in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 5 to 7 April 2017. The theme of the meeting is “Fostering Development and Entrepreneurship in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

The Co-Chairs of the World Economic on Latin America are: Asheesh Advani, President and Chief Executive Officer, JA Worldwide, USA; Hans-Paul Bürkner, Chairman, The Boston Consulting Group, USA; Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Germany; Alejandro P. Bulgheroni, Chairman Bridas Corporation, Argentina; Marcos Bulgheroni, Executive Director, Pan American Energy LLC, Argentina; and Eduardo S. Elsztain, Chairman, IRSA Inversiones y Representaciones, Argentina.

Notes to Editors

Follow the World Economic Forum on Latin America at www.wef.ch/la17

CAS Ministerial Declaration on the New Vision for Agriculture: CAS Declaration III

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All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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