Going to Scale with ‘inclusive’ agri-food markets
On 11-13 April 2012, 100 leading players from business and development organizations from around the globe gathered in Scheveningen, the Netherlands. What brought them together was the desire to understand how to scale up initiatives in the agri-food sector that build commercial relations while ensuring all involved benefit.
Local business leaders from Africa, Asia and Latin America joined representatives of global companies such as Olam, Unilever, Nestlé and Ecom Agroindustrial Corp., senior staff from UN organisations including IFAD, IFC and FAO and a diverse group of NGOs, financial organisations and researchers. This mix was critical to the very dynamic discussions and presentations that were held throughout the three days. Participants walked away with strong alignment of focus, new ideas and new opportunities for collaboration around nine essential topics identified.
As Jim Woodhill, Director of the Centre for Development Innovation at Wageningen UR, framed the workshop, the key issue is clear: the world’s 500 million plus small-scale farmers are critical to feeding 9 billion people by 2050. They can only do so if they are included in agri-food markets in a commercially viable way that gives them serious prospects for raising their standard of living. How, then, to include these millions, and do so fast? Jim also reminded all that creating a strong agriculture sector is a powerful motor for economic growth and tackling poverty among the rapidly growing population at the base of the economic pyramid.