Canada is committed to helping increase global food security and nutrition. To this end, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, today outlined Canada’s support of $6 million over three years to the World Economic Forum (WEF)-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Grow Asia partnership, as well as WEF’s broader Global Challenge on Food Security and Agriculture, of which Canada is a founding partner.
Global Challenge on Food Security and Agriculture
WEF’s Global Challenge aims to strengthen global leadership and create public-private partnerships to support sustainable agriculture development and food security. It will serve as a unique global platform for engaging and catalyzing multi-stakeholder leadership commitment and partnership action. With a global network of leaders from all regions and stakeholder sectors, it will serve as a hub for ideas, collaboration and commitment to support national, regional and global goals for food security and sustainable agriculture.
The Global Challenge on Food Security and Agriculture will focus on three areas: advancing global leadership engagement and commitment; supporting country transformations, through partnerships such as Grow Asia; and promoting innovation and best practices. Through its leadership and expertise in the sector, Canada will play a leading role in the Global Challenge, helping to strengthen global leadership and partnerships in the agriculture sector.
Grow Asia Partnership
Grow Asia is a regional multi-stakeholder initiative being created by WEF in partnership with the ASEAN Secretariat. Grow Asia serves as a platform to facilitate public-private partnerships and increase investment in improving food security and agricultural development in the ASEAN region. It is part of WEF’s Global Challenge on Food Security and Agriculture initiative, which has mobilized multi-stakeholder partnerships in 16 countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa.
The Government of Canada’s support to Grow Asia will help WEF expand the use of public-private partnerships as means of improving food security and nutrition in the ASEAN region. Similar to Grow Africa, WEF’s other regional initiative, Grow Asia will support regional efforts to engage the private sector and identify opportunities for collaboration in addressing food security and agricultural development challenges in the ASEAN region.
Grow Asia aims to reach 10 million smallholder farmers in ASEAN by 2020, with the goal of enabling them to increase their yield and profits by 20 percent while using 20 percent less use water and generating 20 percent less greenhouse gas emissions per ton of production.
Its main activity will be to bring together donors, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations and private sector partners in discussions aimed at enabling private and public investment in agriculture.
Canada’s Leadership in Increasing Food Security and Nutrition: Building Partnerships for Innovation and Results
Food insecurity and malnutrition continue to be among the most pressing global development challenges. Rapid population growth, increasing urbanization and growing scarcity of natural resources continue to threaten the global food security landscape. These challenges call for a greater focus on, and development of, agriculture and food systems. Agriculture remains the most significant generator of employment, income and livelihoods for the majority of the food insecure in most developing countries.
The global transition to sustainable food and agriculture systems will require all stakeholders—civil society organizations, farmers, the food and agriculture industry, researchers, scientists, all levels of government and international organizations—to work together. Canada is committed to deepening and broadening its engagement with these stakeholders.
To deliver on its commitment, Canada is focusing on working more closely with the private sector, including agribusiness, farmer organizations and smallholder farmers, whom it considers indispensable players in reducing poverty and achieving development outcomes. For example:
- Canada is leading the implementation of AgResults, an innovative G20 initiative that aims to stimulate private sector investment in agricultural research to deliver food security results in developing countries. Commonly known as an advanced market commitment, AgResults emphasizes accountability and innovation, only disbursing public funds to partners that demonstrate measurable results in targeted areas such as improving harvest management and nutritional fortification of staple foods. Initial pilot projects under AgResults will aim to improve on-farm storage technology, develop and disseminate biofortified crops, and reduce grain losses caused by fungal diseases in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Canada also provides funding to HarvestPlus, a global research program that works to reduce micronutrient malnutrition by breeding key crops (for example, potatoes, beans, rice, wheat, maize, cassava) to produce varieties with higher nutritional value. Through this research program, private sector partnerships are built to scale up seed systems for biofortified crops. For example, in India, it is piloting a collaboration with private seed companies that tests new varieties, evaluates farmer preferences, assesses the market potential and directly markets seeds. This partnership aims to have at least 150,000 farmers growing iron-rich pearl millet in India in 2012, where iron-deficiency is common—especially among women and children under the age of five.
- Canada, along with Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States, supports the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program’s Private Sector Window. The Private Sector Window is a unique multi-donor trust fund and partnership among developing countries, development partners, civil society, and the private sector that has proven to be key in finding innovative financing methods for smallholder farmers and small and medium-sized agribusiness firms. The Private Sector Window was established to provide long- and short-term loans, credit guarantees and equity to support private sector activities for improving agricultural development and food security.
- Canada supports the Zinc Alliance for Child Health, an innovative public-private-civil society partnership between Teck Resources, a Canadian private sector company, and the Micronutrient Initiative, a global leader in nutrition. Presently under way in four countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the alliance aims to improve child survival by delivering zinc supplements and oral rehydration salts to treat diarrhea, one of the most common killers of children in developing countries.
- Canada’s development assistance has helped Vietnam move toward a modernized food quality and safety system, opening up new opportunities for small businesses and smallholder farmers. For example, Canada has helped farmers adopt internationally recognized good agricultural practices for key agri-food products, significantly reducing levels of contaminants in fruits, vegetables, poultry and pork. Canada’s long-term relationships with selected Vietnamese provinces have also been catalytic in replicating key Vietnamese innovations—such as environmentally sound higher-value-added rice varieties—and have helped produce self-sustaining rural enterprises in profitable areas such as dairy production.
For further information on Canada’s development assistance work aimed at increasing food security visit Increasing Food Security.