USCIB and its members participated in bilateral meetings that included close to 60 countries at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) this week to discuss business priorities on food security, agriculture trade and other nutrition issues. This year’s meeting of the Private Sector Mechanism marked the most diverse industry delegation yet, with participants spanning over 16 countries across five continents, representing the entire agriculture value chain.
The Private Sector Mechanism is a network that coordinates input from business into the UN Committee on World Food Security. This year’s group includes representatives from USCIB members including Monsanto, The Coca-Cola Company, Mead Johnson and the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
“These meetings are great because companies are able to have a real intimate conversations with governments about the programs and/or partnership they have in place to address issues affecting food security and nutrition,” said Helen Medina, USCIB’s vice president for product policy and innovation. “Often government officials are not aware of how the private sector is already engaged. These talks not only inform the policy discussion but also spark ideas on how the private sector can further work with governments in mutually beneficial manner. These dialogues are a crucial to building relationships and trust so that we can work together to combat global hunger and nutrition challenges.”
Industry representatives also discussed possible side events at the UN Committee on Food Security (CFS) to be held in October related to empowering women in agriculture and supply chains and the important linkages between trade and food security.
During the CFS there is an opportunity for a broad cross-section of stakeholders to come together to address the barriers to women’s productive participation in food supply chains and entrepreneurship in an integrated way. The proposed event would convene relevant organizations – including members of the FAO’s Private Sector Mechanism, local country delegates, NGOs, academics, and intergovernmental organizations – in a roundtable discussion focused on “Women, Farmers, Entrepreneurs, Mothers: Solutions at Nexus of Agriculture, Nutrition and Gender.” The goal of this session will be to identify proven solutions, explore collaboration and establish leadership in this field.
In addition, USCIB and other industry groups hope to showcase the benefits of trade and to explain that trade is an important component of the agriculture and food system. Opening up global, regional and national trading opportunities for small- and medium-scale producers will be key to addressing the challenges related to food security and nutrition, particularly in developing countries.