Millions of farmers around the world, both smallholders and large-scale producers, will play a pivotal role in addressing the needs of an additional 2 billion people worldwide over the next few decades, said Hugh Grant, chairman and chief executive officer of Monsanto Company. Grant noted the focused efforts of farmers, food companies, retailers, public-private partnerships and Monsanto as they work together to improve agricultural productivity and natural resource efficiency.
The remarks came today as Grant and Monsanto President and Chief Operating Officer Brett Begemann, joined more than 2,500 participants from 100 countries taking part in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2014 this week in Davos, Switzerland. Societal leaders, government officials, academics, business leaders and others are engaging in dialogue surrounding the 44th WEF Annual Meeting’s theme: “The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business.”
In 2009, a group of WEF partners and constituents, which included Monsanto, outlined a New Vision for Agriculture (NVA) as a critical component to sustainably meet the world’s growing need for safe, nutritious food, using and preserving resources in sustainable way, and driving and helping to nurture local and national economies. Through the NVA initiative, WEF and its partners have set goals for improving food security, environmental sustainability and economic opportunity by 20 percent per decade until 2050.
“New Vision for Agriculture set some very bold and necessary goals that will make a difference for our planet,” said Natalie DiNicola, Ph.D., vice president of sustainability and partnerships at Monsanto. “This work, which can be realized through public-private partnerships combined with our in-the-field work with farmers, is vitally important. At Monsanto, we continue to be committed to working alongside WEF partners and others to do our part so that farmers are at the center of the solution because by continuing to improve agriculture, we will improve lives.”
NVA provides a framework for business-led and market-based solutions explicitly linked to national development priorities. The initiative is led by 33 global WEF partner companies and has engaged more than 250 organizations in its work to strengthen collaboration among stakeholders to help agriculture meet the growing need for food in a sustainable way.
At a global level, NVA has partnered with the G8 and G20, and facilitated high-level informal dialogues. At the regional and country level, NVA has led to multi-stakeholder partnerships in 14 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Together, these efforts have mobilized more than US $5.7 billion in investment commitments and are projected to engage more than 9.5 million farmers during the next 3-5 years.
“Monsanto is committed to sharing our innovations and technical knowledge; investing in programs and projects that connect with our core business and help meet the goals of the New Vision for Agriculture; and helping create and nurture future generations of experts who will work to implement the vision,” said DiNicola.
A key NVA initiative, Grow Africa, is an African-led, public-private partnership that involves many key stakeholders. This initiative seeks to accelerate investments and transformative change in African agriculture based on national agricultural priorities.
At the 2012 G8 Summit, Monsanto announced a $50 million commitment over the next 10 years to support sustained agricultural development in Sub-Saharan Africa. As part of this commitment, Monsanto created an investment plan to strengthen maize and vegetable farming and distribution in Tanzania. This plan is designed to work with the Tanzanian government’s agriculture development plan, Kilimo Kwanza (Agriculture First), for the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT).
Another important initiative is Monsanto’s work with farmers in India. Through the Monsanto Farm AgVisory Services (MFAS), more than 800,000 farmers receive useful information directly on their cell phones about a variety of topics, helping them produce heartier crops and bigger harvests.
To learn more about SAGCOT, MFAS and other key Monsanto initiatives and partnerships that attempt to make the goals of NVA a reality, visit: http://www.monsanto.com/improvingagriculture/Pages/monsanto-new-vision-for-agriculture.aspx.