20 “Agropreneurship” for food security and nutrition

Promoting Farmers Empowerment To Advance Food Security And Nutrition In The Framework Of Agenda 2030

Organizers: Argentina; Italy; World Farmers' Organisation (WFO)

Abstract

The side event, jointly organized by Argentina, Italy and WFO, aims at stimulating an engaged and informed discussion around the issue of farmers’ empowerment in order to achieve the “Zero Hunger” goal. Issues tackled will range from investment in farmers’ capacities and skills to the provision of entrepreneurial skills (including managerial skills and risk management) to farmers, and would include a discussion on the elaboration of farmer-specific training programs and the improvement of the capacity of farmer entrepreneurs in contract negotiation and compliance. The overarching context of the debate is the contribution of the farmers to the achievement of Agenda 2030. The interventions of the three panelists (from Argentina, Italy and the WFO – and possibly further speakers) will focus on concrete lessons learned and practical experiences from farmers themselves. After the speeches of the facilitators/panelists, time will be allocated for interaction with the audience, with the idea of creating a space for a constructive debate among stakeholders.

Key speakers

Ambassador Claudio Rozencwaig, Permanente Representantive of Argentina to FAO, IFAD and WFP

Ambassador Pierfrancesco Sacco, Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN Organisations in Roma

Marco Marzano de Marinis, Secretary General, World Farmers’ Organisation 

Mr. Roberto Moncalvo, President, Coldiretti, Italy

Ing. Luis Miguel Etchevehere, Presidente, Sociedad Rural Argentina (SRA)

Charles Ogang, President, National Farmers Federation, Uganda 

Main themes/issues discussed

 

  • Entrepreneurship in agriculture (“Agropreneurship”)
  • The role of farmers`s entrepreneurial skills
  • The importance of technology and innovation in agriculture
  • Agriculture and youth: the importance of making agriculture more attractive 
  • The cases of Italy, Argentina and Uganda: main opportunities and challenges. 

Summary of key points

General remarks

  1. Agropreneurship is fundamental to both increase food production and improve the living conditions of farmers. Enhancing farmers' entrepreneurial skills means developing managerial skills, including risk management, to start and run a profitable farm business, as well as, fostering farmers’ “entrepreneurial spirit”. Successful entrepreneurship requires also ensuring effective market access and gaining a better position for farmers in the value chain, from production to final consumption. 
  2. Agriculture and farming activities should be made more attractive for young generation to make possible that they can develop their own profession in the agricultural sector. A positive trend has been noted in the interest of young people in agriculture. In Italy, the last three years have registered a 40% increase in students enrolled in agricultural studies. In Argentina, most young farmers today hold diplomas and degrees, and they are 20 years younger than European farmers and 25 years younger than American ones. Youth can realize there is great potential in this sector;
  3. Enhancing entrepreneurial skills for farmers will have a positive impact on agriculture, increasing food production and make farming a real business. In Uganda, improving and increasing farmers’ capacities is linked to the provision of infrastructures and extensions services.

Main messages of per speaker:

Mr. Roberto Moncalvo (President of Coldiretti)
  • Zero Hunger is our common goal for 2030. Globally, we produce enough food to feed 10 million people, but one third of it goes wasted.
  • Family farming was central to Italy’s economic recovery after World War II. 70% of the food produced in the world comes from family farming: agropreneurship initiatives need to be family farmingoriented. 
  • Today, thanks to Coldiretti, the Italian confederation of farmers, Italy enjoys more than 500 agropreneur families on its territory. In Europe, Italian agriculture is the one with the most workers per hectare. Agriculture and farming activities should be made more attractive for young generations. A positive trend has been noted in the interest of young people in agriculture. In Italy, the last three years have registered a 40% increase in students enrolled in agricultural studies. 
  • As a country, Italy has decided not to take the GMO route, to protect its heritage and peculiarities. Italy raised the issue of counterfeit products branded as Italian, which often do not respect high standards of quality.
  • Coldiretti has expressed its disappointment concerning the agreement between the EU and Tunisia for the import of Tunisian olive oil, which is not produced with appropriate quality standards, transparency and protection of workers
Mr. Luis Miguel Etchevehere (President of Sociedad Rural Argentina)
  • Farmers are one of the most important entrepreneurs in the world since they are always taking risks.
  • In Argentina, farmers have been able to develop the most important tools and technologies in periods with very adverse economic and political conditions. 
  • The case of Argentina shows the positive impact of technology in food production, in particular, with the case of notill farming. 
  • Market access and the removal of trade distortive measures such as subsidies are key to achieve food security and nutrition and to fight against poverty. 
  • The role of technology is central to increase productivity. 
Mr. Charles Ogang (President of Uganda National Farmers Federation)
  • Farmers are real entrepreneurs.
  • However, being farmers is not easy especially when despite the ordinary business risk that you have to face as an entrepreneur, you have also to fight for the access to market, to credit, to land, to education, to innovation.
  • This is particularly true for some categories of farmers such as the Youth that because of all this challenges and barriers fell demotivated to work in agriculture and decide of abandoning farming moving to urban centres. Rural Women are those who drive family and business and their role is not acknowledged, they cannot hold the land; they cannot be the official owner of the business, they cannot have access to credit and education.
  • Access to markets and credit should be considered as priorities for a agropreneur, particularly in the developing countries; therefore infrastructures and extension services should play a key role in increasing these access to important feature of the agricultural business. 

Key outcomes/take away messages

  • Entrepreneurship in agriculture (“Agropreneurship”) is key to achieve food security and nutrition.
  • Agropreneurship is fundamental to both increase food production and improve the living conditions of farmers. 
  • Enhancing farmers' entrepreneurial skills is crucial. It requires developing managerial skills, including risk management, to start and run a profitable farm business, as well as, fostering farmers’ “entrepreneurial spirit”. 
  • Successful entrepreneurship requires also ensuring effective market access and gaining a better position for farmers in the value chain, from production to final consumption.
  • The successful cases of Italy, Argentina and Uganda show the importance of agropreneurship and family farming to achieve food security and nutrition.