66 Financing for food security and nutrition to achieve the SDGs

Innovations in  private investment and finance for agriculture, food security and nutrition

Organizers: USAID; Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany (BMZ);Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS)


While there is a significant amount of private capital and investors seeking opportunities in agri-food systems, due to a wide range of factors, investments in developing countries are often perceived to be too risky. Particularly, small and medium sized businesses often struggle the most for funding. Thus, in order to unlock this potential and increase food security and economic growth for millions of smallholder farmers we need to catalyze private sector financing for sustainable agriculture. In order to achieve the SDGs, governments, donors, and the private sector will need work together to mobilize more financial resources into the agri-food systems and spend those resources in more effective and efficient ways.

Key speakers

Stefan Schmitz, Commissioner of “One World - No Hunger” Initiative, and head of Directorate for Food, Agriculture, and Rural Development, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Beth Dunford, Assistant to the Administrator, Bureau for Food Security, United States Agency for Development (USAID)

Laura Frigenti, Director, Italian Agency for International Cooperation

Keith Polo, Managing Director, Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), Europe and CNFA Capital

Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Director, United States Peace Corps

Main themes/issues discussed


Investments for small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

Food Security and Nutrition

Youth and employment

Technical Assistance


Summary of key points

The discussion focused on the unique financial, technical assistance, infrastructure and enabling environment needs of small and medium sized enterprises, and what role donors could and should play to facilitate economic growth and empower entrepreneurs to succeed.  The panelists emphasized the importance stimulating long lasting economic growth in rural areas, with a specific focus on youth, employment, rural development and innovations for food security and nutrition.  Panelists agreed that donors support to SMEs is a critical piece of rural transformation and developing rural opportunities to ease the impact of migration and increase youth employment and livelihoods.

Key outcomes/take away messages

The United States laid out their new agenda for food security from their recently released A Food Secure 2030 report, which outlines their vision for how the world can come together to achieve the SDGs, particularly the targets on poverty, hunger and malnutrition. The vision calls on country leaders, development partners and donors, civil society and the private sector to commit to working together in new, more targeted ways to bring more public and private capital to strategic investments and enable them with effective policy systems and strong institutions. The U.S. will continue to expand and invest in innovative financing instruments that help build public and private sector capacity, provide financing with favorable terms, and create jobs and increased incomes.  

Germany will continue to work with other donors to push for greater multi-stakeholder financing for SMEs as part of their greater food security and rural development strategy.  Rural youth employment and innovations will be the major focus of their G20 Development Working Group food security efforts in 2017.

Italy emphasized that supporting SME growth helped transform their economy and as donors we need to be more catalytic and strategic in offering protections and assistance to ensure economic growth in rural areas to reduce migration.