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Agrinvest update

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Agrinvest update 23 October 2019  

 

Applications are now open to CCSI’s Executive Training on Sustainable Investments in Agriculture in June 2020

 

The 2020 Executive Training on Sustainable Investments in Agriculture organized by The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) is now open for applications. This interdisciplinary program provides an overview of pressing issues related to agricultural investments, as well as an introduction to relevant practical skills. Participants work with practitioners and experts from within and beyond Columbia University and receive a Statement of Attendance from the University. For more information about the course, and to access the application, please visit CCSI's website.

 

CCSI is accepting applications here until February 14, 2020. A limited number of partial scholarships are available. If you would like to be considered for a partial scholarship, you must apply on or before December 13, 2019. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early.

 

Webinar on the changing farm structure and rural transformation of Africa   

 

The CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) will organize a webinar on the changing farm structure and rural transformation in Africa on 24 October 2019, 12-1 PM EDT.

 

The webinar will discuss evidence of farm-level transformation in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and the key sources of dynamism in agriculture, and propose an updated typology of farms that reflects the evolving nature of African agriculture. The webinar will also discuss medium-scale farmers as a diverse group that includes: smallholders that expand to medium-scale farmers through land acquisition; non-farm entrepreneurs and workers that diversify into farming; and, urban-based professionals and retirees acquiring farmland in rural areas. The rise of medium farms has been encouraged by the rapid development of land markets.

 

Many medium-scale farms attract agribusiness investment and improve market access conditions for smallholders. However, medium-scale land acquisitions may also exacerbate land scarcity, raise land prices, and crowd out young peoples’ access to farmland. According to the research, medium-scale commercialized farms can be a dynamic driver of agricultural transformation. However, strengthening the tenure security of indigenous rural people and supporting investments by smallholders remains crucial.

 

Paper on Africa’s evolving employment trend provide recommendations for investments needed for the expansion of youth employment

 

According to research presented in the paper Africa’s Evolving Employment Trends by Felix Kwame Yeboah and Thomas S. Payne, Africa has experienced a sharp decline in the share of its labour force in agriculture since 2000. Employment in off-farm segments of food systems are expanding in percentage terms but in numbers, non-farm activities are the major source of employment outside of agriculture.

 

Given the large number of young people entering the labour market, massive job expansion both in and outside of agriculture is needed. The paper provides key recommendations for youth livelihoods strategies: (1) focus on investing in agricultural productivity growth to create new opportunities for youth in farming and generate the multiplier effects that expand the number of employment opportunities for youth in the broader economy; (2) develop evidence-based strategies for assisting rural youth to access land and finance; and, (3) invest in education and skills to enable young people to realise their economic potential and maximise their productivity where opportunities arise.

 

New report provides recommendations on how companies in the food industry can align with the Sustainable Development Goals

 

The new report Fixing the business of food from the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the Santa Chiara Lab of the University of Siena and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment highlights the sustainability challenges faced by the food industry. By proposing a Four Dimension framework, the report asks four overarching questions for companies in the food, sector to address alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

 

Does the company contribute to healthy and sustainable dietary patterns through its products and strategy?

Are the company’s production processes economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable?

Are the company’s global supply chains sustainable?

Is the company a good corporate citizen?

 

The report makes a series of recommendations on how companies can align their operations with the SDGs. The organizations behind the report also plan to engage with other key actors to help build a consensus on how to address the areas identified and highlighted in the report.

 

New paper alleges abuse of human rights in agricultural supply chains

                 

The new Oxfam paper Workers’ rights in supermarket supply chains alleges that food supply chains linked to international supermarket chains are characterized by violations of human, labour and women’s rights.

 

According to Oxfam, new studies of tea production in India and tropical fruit production in Brazil confirm earlier research on rights violations in food supply chains. According to interviews with 510 workers on 50 tea estates in India, labour rights are being systematically violated. Oxfam argues that power asymmetries enable supermarkets and large tea brands to control most of the profits from tea, while workers are estimated to receive between 1 and 7 % of the final consumer price. Drawing on research in Brazil, the paper also argues that poverty, dangerous exposure to pesticides and harsh treatment is common for farmworkers in melon, grape and mango production.

 

The paper acknowledges that some supermarkets have made commitments to human and labour rights. However, it argues that the performance of many supermarkets remains woeful. Discrimination against women is arguably the most neglected problem of many supermarket chains.

 

Supermarkets are facing pressures to change, including new government regulations and expectations on supermarkets to do more to identify and address violations of rights from both consumers and investors. To help supermarkets act on these pressures, Oxfam has developed a framework with recommendations on workers’ rights. The framework includes measures for the adoption of human rights due diligence approach, the prevention of human rights violations in supply chains and the achievement of positive social impact.

 

 

FAO’s latest resource mobilization report highlights partnerships for investment in agriculture and food systems

 

Increased investment and innovative policies are crucial for the achievement of the second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of eradicating hunger. FAO works in many ways to increase responsible investment in agriculture and food systems. FAO’s latest Business Development Portfolio, for example, is seeking to engage partners in increasing their investments in food and agriculture by highlighting focus areas where partnerships can scale up results. The portfolio represents a selection of programmes that FAO offers towards helping to achieve the SDGs and deliver impacts on the ground.

 

The second edition of FAO’s resource mobilization annual report, Resources, Partnerships, Impact – 2019, explains what FAO is, what it does, and how it works with diverse United Nations and other partners to achieve its goals. The report describes how FAO works to defeat hunger, as well as how the organization is adapting to changes in the development aid landscape, creatively leveraging different kinds of funds. Persistent global challenges that exacerbate hunger – among them, malnutrition, threats to biodiversity, socioeconomic inequalities, technological disruption, geopolitical tensions, unprecedented urban growth, and protracted crises – are also explored.

 

 

 

 

 

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