Agrifood Economics

Influencing the transformation of agrifood systems through civil society and the private sector: FAO presents the new flagship report on the future of food and agriculture to key stakeholders


FAO works hard to engage key stakeholders in the civil society and the private sector towards transformative processes for agrifood systems. The European House Ambrosetti, an Italian Think Tank mostly targeting government officials and the private sector, invited FAO to attend the “7th Food and Beverages Symposium”, in Bormio (Italy) on 9 and 10 June 2023, which addresses key public and private stakeholders of Italian and transnational agrifood systems.

Lorenzo Giovanni Bellù, Senior Economist, Team Leader of the Policy Intelligence Branch – Global Perspectives Team in the FAO Agrifood Economics Division (ESA), will attend the Symposium on behalf of FAO to address the question: “Will there be food for everybody?” using the findings of the recently published FAO report The future of food and agriculture – Drivers and triggers for transformation. The alternative scenarios presented in the report and the innovative and transformative role that the private sector and civil society can play to move agrifood systems towards sustainability and resilience will be highlighted.

FAO has also been invited by SIANI, a Swedish multisector network based in Stockholm, with more than 5 000 members worldwide that meets on a yearly basis to engage and share knowledge with interested members, to remotely present this report in its annual meeting in Sweden, this week.

Already in mid-May, FAO presented the report during a session of the training phase of the 2nd ASEAN-Italy Youth Conference – “Climate Change & Food Security: Challenges and Opportunities”. The invitation came from Global Action Italy, a non-profit organization whose main aim is to unite students from different geographical and socio-cultural realities in order to give them the necessary tools to concretely face the current international challenges. It works with the patronage and funds of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) and the support of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The above events are just the most recent of a long series that saw FAO engaged in discussing with multi-stakeholder platforms, Civil Society Organizations and the private sector how to support the transformation of agrifood systems.

Indeed, in collaboration with colleagues in the FAO Liaison Office in Brussels (FAOLOB), Lorenzo Giovanni Bellù, presented the report to the European Economic and Social Committee’s Thematic Study Group of Sustainable Food Systems. This study group, which brings the voice of civil society organizations and trade unions to the European Commission regarding the economic, environmental and social implications of food production and consumption, welcomed The future of food and agriculture – Drivers and triggers for transformation as an inspiring and game-changing report.

In mid-March, FAO was invited to speak at the Rome Dialogues event of the International Fertilizer Association (IFA) in the session on Agrifood Systems Transformation. The IFA is the only global fertilizer association and has a membership of some 470 entities, encompassing all actors in the fertilizer value chain from producers, corporate decision makers, through distributors, as well as agtech start-ups, service providers, research organizations and NGOs. Over 50% of its membership is based in low- and middle-income countries. The IFA has a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the FAO’s is also actively involved in implementing the FAO Code of Conduct for the Sustainable Management and Use of Fertilizers.

Lorenzo Giovanni Bellù opened the event with a high-level summary of the report and kick-started a panel discussion on how to address the challenge of nourishing more people in the future while protecting our planet. The discussion revolved around the role of private entrepreneurs and the business opportunities that may arise along transformative patterns. A future-oriented attitude towards sustainable transformations of agrifood systems, as opposed to a backwards-looking preservation of obsolete technologies or “green-washing” approaches, emerged as a key of success for private businesses in the future.