Foro Global sobre Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición (Foro FSN)

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      Position Paper: Leveraging the Private Sector and Its Best Practices for Agrifood Systems Transformation


      The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' Call for Submissions highlights a critical need for innovative solutions to address the pressing challenge of transforming our global agrifood systems. Collaborative efforts are urgently required to achieve sustainability, inclusivity, and resilience, as envisioned by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This paper presents a compelling case for the important role of the private sector in driving this transformation, using evidence-based examples and recommendations for FAO's enhanced support frameworks for countries across the globe.

      The Power of the Private Sector

      When harnessed responsibly, the private sector possesses unique capabilities – resources, innovation, agility, and reach – that can propel agrifood systems transformation. Companies can integrate sustainability into core business models, influence supply chains, and foster inclusive approaches. Notably, Morination Agricultural Products' leadership demonstrates the potential for significant impact, exemplifying responsible investment and women's economic empowerment within Southeast Asia (SEA).

      Morination Agricultural Products: A Sustainability and Food Champion Responds to the UN Global Compact's Call to Business Action

      Morination is an example of a private sector leader championing sustainability in agriculture. Their actions as Lead Organization of the UN Global Compact Philippine Private Sector Champions Pillar's Zero Hunger Champions, leading 50 organizations towards food systems transformation while also supporting 5000 growers, showcase effective implementation of the ASEAN Guidelines for Responsible Agri Investments and the OECD's Responsible Supply Chains in SEA. Morination has just been awarded the distinguished 2024 AGORA Award for Advocacy Marketing of the UN SDGs for its “Road to Zero Hunger and Food Systems Transformation” Campaign. 

      Key elements of Morination's best practices include:

      • Investment in Sustainable Practices: Prioritizing environmentally responsible production and ESG mechanisms in the supply chain that conserve resources and promote biodiversity and community and livelihood development.
      • Women's Economic Empowerment: Empowering women farmers through training, access to resources, and decision-making roles to foster greater equity and drive transformation.
      • Market-based Solutions: Developing market linkages that create value for smallholder farmers and incentivize the adoption of sustainable production.
      • Collaborative Partnerships: Building alliances with diverse stakeholders, including government, civil society, and international bodies, to amplify the impact.

      These practices underscore the feasibility and benefits of responsible private sector engagement in driving agrifood systems' transformation.

      Recommendations for Enhanced FAO Support

      To maximize private sector contributions, the FAO can implement the following strategies:

      1. Promote Best Practice Sharing: Establish knowledge platforms facilitating case studies of successful private sector models like Morination's initiative. Sharing strategies and results would inspire broader private sector adoption of sustainable practices.
      2. Policy and Guidance Frameworks: Collaborate with governments to develop policies that incentivize responsible private sector investments and align with international sustainability standards.
      3. Capacity Building Initiatives: Support capacity development programs for smallholder farmers and agri-businesses, fostering sustainable and inclusive practices that align with Morination's women's economic empowerment approach in agricultural trade and commerce.
      4. Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships: FAO may facilitate active alliances between governments, the private sector, civil society, and farmers' organizations.

      Women's Economic Empowerment: A Key Focus Area

      Morination's Co-leadership of the Women's Economic Empowerment for the Philippines Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture highlights a crucial aspect of agrifood transformation. The upcoming Women's Summit will focus on a session exploring FAO's governance, which underscores the need for gender-sensitive frameworks in food systems transformation, where participants will also be asked how FAO may effectively catalyze far-reaching positive impacts on food systems by prioritizing women's economic empowerment, inclusive decision-making, and reducing gender-based inequalities. The results of this session will be forwarded in another Call for Submission Paper to FAO’s Global Forum.


      Morination's initiatives illustrate that the private sector has an indispensable role in achieving the UN’s agrifood systems transformation goals. By leveraging private sector capabilities, FAO can accelerate lasting progress towards greater sustainability, resilience, and inclusivity within agrifood systems globally.

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      Can you suggest success stories from countries that were able to reduce FSN inequalities?

      Addressing Food Insecurity in the Philippines through the Private Sector-Led Zero Hunger Coalition

      In a 2021 FAO Report, food insecurity in the Philippines has reached 40- 60% of its population. Food insecurity is the consistent lack of food to have a healthy life because of economic situations. Hunger has substantial economic costs for individuals, families, and societies. Labor, often the only asset of the poor, is devalued for the hungry. Mental and physical health is compromised, cutting productivity, output, and the wages that people earn. Food insecurity compels people to remain within the cycle of poverty unless interventions are provided.

      With food insecurity’s far-reaching effects on people, the UN Global Compact (Philippines) Zero Hunger Coalition seeks to address these issues and amplify the business case for zero hunger, ESG, and food systems transformation as a mechanism for inclusive and sustainable recovery and resilience in the next 5 years. We are guided by the UN Food Systems action tracks of (1) Ensuring access to safe and nutritious food for all, (2) Shifting to sustainable consumption patterns, (3) Boosting nature-positive production, (4) Advancing equitable livelihoods, and, (5) Building resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks, and stress.

      In keeping with FAO’s 10-year Strategic Framework, our coalition’s main goal is the pivot to more efficient, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life for all.

      Our coalition recognized the need for more stakeholders involved as one organization will not be able to address the issues of food insecurity. From 4 core members in April, we have grown to 40 organizations, 13 of which are from the People Pillar of the UN Global Compact (Philippines), 5 agencies from the UN System in the Philippines with primary support from the UNIDO and UNGC Network Phil. 5 from the LGUs led by the City of Baguio and 16 agribusinesses from Benguet. As a private sector-led initiative, Morination Agricultural Products, Inc. leads the coalition. Manila Doctors Hospital is our co-lead, supported by other members of the Private Sector and the CSO- ICM, Metro Pacific, Nestle, PPSA, Komunidad, Smart Communications, Eco-business, IRRI, Shinkozan, ADEC, and Yuchengco Center.

      At the frontlines of our fight to zero hunger are our Benguet growers. For them to effectively take on the roles of food champions, our coalition has adopted UNIDO’s holistic approach to trade and capacity building structured around three key imperatives for our growers: (1) The people pillar is developing competitive productive supply capacities for our growers for them to be able to compete domestically and internationally; (2) We will also assist them in conforming to standards such as obtaining organic certification for their farms and Good Agricultural Practices certificates to prove compliance with market requirements in an internationally recognized manner; and third,  Enhance their connectivity to markets.

      Among the first activities we have embarked on is the setting up of a systems-based multi-stakeholder approach in the Coalition. Our first year of operations functioned through the in-kind support of the members. We are also running a sustainability model to finance our operations. The establishment of the Zero Hunger Fund is also used to scale the initiative to be sustainable, inclusive, and just. Our members have defined our roles guided by our goals and their core competencies.

      In a baseline study and round table discussion on our community leaders, the following challenges emerged for our growers: Undersupply and oversupply of vegetables, lack of water irrigation, lack of digital connectivity, unfair trade practices, limited access to markets, unpredictable weather conditions, poverty, an aging population, among others. With these, we seek to address these and will provide them an enabling environment, capacitate them and support them.

      Our pillar is developing a Nutrition Agriculture program through the ADB grant application and the assistance of the Philippines Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture (the sustainable arm of the ASEAN Secretariat and World Economic Forum's Grow Asia) to transform our growers in taking their roles as effective food champions through learning, mentorship and assessment activities

      ICM also is designing our zero-hunger roadmap. This would lend focus to our pillar’s milestones that would include 14 million of the Philippines’ ultra-poor in our value chains.

      Manila Doctors Hospital through their adopt a community program will send community health workers to their hospitals for training. Moreover, they will design and execute sustainable health capacity development programs for our Food Champions’ pilot communities.

      Metro Pacific is also our health partner in conducting health wellness checks of our growers. The Mwell app showcases a holistic approach to telemedicine—from doctor consultation, e-pharmacy, emergency services, and home care—to fitness and nutrition programs.

      Together with the Baguio SMART City, we are also providing digital connectivity, designing and executing data architecture for a digital platform to integrate source mapping and e-commerce. We are also getting support in adopting climate-smart agriculture in the agri-food systems to accelerate climate action and improve resiliency during natural disasters.

      From our growers’ crops, these are processed to become Nutripacks, thereby increasing their shelf life and adding value to our growers’ harvests, lessening crop wastage, and having additional market access with assistance from UNIDO, Baguio, and the Pillar. Guided by the Committee on World Food Security and the ASEAN Responsible Agri Investments, The Baguio Food Innovation Hub and Morination are establishing post-harvest facilities for Nutripacks production to support efforts in fighting hunger and providing livelihood in the local economy including ICM’s 14 million base of Filipinos in the supply chain.

      Finally, Eco-business is documenting the Zero Hunger journey of the Pillar to amplify community-based stories as active economic & sustainability partners and to champion the impact of The UN Global Compact & sustainable business in achieving the SDGs.

      In closing, food insecurity is a complex issue with the most adverse effects felt by the poor. In this instance, the private sector and all stakeholders need to take accelerated action to address these and in getting involved in a cause greater than ourselves and our organizations- getting out of our comfort zones but still playing to our strengths. In the end, we all have a role and responsibility in making this world better for all.



    • From the perspective of our company, the VG on Gender Empowerment and Equality, may the proponents integrate companies’ current inclusive and sustainable best practices into the guidelines. We also propose that the private sector integrate these in their programs, and have these programs per participating company, scaled and mainstreamed then monitored and evaluated by CFS.

      Under Section 3.4. Women’s economic empowerment in the context of sustainable food systems. Our company is a majority women-owned organization and 90% of those involved in our value chains are women. Women have the biggest roles in our agribusiness framework. We see women as a vital component of our value chain and as our partners in achieving our shared corporate and sustainable development goals. For our business model to be effective, our ecosystem needs not only to be functioning but healthy. Like our farms, for it to have a bountiful harvest, this needs to be nurtured, as would the most basic unit of our society- the families. As would our communities. Our values need to be aligned and that the communication lines must be open at all times with our women partners especially during the critical phases in the value chain. Our women partners understand our needs and requirements. Our women partners help us nurture our ecosystem so that we can be more effective in our deliverables. We provided our partners with the tools they need to deliver. As a company, we are not after transactional relationships of buy and sell but more of transformative relationships where our business takes us in providing impact within the value chain and the communities. We are committed to ethical, safe, and fair trade practices where the women growers dictate the prices of their harvests. Moreover, we work with them to grow their trade capabilities either by the direct purchase of their produce, consolidating their crops, or strengthening their organizations. Together, we bring to fruition the stringent requirements of our clients. We lend support to their research and testing capabilities by bringing in effective trade practices while respecting their local traditions and expertise. We rely on women’s local impact enterprises because their innovation, local know-how, and presence are crucial in activating our value chain. Their expertise makes possible goods, interventions, and solutions that could not be generated by Morination alone.

      Women have a place in our business model and our company. They easily sync into our business processes as our growers are forward-thinking and entrepreneurial. They find ways to meet our requirements and do not waste opportunities provided to them. They are lifelong learners while confident with their local knowledge and skills. They work on their farms with the end of ensuring that funds will be enough to sustain their families, uplift their quality of lives and ensure that these would be enough to reinvest in their farms and for the next planting cycles. The care that women provide their farms and families also extends to their relationships with our company.

      These best practices and from other companies as well need to be reflected in the Voluntary Guidelines for replication, scaling, and mainstreaming.

      From Morination, Philippines, we welcome and support the CFS VOLUNTARY GUIDELINES ON GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN’S AND GIRLS’ EMPOWERMENT in the context of food security and nutrition. Thank you, CFS for this initiative. We look forward to its release.

    • Relaying the 9 point position of the Private Sector View on the Voluntary Guidelines on Gender Equality and Empowerment (Private Sector Mechanism, UN Committee on Food Security),

      1) Promote the adoption and implementation of policies by national

      governments that ensure legal equality for women, including rights to land and other productive resources; access to financial services, business registration and operation, healthcare, education, and employment opportunities. Women’s rights are human rights.

      2) Encourage women’s capacity to organize themselves and foster women leaders. Protect rural women workers’ wages and labour conditions and cultivate their roles as small-scale entrepreneurs. Ensure that women’s leadership and expertise feed into work on food security such as guidelines and initiatives related to land, investment, and nutrition, particularly for women smallholder farmers.

      3) Provide access to proper maternal health services for women and focus particularly on nutrition for the first 1000 days of mother and child. Include improvement of women’s, adolescent girls’ and children’s nutritional status as an explicit goal and expected outcomes of agriculture, food and

      nutritional security-related programmes, strategies, and policies.

      4) Encourage investors, donors, and governments to focus on supporting women smallholder farmers, including access to resources such as inputs, irrigation, energy, agricultural extension services, grain

      storage, processing and packaging centres, and information.

      5) Education programs should make specific reference to the needs of women, including rural women. There is a pressing need for literacy—both traditional and digital—basic math skills, and general education for women in developing countries. Multiple studies have also found women’s education plays a positive role in achieving goals for child schooling and nutrition.

      6) It is important to have gender-sensitive approaches to increase access to agricultural extension services. Specific training with mechanisms to manage gender-based biases on access to land, banking, and marketing opportunities are needed to close gaps for rural women and avoid

      perpetuating long-term gender inequities.

      7) Access to banking services that ensure women directly receive payment for their agricultural production. Savings accounts are needed, as are affordable micro-credit, insurance, and access to opportunities in the value chain.

      8) Supporting co-operatives and other enterprises that allow smallholder women- farmers to aggregate their harvests, negotiate better prices, and introduce value-added processing, package, storage, and marketing.

      9) Educational goals for orphans and vulnerable children in developing countries should be assessed at a national level. In many developing countries, agriculture can be the primary means of employment for the vast majority of the population. When the family unit is disrupted, many of these

      children lose their opportunity to learn basic farming skills.