Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

This member contributed to:

    • Submission by the Private Sector Mechanism - Working Group on Women's Empowerment

      Question 1: What are the main challenges rural women and girls are facing today?

      In rural areas, women and girls lack especially legal equality, including rights to land and other productive resources; access to financial services, business registration and operation, and employment opportunities. Furthermore, especially in developing countries rural women lack also access to education programs, aimed at providing literacy, basic math skills, and general education. National governments are certainly the primary actors involved in addressing these challenges by setting adequate legal frameworks but other stakeholders can help to spread knowledge and incentives that can be useful for rural women trapped in a condition of food insecurity and poverty.

      Indeed, the private sector has engaged in many initiatives, in particular to connect female farmers to market and to finance learning programmes about innovative technologies in agriculture.

      With respect to the first, we want to bring to the attention initiatives like the SheTrades Initiative by the International Trade Centre in collaboration with Google and CI&T, a Brazilian technology company.  Through the SheTrades app, women entrepreneurs were able to share information about their companies, increase visibility, expand networks, connect and internationalize. SheTrades, which aims to connect one million women entrepreneurs to market by 2020, also helps corporations to include more women entrepreneurs in their supply chains. More information about the initiative here:

      With respect to the second instead, we can mention the joint initiative by Cargill, Kellogg and U.K. retailer ASDA to launch a female-only training which will benefit up to 1,000 women cocoa farmers in Côte d'Ivoire. The training focuses on teaching better agricultural practices, supporting cocoa tree nursery development as an income-generating activity, as well as providing business skills training and improving literacy. More information can be found here:


      Question 2: Are we using the right approaches and policies to close the gender gap?

      Investors, donors, and governments must focus on supporting women smallholder farmers, including their access to resources such as inputs, agricultural extension services, grain storage, and information. Gender sensitive approaches to increase access to agricultural extension services must be spread. Long term gender inequities are often perpetuating because specific training with mechanisms to manage gender-based biases on access to land, banking, and marketing opportunities are lacking. Initiatives to train entrepreneurs to run their businesses by adopting a more gender sensitive approach are now needed more than ever to incentivize the private sector to engage with rural women as economic actors, generating proved profitable outcomes.

      One example is Nestlé’s work to empower women in the cocoa supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire, which has helped to train four cocoa cooperatives on gender issues in order to open more roles, such as lead farmers and nursery managers, to women. The cooperatives have also now produced their own action plans for improving the positions of women in the cocoa supply chain. More information here:

      To help women to access to financing more easily, companies should give their support to initiatives such as the Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) initiative sponsored by Cargill in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Thanks to this project, managed and governed by local communities, women in those countries have started to access affordable finance at very competitive interest rates. More information here: 

      Question 3: How can we best achieve gender transformative impacts?

      It is fundamental to encourage women’s capacity to organize themselves as well as to foster women leaders. Rural women workers’ wages and labour conditions must be protected and their roles as small scale entrepreneurs must be promoted. All stakeholders must ensure that women’s leadership and expertise, particularly for women smallholder farmers, be recognized in national legal settings as well as the legal equality for women, including rights to land and other productive resources; access to financial services, business registration and operation, and employment opportunities. Companies should favour women’s employment by providing access to proper maternal health services and ensuring particularly proper nutrition for the first 1000 days of mother and child. Governments should create supportive mechanisms for co-operatives and other enterprises that allow smallholder women farmers to aggregate their harvests, negotiate better prices, and introduce value-added processing.

      A successful example of a co-operative gathering smallholder women farmers is the PurProjet in Morocco. The cooperative has been the result of a rural development project of feminine entrepreneurship, which brought some associations of women to gather and share their annual harvests in order to be able to make economies of scale and ensure a higher quality of olive oil thanks to technical and trade support. More information can be found here:

      At national level, Rwanda has been implementing a communications campaign across four national districts, in order to raise public awareness of a key element of land reform: equal rights between men and women. The USAID LAND project partnered with Radio Ishingiro, a community radio station, to broaden citizens’ understanding of land governance and promote values of gender equality. Through the campaign’s innovative and media-savvy outreach strategies, Rwandan citizens learned how gender-equal land rights can benefit them, their families, and their communities. More information about the project can be found here:

    • Private Sector Mechanism Position Paper

      January 2017


      Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture


      FAO defines nutrition-sensitive agriculture as a food-based approach to agricultural development that puts nutrient-dense foods, dietary diversity, and food fortification at the heart of overcoming malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. This approach stresses the multiple benefits derived from enjoying a variety of foods, recognizing the nutritional value of food for health. The overall objective of nutrition-sensitive agriculture is to promote healthy diets by better equipping food systems to deliver safe, affordable and nutritious food.

      At every step, a wide range of participants in the agricultural and food value chain are working to improve nutrition and food security: from production of foods to improving storage and infrastructure, processing nutrient-dense food products and to clearly labelling nutrition facts. Improvements to the policy environment, market connectivity, land use, women’s economic empowerment, and adequate rural infrastructure also impact nutrition and health.

      Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and translating them into nutrition-related national objectives requires inter-related approaches to agriculture, nutrition and health policies. Sustainable, effective nutrition-sensitive agricultural initiatives also depend on enabling markets to support consumers, farmers, processors, and traders.

      Finally, a more diverse and productive agricultural system that best nourishes citizens will in turn accelerate broad-based, sustainable economic growth. This growth strategy must be accompanied by investments in safety nets and education, nutrition, and health programs to ensure nutrition-sensitive agriculture benefits all people.

      The PSM supports the following principles that enhance nutrition-sensitive agriculture:


      • Building policy environments that secure access to nutrient-dense food through sustainable production for achieving adequate, safe, nutritious, diverse, and affordable diets. Make more food available and affordable, reduce malnutrition, and support income growth through:
        1. Increasing and diversifying agricultural production;
        2. Stimulating demand for nutrient rich agricultural products
        3. Enabling the development, dissemination and adoption of technological advances;
        4. Reducing food loss and waste (for example by improving storage, transport, processing and packaging to extend shelf life and reduce spoilage); and
        5. Promoting sustainable production practices (such as conservation agriculture, genetic selection and bio-innovation, crop diversification, water management and integrated pest and nutrient management, best animal husbandry, farm management and new farming systems, such as aquaponics, hydroponics and vertical farming systems).

      • Supporting farmers with agricultural extension, access to inputs, research, and other production-related productivity improvements. Encourage practices that support crop diversification and efficient livestock production systems and associated investments that reduce unit-costs of production, increase farmers’ incomes, and decrease food prices. All these efforts have positive nutrition and economic growth effects and result in lower production risks for farmers and better nutrition for both farming families and consumers.
      • Integrating smallholders in value chains. Private sector actors are key partners in enabling smallholder farmers to achieve better market access by increasing the quantity and quality of their production and connecting them to local, regional and global value chains. Private operators can also support smallholders to become entrepreneurs by facilitating access to sustainable production techniques through extension, market information and financial services, and solutions to overcoming infrastructure gaps[1].
      • Empowering women. Good nutrition from a woman’s pregnancy and in the early years of her child’s life sets the foundation for a lifetime[2]. Changes in food production technology that reduce demands on women’s time have been shown to improve nutrition by increasing time available for child care, food preparation, and accessing clean drinking water. They also improve the well-being of women. In turn, labor saving technological change in activities traditionally performed by women outside the food production system leaves more time available for food system activities. These include food production per se, but also better and more food processing as well as increased income generation through formal and informal food-system based employment.
      • Supporting strategies on diversification, fortification and supplementation. The policy environment should recognize the nutrient-rich contributions of diverse foods, including from both plant and animal-sourced foods; as well as systems that improve or preserve the nutritional content of foods, either at the farm level (biofortification) or through marketing and processing (fortification and supplementation). Diversification of agriculture and food production is a key solution to increase availability and accessibility of a diverse and nutritious diet. When a diverse nutritious diet is not available or accessible, fortification and supplementation are key solutions to prevent nutrient deficiencies by enhancing nutrient content in foods. Nutrient deficiencies can be prevented by:
        1. Local production of nutrient-rich crops and animal-based food,
        2. Plant/animal breeding and crop diversification,
        3. Improved agronomic practice,
        4. Improved livestock management practices such as feeding to genetic potential
        5. Optimal soil fertility management and agronomic biofortification,
        6. Water conservation,
        7. Post-harvest storage, management and processing and
        8. Additional supplementation through food processing.


      • Educating and informing consumers. It is essential to ensure that expanded and more diverse production and higher incomes translate into healthier diets and better nutrition, particularly for vulnerable populations. Ensuring access to nutrition information for mothers is essential in promoting good nutrition in families. Promoting marketing and advertising campaigns for food diversity can also increase demand for nutrition-sensitive food products.
      • Reducing risk for agricultural investment and production. Crop insurance and catalytic investments can improve the long-term well-being of farmers and provide a stable platform for further improvements in production agriculture.
      • Linking agriculture, nutrition and health communities. Effective nutrition-sensitive agriculture strategies will use a multi-sectorial approach that will build on the common expertise coming from agriculture, nutrition and health sectors.




    • Proponent 

      Private Sector Mechanism of the CFS

      Main responsible entity



      STRYDE 1: 2011 -  2014

      STRYDE 2.0: 2014 - 2019

      Funding source

      The MasterCard Foundation


      East Africa: Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda + Tanzania (phase 2).


      Sub-Saharan Africa has the world’s youngest and fastest-growing population. The median age has dropped to 18 and there are 70 million more Africans under the age of 14 than there were a decade ago. In addition, the rural population of sub-Saharan Africa will increase by an estimated 150 million people by 2050.

      Between 2000 and 2008, about a third of the 74 million (24.6 million) jobs created in Africa were for people ages 15 to 24. However, the number of youth ready for employment far outstrips the jobs being created.

      While a growing number of rural youth are migrating to cities, 70 percent remain in rural areas. Those who stay often lack the skills and knowledge necessary to capitalize on the opportunities available to them. In the long term, youth unemployment can hinder economic growth and lead to political and social unrest.


      The Strengthening Rural Youth Development through Enterprise (STRYDE) was a four-year, $11.5 million partnership between TechnoServe and The MasterCard Foundation to help rural young women and men in East Africa transition to economic independence, mainly by delivering services including skills training, business development and mentoring to young people. Based on the successes and lessons learned from the first phase, a second phase of the program will run until July 2019 targeting additional youth and including new geographies (Tanzania and the Northern region of Uganda).

      Key characteristics of the experience/process

      Agriculture in East Africa is a significant and growing sector of the economy and has the potential to create sustainable employment and income opportunities both on- and off-farm. Through the STRYDE program, young people in rural areas learnt about opportunities in agriculture and gained the market-ready skills to benefit from this demand. Participants in this program took part in a three-month training program to develop life, entrepreneurship and career skills, and they received an additional nine months of mentorship and counseling from a youth trainer. Participants also gained practical business exposure through an experiential business exercise. Young women and men had the opportunity to participate in program-sponsored business plan competitions and local job fairs featuring community businesses. The knowledge they gained from STRYDE helped them to identify the best economic opportunity for their skills and interests.

      STRYDE 2.0 is focusing especially on sustainability. The program will develop the capacity of system actors – local public and private sector partners – to enable them to take on key functions of the model so that the impact can be sustained after the end of the five-year program.

      Key actors involved and their role

      The MasterCard Foundation: provided funding, experience and expertise in helping people living in poverty to access opportunities to learn and prosper.

      TechnoServe: provided extension and training services.

      Key changes observed with regards to food security and nutrition and sustainable agriculture and food systems

      • Increased wealth: most STRYDE alumni increased their incomes by an average of 133 percent, with 90 percent now saving regularly.
      • High share of engagement in on- and off-farm activities: among who have completed training, 37 percent are engaged in farming, 30 percent are currently running micro- and small enterprises, 11 percent have found wage employment and 6 percent have returned to school.
      • Improvement of youth’s skills: participants became better equipped to find employment, to establish or enhance businesses, and to provide reliable sources of income for themselves and their families.

      Challenges faced

      • Negative perceptions of agriculture as an employment option.
      • Lack of technical skills among youth
      • Adapting to the extremely broad variations in education level among rural youth
      • Extending the program to the most vulnerable youth.

      Lessons/Key messages

      • An unprecedented portion of rural youth is leaving the agricultural sector in search of other employment in urban areas. This has serious implications for agricultural productions and, therefore, food security. Ensuring that the agri-food cultural sector provides viable and attractive career prospects for young people will be key to avoid excessive migration of youth to urban areas. This could be done by developing agricultural industries and promoting entrepreneurship.
      • Access to educational resources and more opportunities for post-graduate entrepreneurial and technical training related to agriculture are key to make agriculture attractive to youth.
      • The main factors of STRYDE’s success in achieving this were:

        - Private sector engagement: Business Plan Competition sponsorship, employment opportunities and technical skills development

        - Significant support and engagement from Rwanda’s Ministry of Youth and ICT and district authorities

        - Participatory training methodology using real life examples

        - Exchange visits to learn and gain hands-on experience,

        - Personalized mentorship and coaching for entrepreneurs

        - Personal effectiveness training
    • Proponent 

      Private Sector Mechanism of the CFS

      Main responsible entity

      AgDevCo, ICCO Cooperation, and Root Capital



      Funding source

      The Mastercard Foundation


      Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.


      Smallholder farmers in Africa, need special attention to increase productivity and break out of the cycle of subsistence farming.


      This initiative aims to enable smallholders to produce more, sell better, and work with local organizations in markets that are fair, transparent, and sustainable.

      Key characteristics of the experience/process

      Through its partnerships with AgDevCo, ICCO Cooperation, and Root Capital, The MasterCard Foundation supports multiple activities in the 11 countries. These activities include:

      • providing training and better quality inputs to farmers
      • implementing mobile technology solutions
      • brokering long-term purchase contracts
      • supporting high-impact, early-stage agricultural businesses with capital needs under $150,000 and/or business revenues under $300,000
      • developing and implementing innovative risk-mitigation tools, and
      • developing new agricultural finance products and services for smallholder farmers.

      Key actors involved and their role

      AgDevCo: connecting SME investees – socially responsible faming and agri-processing enterprises in Africa – to hundreds of thousands of farmers, to boost productivity, lift incomes and improve food security

      ICCO Cooperation: supporting rural smallholder farmers, mostly women, to access tailor made financial services. This involves using the “Making Markets Work for the Poor” (M4P) approach to ensure that through capacity building and access to finance they can adopt sustainable agri-business methods and be competitive in the market.

      Root Capital: targeting earlier-stage businesses in Africa operating on the fringes of financial inclusion and providing them with the capital and training they need to become engines of impact in their communities.

      Mastercard Foundation: providing funding for each of these organizations to scale up their activities.

      Key changes observed with regards to food security and nutrition and sustainable agriculture and food systems

      AgDevCo, ICCO Cooperation, and Root Capital are able to expand the support they provide as detailed above to an extra 1.1 million farmers in 11 countries, allowing them to improve their livelihoods and increase food production and supply in the countries involved.

      Challenges faced

      • poor quality inputs
      • lack of access to financial solutions tailored to the needs of smallholder farmers

      Lessons/Key messages

      Improved access to services in rural areas is essential to processes of rural transformation:

      • Smallholder farmers can drive development and bolster food security if they have access to:
        • Appropriate training
        • High-quality inputs
        • Mobile technology
        • Legal services
        • Financial services
        • Risk-mitigation tools
      • Allowing rural smallholders to access lucrative markets (which are often those that supply urban consumers) is one the most effective ways of raising large numbers out of poverty
      • Smallholder farmers need the right opportunities and tools to can become effective entrepreneurs, increase their income and therefore improve the economic situation of their households and of their communities.


    • Proponent

      Private Sector Mechanism of the CFS

      Main responsible entity



      5 years, 2010-15

      Funding source

      The Haiti Hope Project is a public-private partnership comprised of The Coca-Cola Company; the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB); the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); and TechnoServe. The project is also supported by the Soros Economic Development Fund and other international and local organizations.




      Haiti has been an important exporter of coffee, vanilla, cane sugar, cocoa and essential oils throughout its history. Unfortunately, in recent decades deforestation, soil degradation, overpopulation and political instability have taken a heavy toll on rural Haiti. The trade embargo in 1994 ended or severely reduced several industries, and the 2010 earthquake had a severe impact on the people, markets and already suffering infrastructure of the country.

      Haiti produces a unique variety of mango, the Francique, which is full of sweet and spicy flavor. This mango is popular in Haiti and commands a premium on the U.S. market, but production has not kept up with demand. The Haiti Hope Project was created to solve these challenges and unlock value and growth potential for the mango sector in Haiti.


      The Haiti Hope Project was a five-year, $9.5 million partnership among businesses, multilateral development institutions, the U.S. Government and nonprofits, designed to create opportunities for mango farmers and their families.

      Key characteristics of the experience/process

      Launched in 2010, the partnership was helping to address the challenges that have until recently limited the Haitian mango industry’s potential. Haiti Hope aimed to increase the mango income for 25,000 Haitian farmers through training on production and marketing, access to finance and access to markets. In keeping with TechnoServe’s approach to promoting business solutions to poverty, the project taught farmers, traders and exporters how to earn more with their effort and current resources.

      Working with Haitian farmers, farmer groups, mango exporters and the Haitian Government, the project helped to build new businesses, accelerate existing ones and build relationships in the industry that benefit farmers. In addition to coordinating between stakeholders, Haiti Hope delivered direct, hands-on training on mango tree production and care, harvesting techniques, quality control, negotiation and marketing, credit and financial management, traceability and food safety.

      In addition, the Haiti Hope Project took a comprehensive approach to gender, ensuring not only equal participation by women and men, but also equitable benefits from project activities. Participation by gender was tracked for all services offered by the project, as were the benefits and adoption rates of new skills.

      Key actors involved and their role

      The Coca-Cola Company: provided funding, experience and expertise

      the Inter-American Development Bank provided funding, experience and expertise, particularly with regards to financial services for microenterprises and small- and medium-sized businesses.

      The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID): provided funding, experience and expertise

      TechnoServe: provided extension and training services

      Key changes observed with regards to food security and nutrition and sustainable agriculture and food systems

      Providing Skills Training: More than 25,100 farmers were trained on techniques for managing their trees to produce better quality fruit, as well as sales and negotiation skills. In addition, specialized training in harvesting, grafting, nursery production and business skills helped to fill skilled-labor gaps across the industry.

      Empowering Women: The project mainstreamed gender into every aspect of design and implementation. As a result, women made up more than 30 percent of producer group leaders, participated in every type of training and activity in equal numbers to men, including those that have traditionally been male-dominated, and adopted the skills learned at similar rates.

      Connecting Farmers to Markets: The project helped over 262 Producer Business Groups sell 2,523 metric tons since 2013. The total export value (FOB) of sales from project-assisted farmers since 2011 is estimated at $7.49 million. In 2015, 94 percent of groups earned a profit while paying their members industry-beating prices. They did this without any subsidy – just business acumen.

      Supporting Access to Credit: In partnership with local commercial bank Sogesol, more than 9,352 farmers have received over $3.25 million in loan disbursements. Repayment rates of 96 percent are far above the industry average.

      Modernizing the Industry: Working closely with the Haitian Government and exporters, the project designed safe handling practices and rigorous traceability systems that were adapted to Haiti’s unique supply chain. Through these efforts, the project helped to bring world-class food safety practices to the mango industry and opened new markets.

      Making Change Sustainable: The project ensured that the knowledge, skills and systems created by the project will continue long after its completion in December 2015. By taking steps such as transitioning Producer Business Group support to exporters and training Ministry of Agriculture staff on traceability, the project handed over management to ensure the industry continues to grow for years to come.

      Challenges faced

      • scattered production with just three to five trees per garden,
      • low prices that discouraged farmers from planting additional trees and
      • inconsistent and unreliable supply chain

      Lessons/Key messages

      • Gender mainstreaming is essential to ensure that benefits are extended to all stakeholders.

        Improved access to services in rural areas is a key ingredient in development:
      • Access to financial services for rural producers is essential to allow them to invest in their operations and improve their livelihoods.
      • Access to extension services allows them to improve the quality and yield of their harvests, and take advantage of new opportunities and new markets.
      • The private sector can be a useful partner in providing and extending the coverage of these services, creating win-win situations by allowing rural producers to



    • CFS – Urbanization and Rural Transformatioin

      Experiences and Effective Policy Approaches in Addressing Food Security and Nutrition in the Context of Changing Rural-Urban Dynamics

      PSM Submission


      The scale and pace of urbanization is currently greater than it has ever been. Just over half of the global population lives in towns and cities, and this is expected to rise to 66% by 2050. Absolute numbers of rural inhabitants are projected to begin declining in the very near future[i]. The consequences of this for food production and consumption have been and will continue to be dramatic. This is of particular concern considering that many of the most rapidly urbanizing regions are counted among the least food secure. On the other hand, rural-urban linkages present an unprecedented opportunity for rural transformation.

      Private sector efforts to address food security and nutrition issues in the context of changing rural-urban dynamics have generally clustered around 3 key priorities: facilitating access of rural producers to urban markets, providing services in underserved rural areas, and promoting urban farming solutions. The PSM would like to share information about these three areas illustrated by several case studies. Some of these case-studies will be indivually developed through the template form.

      Access to markets

      One of the most effective ways to accelerate rural transformation is to ensure that rural producers are able to access and participate in regional markets on favourable terms. Often, this means connecting them to the value chains that cater to rapidly growing demand in urban areas. Current trends include a marked increase in demand for high value agricultural products, in particular (e.g. fruits, vegetables, animal-source foods, including dairy) in cities. Helping rural producers take advantage of the opportunities presented by this can improve food security and nutrition outcomes in both rural and urban environments, ensuring improved access to divers diets in cities, and improved livelihoods in the countryside. Private sector actors can facilitate this in a number of ways, as attested by the following case study:

      CASE-STUDY: Facilitating dissemination of market information through mobile technology: Esoko started in 2005 as a means of enabling the delivery of market prices via SMS, in support of work that FoodNet was doing with MTN in Uganda. In addition, Esoko set up a call centre to support local languages and address issues with literacy. Over time weather alerts, crop advice, and services linking buyers with sellers were added, potentially improving farmer incomes by roughly 10%. The company leverages its technical platform and field force in order to collect information, mostly using tablet devices and smartphones. Today, it also provides smallholders with access to inputs and finance through a virtual marketplace, while driving business for input dealers and financial service providers.

      More information is available here:

      Services to support rural-urban linkages

      One of the greatest impediments to current processes of rural transformation is lack of access to services (financial, educational, etc…) in rural areas. There is great scope for private sector actors to step in and provide the necessary services. The following are some examples of this:

      CASE-STUDY Haiti Hope Project: The Haiti Hope Project was a five-year, $9.5 million public-private partnership among businesses, multilateral development institutions, the U.S. Government and NGOs. The project aimed to create sustainable economic opportunities for Haitian mango farmers and their families by fostering rural transformation, in part through supporting linkages between rural producers and lucrative urban markets. Haiti Hope markedly increased the income of 25,000 Haitian mango farmers through training on production and marketing, access to finance and access to markets. The project helped to build new businesses, accelerate existing ones and build relationships in the industry that benefit farmers. In addition to coordinating between stakeholders, Haiti Hope delivered direct, hands-on training on mango tree production and care, harvesting techniques, quality control, negotiation and marketing, credit and financial management, traceability and food safety. The project also took a comprehensive approach to gender, ensuring not only equal participation by women and men, but also equitable benefits from project activities. Participation by gender was tracked for all services offered by the project, as were the benefits and adoption rates of new skills.

      More information available here:

      and here:

      CASE-STUDY: Equipping rural youth with entrepreneurial skills: TechnoServe and The MasterCard Foundation have undertaken a four-year program to help rural young women and men in East Africa to develop the skills necessary to take advantage of the opportunities presented by current socio-economic trends. The Strengthening Rural Youth Development through Enterprise (STRYDE) program will deliver a comprehensive package of services such as skills training, business development and mentoring to young people ages 18 to 30 in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. The programme aims to equip 15,000 rural youth with the skills and knowledge to capitalize on economic opportunities and increase their incomes, thereby improving food security and nutritional outcomes in rural areas. Youth unemployment is a major problem in the three target countries, especially in rural areas. Many young people see farming as a last resort, and formal employment is difficult to find. Growing numbers of rural youth are migrating to urban areas. In response to this, the programme offers rural youth a three-month training program to develop entrepreneurship and career skills, along with an additional nine months of mentorship and counseling from a youth trainer. Participants also will gain practical business exposure through an experiential business exercise.

      More information is available here:

      CASE-STUDY: Building an integrated urban-rural sanitation value chain: Sanergy has established a working business model that builds low-cost hygienic latrines in Kenya’s slums and franchises them out to local entrepreneurs. The Sanergy team then collects the waste daily, brings it to a central processing facility, and converts it to organic fertilizer for use by commercial farmers. This helps deal with health challenges in informal urban communities, while providing a cheap and organic source of fertilizers.

      More information is available here:

      And here:

      Urban Farming

      With an ever greater proportion of the world’s population living in cities, urban farming is set to become an increasingly significant part of integrated food systems. It allows the greening of cities, educating urban populations about the origins of their food, and encouraging small-scale fresh produce production. Changing rural-urban dynamics mean that urban agriculture will need to be a part of any comprehensive food security and nutrition strategies. Examples of successful urban farming initiatives include:

      Gotham Greens Urban Agriculture’s operation of rooftop greenhouses for food provision in several American metropolises:

      Brooklyn Grange’s intensive rooftop farming in New York City:

      Aerofarm’s vertical farming without soil or natural light in New Jersey:

      Biofilta’s vertical farming/water filtration systems:


      [i] UNDESA, World Urbanization Prospects, (New York: the United Nations, 2014),

    • UN Decade of Action on Nutrition

      Draft Programme

      Comments from the Private Sector Mechanism


      The Private Sector Mechanism  welcomes the opportunity to provide comments on the work programme of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition. Several PSM members have already commented individually, this is a summary of our views.


      1.     Does the work programme present a compelling vision for enabling strategic interaction and mutual support across existing initiatives, platforms, forums and programmes, given the stipulation of Res 70/259 that the Decade should be organized with existing institutions and available resources?

      The PSM supports the overall aim of the Work Programme to provide a clearly-defined, time-bound operational framework for governments to adopt and implement nutrition-related initiatives to create sustainable food systems and enabling environments that promote healthy dietary practices and support the fulfillment of ICN2 commitments and achievement of the diet-related NCD targets by 2025 and the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. PSM supports a Work Programme that is guided by the principles of inclusiveness and we are encouraged that the current draft work programme recognizes recognises that addressing all forms of malnutrition and NCDs requires the commitment of all sectors and of a wide range of stakeholders, including the private sector.


      2.     What are your general comments to help strengthen the presented elements of the first draft work programme of the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition?

      The PSM supports the selection of the 6 priority areas. On trade, we would like to point that trade policy frameworks that foster open, dynamic, and competitive economies increase food security and improve nutritional outcomes. Trade is an essential tool for ensuring commodities and food can be effectively and affordably distributed when and where they are needed and for promoting economic opportunities for producers[1], in particular smallholder farmers and SMEs. Trade also creates opportunities beyond the farm because of the potential for value-added employment in food processing, marketing and distribution[2]. Trade policies also have a knock-on effect on farmers’ and countries’ decisions to invest in agriculture and to adopt new technologies. Open markets and private enterprise are critical for development and are an important part of achieving SDG 1 and 2. Trade liberalization protects national food markets against domestic shocks, and thus insulates vulnerable consumers from price volatility, by allowing more food to be imported in times of shortage and exported in periods of plenty. Standard setting is of key importance to trade. Global standards need to be science-based and developed through broad-based consultations. The Codex Alimentarius plays a critical role in food trade, as the most important international standard setting body in the areas of food safety, quality and fairness. It enables trade in agricultural products to benefit producers, importers and consumers.


      3.     Do you feel you can contribute to the success of the Nutrition Decade or align yourself with the proposed range of action areas?

      In order to effectively achieve the Decade of Action’s goals, we believe that the private sector should play a key role in helping people everywhere to achieve and maintain balanced diets and healthy lifestyles. Improving food security worldwide requires the collective effort of all stakeholders. We support actions for sustainable food systems that promote healthy and safe diets and strategies that integrate nutrition and food safety objectives into food and agriculture policies and strengthen local food production and processing. We believe that real progress can be made only through a constructive, transparent engagement between Governments, international organizations, the private sector and civil society. The Private Sector Mechanism is committed to working with all stakeholders to contribute to the success of the Decade.

      4.     How could this draft work programme be improved to promote collective action to achieve the transformational change called for by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the ICN2 outcomes? What is missing?

      The PSM continues to advocate for a focus on foods and diets rather than single nutrients in any policy development and activities, other than where specific micronutrient deficiencies need to be addressed through targeted food fortification and/or supplements. Foods and diets are far more than the sum of their individual nutrients. Nutrients are not consumed in isolation and it is inaccurate to generalize about the effects of a single nutrient without considering the food matrix in which it is present. In some countries, dietary guidelines are shifting away from recommendations based on nutrients or foods in isolation and now focus primarily on healthy eating patterns.

      In addition, we wish to underline the added value of focusing on stimulating concrete nationally-determined policies and programmes with the objective of creating sustainable food systems and enabling environments that promote healthy dietary practices. A localized approach is of utmost importance in order to ensure member state ownership of initiatives and policies in the context.

      We wish to support HarvestPlus comments when they note that “Two important issues/topics that we think are missing from the action areas are: (a) both in situ and ex situ conservation of agricultural biodiversity – which is crucial for the development of productive and nutritious varieties/breeds of crops and livestock that are adapted to ever-changing and agroclimatic conditions, and (b) biofortification, i.e., development and delivery of micronutrient-enriched staple food crops, which has been proven to improve vitamin A and iron deficiency status.  Both conservation of agricultural biodiversity and promotion of biofortified crops merit inclusion under action area 1 (sustainable, resilient food systems for healthy diets). UNSCN might consider consulting/collaborating with the Convention on Biological Diversity on (a), and with HarvestPlus on (b).  Both of these topics should also be included among the potential topics for the development of commitments and the establishment of action networks, listed in table 1.”

      Finally, we do not understand Table 1 in Annex: Potential topics for the development of commitments and the establishment of action networks. We are not sure what this is meant to be, how the list was compiled and how it is supposed to be used. The list of topics sounds eclectic and not based on any particular piece of research. We would recommend deleting it from the work programme at this stage, unless clarification is given into how it was developed, what the rationale and criteria were for selecting the topics and how they are meant to be used.  


      5.     Do you have specific comments on the section on accountability and shared learning?


      We are encouraged to see that the Work Programme recognizes that actions taken by governments and other stakeholders must rely on the latest scientific evidence. The PSM also strongly believes that policy initiatives must be supported by strong scientific evidence.