I wish to comment on the transformational aspect of the program as presently described - i.e., whether changes to food systems will be transformational from this investment, and whether these will be accompanied by concomitant benefits to global biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, as well as actions to reverse land degradation.
The program as described appears to describe a balanced approach with improved on-farm practices, landscape level management interventions, and small to medium scale business interventions leading to improved livelihood benefits, mitigation of pollution from agriculture, improved on-farm and land management practices, and reduced impacts to biodiversity. These are coupled with macro level interventions to improve policies and governance related to food systems.
While the above interventions will be beneficial, as currently described it is difficult to imagine how these benefits will transcend incrementality and become truly transformational in nature. For instance, referring to the recent Global Biodiversity Framework adopted in December, it is not clear from the theory of change and results framework how transformational benefits for biodiversity on the scale needed by 2030 will be delivered through this major investment.
The majority of the impacts to the global environment, particularly biodiversity loss and GHG emissions, derive from the production of meat protein at large scale - particularly beef - and the majority of the demand for this production stems from wealthier countries. For some time there has been significant consolidation going on in this sector, which is defined by increasingly vertically integrated production models led by led by private companies (often very large and multinational) with corresponding backing from large financial institutions which together represent the majority of the meat protein we consume - along with the biodiversity, GHG, and pollution impacts this type of production model entails. A focus on small to medium sized farming and agricultural enterprises will make a positive contribution on reducing pollution, GHGs, and delivering biodiversity benefits. However, it is unlikely that interventions largely focused at this level will transform global food systems.