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World Ag Congress : World Ag Congress
14 World Agricultural Forum 2009 Congress Q: Cargill works around the world and has some direct experiences in regions where Langee's Planning and Zoning has been a challenge. We would welcome your thoughts on how you dealt with those. A (Racquet): We are trying to advance food security goals in conjunction with sustainability goals. We think the private sector has a strong role in three areas: Investing in the local production and supply chain solutions to reduce the stress across the supply chain on habitat, while increasing productivity. To provide technical assistance and capacity building that improves the methods that farmers can use. To participate in new corporate responsibility models that use multiple partner and stakeholder solutions from across the supply chain belief systems that we interact with. I think there is one monumental challenge, and that is the lack of a transparent system of land ownership that has clear and enforceable rights. I am speaking about small holders, because if they do not have assurance that the land on which they are producing their product is going to be theirs next year, there is zero incentive to improve, invest, or do better. Q: With Hershey Company, cocoa, along with sugar and milk, is certainly your lifeblood. Can you from a risk manage- ment perspective, tell us a bit about how you and Hershey and the cocoa industry view that? A (Day): Cocoa represents a very interesting case study on how private industry has come together with governments in cocoa- consuming countries and cocoa- producing countries and NGOs, and put together an effective partnership to make cocoa cultivation a little bit more sustainable. Cocoa production has grown at about 2.5% per year over the last 30 years and the majority of that increase has come from expanding acres and very little in the way of productivity improvements. The good news is we think we have a program in place where we can effectively double yields in West Africa with existing technology. The Mars Company convened in 1998, a cocoa sustainability confer- ence and met with cocoa bean processers, chocolate companies, academics and research specialists from around the world. Over time, we built up a consensus. By 2000, we had some programs in place working with the International Institute of Tropical Agricultural. By 2004, we launched the World Cocoa Foundation. We now have 70 companies that are members of the World Cocoa Foundation. That greatly expanded our financial base. We now have a professional staff that can devote their full time to this issue. They have been extremely good at leveraging the Foundation's financial resources with USAID, government agencies and the European Union, and with NGOs. We have greatly expanded our farmer field school. We also have a system of research grants that we issue every year. With programs in place that will help lift people out of poverty and will help the environment, there are actually a lot of people and money out there that we can leverage. Q: You do a lot of work in Africa with seed producers and smaller farmers. What do you see as the most significant challenges for small-holders? A (Funk): There are three big develop- ments in the seed industry that to some extent are really bypassing Africa. The first is germ plasma development. There is a huge amount of germ plasma that really has not been developed and adapted to Africa. The second is seed treatments. Particularly in tropical environ- ments, delivering chemical treat- ments that are bonded to seed is a much safer way of delivering chemicals and it can increase yields. The third is the whole biotech question, but particularly some of the work that is going on now through Monsanto and the Gates Foundation working on the Water Efficient Maze for Africa (WEMA) project. There are some wonderful projects in the works. The single most important thing we can do to improve food security in Africa, is very clear: seeds. It is available to all small-holder farm- ers, available everywhere, and it has such a huge impact that we are not serious about doing this. It often does not take much money, but you need to distribute it to the right people and have the right incentives there. I think seed is really the best hope for food security and for land sustainability. Q: Tell us your thoughts on the feasibility of more with less, and in particular, looking outside the farm. A (Kahn): The biggest opportunity in MORE FROM LESS: SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS FOR MEETING DEMAND Bonnie E. Raquet, Corporate Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Cargill, Inc.; Frank Day, Director, Hershey Co.; Aline O'Connor Funk, Former CEO, Channel BIO Corp.; Gene Kahn, Vice President of Sustainability, General Mills; and Kevin Igli, Senior VP, Tyson Foods Q & A SESSION WITH JOHN BUCHANAN, SENIOR DIRECTOR, CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL, MODERATOR John Buchanan