Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, October 20, 2014

10 Big Ideas to Increase Availability and Improve Access to Food by 2025

12 October 2014. Washington. The report “Unleashing The Potential For Global Food and Agriculture - A Call For Innovation And Leadership” that was presented during the Duisenberg Lecture that was held in conjunction with the Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank.

“Africa is critical to feeding the planet’s growing population. We have huge opportunity and challenge within our grasp.”

To demonstrate both what is needed and what is possible, Rabobank has developed ten big ideas in global Food and Agriculture aimed at boosting global food availability and improving access to food over the next decade However, while innovation may be the key ingredient, leadership will be the single most important tool in overcoming these difficulties and putting these big ideas into practice.

These ten ideas are:
  1. Adopt big data in U.S. agriculture, boosting grain and oilseed production and resource efficiency, leading to another 20 million tonnes of grain and oilseed output by 2025.
  2. Close the yield gap in Central and Eastern Europe, consolidating F&A to increase production. This will create an additional nine million tonnes of grain production over the next decade.
  3. Improve China's food security, taking domestic actions to complement agriculture imports. This will drive a 61 million tonne improvement in grain production and a three million tonne lift in oilseed output by 2025.
  4. Strengthen South-South trade, linking South America’s production potential to Asia’s demand, leading to another 20 million tonnes of soybean trade from South America to China over 10 years.
  5. Invest in local storage, reducing post-harvest food losses in Sub-Saharan Africa and creating an 8 million tonne increase in grain and oilseed availability over the next decade.
  6. Boost production in the F&A engine room, capitalizing on Brazil’s grain and oilseed and animal protein potential. This will create an 11 million tonne lift in meat production and a 22 million tonne increase in grain and oilseed output by 2025.
  7. Develop cold chains in China, leading to a 40 million tonne increase in meat and seafood availability over 10 years.
  8. Grow aquaculture, kickstarting the tilapia industry in Latin America and increasing production by two million tonnes by 2025.
  9. Lift dairy production in India, improving rural incomes and increasing output by the liquid milk equivalent of 30 million tonnes over the next decade.
  10. Raise sugarcane's productivity, improving consistency of yields and cane quality in Brazil, and boosting sugar output by 16 million tonnes by 2025. 
The report argues that harnessing innovation requires a shift in mindsets, to accept that business as usual is not likely be the right way forward. Although global Food and Agriculture has seen much change over the past decade, there is still some reluctance to accept that the future is going to be different, or appreciation of how different global Food and Agriculture is going to have to be in order to successfully respond to the significant constraints that come with the long-term opportunities.

Innovation, it is suggested, should be focussed in two areas. 
  1. The first is in basic research and development (R and D), to discover new technologies and practices that are implementable at a commercial scale. 
  2. The second focus area is in business models, which need to change to accelerate the take-up of new technologies and practices in ways that better manage risk and better align investments and returns.

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