Agribusiness Issue

Agribusiness Issue

Director, Cross-Cutting Advisory Solutions Department,
IFC

Global Head, Agribusiness & Forestry, Investment Services, IFC

It is a bleak statistic for an already overworked planet: a world that by 2050 will be bursting with over 9 billion people. That’s an additional two billion people that must be fed and clothed every day amid a growing scarcity of, and conflict over, land, water and energy resources.

For those working in agriculture, the challenges have never been greater. These include the impacts of climate-related disasters such as droughts in Africa and Asia as well as increasing energy costs, growing waste and eco-system damage across the globe. Inefficient farming practices, including low-technology farming, complicate the picture.

While these problems may seem intractable, many innovative business solutions — showcased in this magazine — are already delivering win-win outcomes in terms of financial returns and sustainable development. These breakthroughs of technology and ideas not only maximize productivity, but also optimize delivery across a far more complex landscape of financial, environmental and social outcomes.

At IFC, we know that unleashing the creative power of the private sector is critical to ensuring sustainable and equitable agricultural development. We combine investments and advisory services to help the sector address supply and demand challenges and opportunities in climate-smart and socially inclusive ways. We also support global initiatives for sustainable production of agricultural commodities.

At the end of June 2013, IFC’s investment portfolio in agriculture and forestry totaled $4.25 billion. In 2012 alone, our investments helped our clients reach 3.1 million farmers.

In this magazine, we offer a first-hand insight into how forward-thinking companies and organizations have increased agri-productivity, delivered quality products to markets, and managed vital resources more efficiently. These approaches can be replicated by other companies – including IFC clients – to address common challenges.

They include companies such as Alqueria, Bayer, Ecom, Coca-Cola, IBM, Marks and Spencer, Mars, Metro, and Sense-T in addition to contributors like the Cherie Blair Foundation, the Vodafone Foundation, the UN, the University of California at Davis, the World Economic Forum, and the World Cocoa Foundation.

We are also offering a collection of useful resources including reports, tools and advice from the World Bank Group, academia, media and other international organizations who are on the front lines of sustainability and business.

We hope you will enjoy reading about the experiences and ideas laid out in this magazine. We look forward to working together with you to deliver sustainable solutions to the toughest problems that lie at the critical intersection between business and development. Because – as it is also highlighted throughout this magazine – it is only through constructive partnerships that we can achieve true progress.

Facts and Figures

60-70%  increase in food production is needed to feed more than 9 billion people by 2050.*
60-70%

increase in food production is needed to feed more than 9 billion people by 2050.*

73% is the expected increase in the demand for meat by 2050, driven from an emerging global middle class.*
73%

is the expected increase in the demand for meat by 2050, driven from an emerging global middle class.*

80% of the food consumed in a large part of the developing world is provided by small farmers. ***
80%

of the food consumed in a large part of the developing world is provided by small farmers. ***

79% increase in productivity can be expected if smallholder farmers adopt sustainable agricultural practices.*
79%

increase in productivity can be expected if smallholder farmers adopt sustainable agricultural practices.*

70% of the world's freshwater withdrawals are used in agriculture - this reaches 95% in developing countries.*
70%

of the world’s freshwater withdrawals are used in agriculture – this reaches 95% in developing countries.*

38.5% of the world land is dedicated to agriculture.*
38.5%

of the world land is dedicated to agriculture.*

1/4 to 1/3 of all food produced for human consumption is lost of wasted. **
1/4 to 1/3

of all food produced for human consumption is lost of wasted. **

842 million people

experienced chronic hunger in 2011–13.*

$3.5 trillion

is the cost to the global economy caused by lost productivity related to malnutrition and lack of direct health care.*

$450 billion

is the estimated global demand for small farmer agricultural finance.°

100-150 million people

could escape hunger if women farmers had the same access to productivity resources as men.*

* Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
** FAO and World Resources Institute – World Food Price Watch, February 2014
*** UN Report 2013, Smallholders, food security and the environment
° Catalyzing Smallholder Agricultural Finance report, published by Dalberg in September 2012