Smallholder Farmers are the Backbone of Global Food Security and Sustainability: Yara International Speaks at the World Economic Forum’s New Champion Dialogues 2022

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SHANGHAI, July 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — On July 18-19, the World Economic Forum (WEF) held its Annual Meeting of the New Champions (AMNC) 2022 in a virtual format in Tianjin. “The Champion Dialogues: Navigating Uncertainty” attracted over 1,100 business leaders, government officials, and non-governmental organization (NGO) executives from 90 countries, including senior executives from Norwegian agricultural multinational corporation (MNC), Yara International.

Fernanda speaking in the “Averting a Worldwide Food Crisis” session

These leaders engaged in discussions around critical issues impacting the world today. These included: global food security, carbon neutrality and sustainability, ESG (environmental, social, and governance), and supply chains. China-related discussions on the economy, energy, healthcare, and digital technology and innovation also featured prominently during the Summit.

Fernanda Lopes Larsen, Yara’s Executive Vice President (EVP) for Africa & Asia, and Doris Yu, Senior Vice President of Yara China, participated in the two-day Summit. Fernanda spoke in three sessions, of which her session on global food security (“Averting a Worldwide Food Crisis”) was livestreamed globally. Fernanda also participated in a private senior Chinese government dialogue; this session was attended by nearly 400 business executives and entrepreneurs.

Fernanda Lopes Larsen, Yara’s Executive Vice President (EVP) for Africa & Asia

WEF has indicated that record-high global food prices may drive 47 million people in 81 countries to the edge of famine in the near future. Fernanda highlighted during the AMNC that the key to global food and environmental security lies in three areas: smallholder farmers, soil and crop health, and technology.

Smallholder farmers are really the backbone of local, regional, national, and global food production on a massive scale. 70% of the world’s 608 million family farms are smallholders. China’s 210 million smallholder farmers make up 98% of the country’s total farming population. They also account for 60% of smallholders in Asia. In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 60% of the region’s farmers are smallholders, and 33 million smallholder farms in Africa contribute 70% of the continent’s food supply.

Most smallholder farmers globally are engaged in subsistence farming, producing crops on less than 10mu (roughly 0.67-1 hectare) of land. They often lack access to knowledge on appropriate agronomic practices which can protect and regenerate soil health. As many smallholders are unbanked, obtaining financial and insurance solutions to help them grow their businesses and expand food production is often difficult. Most also lack access to technologies which could help them improve their soil health, maximize crop yields, and connect to global retailers.

Fernanda commented “This year, Yara is celebrating our 50th anniversary in China! During this time, we have witnessed in China a revolution that is transforming the country from one largely based on agriculture and heavy industry, to a nation with some of the world’s most advanced and innovative technologies.

As much as China and the world have changed remarkably over the last 50 years, agriculture and farming are still critical to feeding all of us and our children. Smallholder farmers – like those we partner with in China and other countries – are the backbone of food production and food security here and around the world.”

Doris Yu, Yara’s Senior Vice President for China

Doris Yu, Yara’s Senior Vice President for China: “In China, Yara partners with smallholder farmers and other partners across the domestic and global food chain to help provide knowledge, crop nutrition solutions, innovative technologies, access to financing and technology, and access to retailers and global partners.

Supporting food security in China is a critical part of Yara’s 50-year history here. We focus significantly on soil health, crop health, and smallholder farmer empowerment in order to help our partners generate and deliver larger crop yields – in an environmentally responsible and sustainable manner – that contribute to the health of families in China and abroad. 

Digital technology is a key driver; it is helping to transform agriculture and farming globally. We are very proud that Yara’s regional digital farming hub in Shanghai is one of four such hubs globally that support our company’s food production and smallholder farmer empowerment efforts.”

About Yara International ASA

Founded in 1905 and headquartered in Oslo, Yara International ASA is the world’s leading crop nutrition company and a provider of environmental and agricultural solutions. The company has 18,000 employees and operations in more than 60 countries.

Supporting Yara’s vision of a world without hunger and a planet respected, the company pursues a strategy of sustainable value growth, promoting climate-friendly crop nutrition and zero-emission energy solutions. Yara’s ambition is focused on growing a nature positive food future that creates value for its customers, shareholders, and society at large, while delivering a more sustainable food value chain.

About Yara Africa & Asia (YAA)

Yara Africa & Asia (YAA) was formed in June 2020; it is one of three key geographic business units within Yara International. Headquartered in Singapore – and with more than 1,800 employees – YAA provides smallholder farmers in 22 market economies across Africa and Asia with the knowledge, crop nutrition solutions, and best practices to sustainably improve soil and crop health, yields, and economic livelihoods.

About Yara China

Yara is celebrating its 50th anniversary in China this year, having opened its first office in Hong Kong in 1972, and a second office in Guangzhou in 1993.

To better serve the needs of Chinese farmers and the nutrition of the Chinese people, Yara established its China regional headquarters in Shanghai in 2010 and established a regional data farming and innovation center in Shanghai in 2021. This is only one of four such regional digital hubs for Yara globally.

SOURCE Yara International

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