With the objective of helping targeted rural communities benefit from more inclusive, sustainable food systems, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has signed a new partnership agreement with Rabobank, a Dutch cooperative bank.
The collaboration also involves joint exploration of using innovative financial instruments in order to bridge financing gaps and the promotion of sustainability in food systems investments.
FAO and Rabobank will work with key food and agriculture sectors on a series of projects designed to empower smallholder farmers, help lower GHG emissions, improve land and water use to address the challenges of climate change and reduction of food wastage.
Special attention will be paid in ensuring the inclusion of poor, vulnerable and marginalized groups, including women and youth.
The collaboration will begin with a review of the dairy sector in two pilot countries, India and Kenya, with a view to reducing food losses in the sector and promoting a transition to more sustainable food systems.
The dairy sector has an important role to play in food systems transformation, as it contributes to food security and nutrition and provides livelihoods for a number of actors along the food value chain. Though dairy production also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, it holds huge potential for improvement.
“The new partnership between FAO and Rabobank will serve to support our work to transform food systems so that they can become more inclusive and sustainable, especially within the context of the COVID-19 response and the need to build back, better. In particular, it will focus on improved land and water use, lowering greenhouse gas emissions and food loss while increasing the resilience of farmers and small-scale businesses,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu.
COVID-19 has shown us that our food systems need a ‘new normal’,” said Berry Martin, Board Member of Rabobank. “We need to identify and analyze finance gaps and debate short and long supply chains. We must focus on innovative ways to reward sustainability investments, such as implementing ‘nature costing’, a pricing structure that reflects food’s environmental impact.”
The partnership will not only explore the possibility of climate finance programming incentives but also map agricultural supply chains to identify opportunities for green finance hotspots.
It may be mentioned here that FAO has also previously collaborated with the Rabobank Foundation, a corporate foundation funded by the bank, on projects to improve the incomes of smallholder farmers in Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Kenya through better access to financial tools & investments.