Our world’s agricultural and food (agrifood) systems have been threatened severely by the effects of climate change. According to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 828 million people suffered from hunger in 2021, which was 150 million more than that in the year 2019. This was one of the reasons that prompted immediate actions from all sectors. Many are hoping that agricultural and food systems hold the key to ending world hunger.
INITIATIVE FOR THE AGRIFOOD SYSTEMS
However, the support for agrifood systems remains low. Maria Helena Semedo, FAO deputy director-general specified that from 2000 to 2028 the agriculture and land use sector only received 26% of the global climate finance flows. The Food and Agriculture for Sustainable Transformation Initiative (FAST) was officially launched on November 12th 2022 and aims to improve “the quantity and quality of climate finance contributions to transform agriculture and food systems by 2030, to support adaptation and maintain a 1.5-degree pathway whilst supporting food and economic security.” FAST will be facilitated by FAO with three main deliverable pillars developed by the multi-stakeholders:
Finance Pillar to enhance country capacities to identify and access climate finance and investments
Knowledge and Capacity Pillar to provide necessary analyses, developing voluntary guidelines and supporting capacity development across stakeholders
Policy Supports and Dialogues Pillar to ensure agrifood systems are fully embedded, and given the needed priority and importance, in climate change policies
The initiative will be focused on the most vulnerable countries that will be beneficial for all—people, climate, and nature.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BUSINESSES
Businesses in the agricultural and food system will have access to knowledge and information from FAST such as analyses, guidelines, and tools that would recommend and support financial flows to reach the organizations in need. Moreover, knowledge platforms such as FAO’s Climate Change Knowledge Hub will help support innovation with data and various learning materials for agriculture and food organizations. Management should utilize these resources to improve their organizations’ performance. These platforms also allow stakeholders to network and exchange insights. Businesses in agrifood systems can expect to receive more support from now on as FAST has highlighted the need for agrifood to be embedded in climate change policies.
The bottom line is, hopefully, we will get to see more tangible deliverables for the agriculture and food industries from both the public and private sectors. FAST intends to be a part of the solution to climate change and increase food security to potentially end world hunger. Agricultural and food systems are fundamental aspects of our well-being, as it directly provides for our health and nutrition. It is directly impacted by the change in our environment; thus, challenges remain to make the agrifood systems sustainable.
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