Fair ideas - Making agricultural investments work for small scale farmers
17th June, Room: Auditorium, 11:30 - 13:00
In recent years, private sector expectations of higher agricultural commodity prices and government concerns about longer-term food and energy security have triggered a wave of large-scale land acquisitions for agricultural investments in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Dubbed 'land grabs', land acquisitions have kindled much international debate: some see new livelihood opportunities in lower-income countries, others raise concerns about negative social impacts, threats to local food security and the risk of marginalising family farmers. Still others point to more inclusive models of agricultural investment and sustainable agricultural intensification as the main way forward. This session will discuss the challenges and opportunities concerning private sector investment in agriculture, with a focus on possible ways forward, particularly investment models that support and build on the aspirations of small-scale farmers.
Lindiwe Majele Sibanda (chair), Chief Executive Officer and Head of Diplomatic Mission, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), South Africa
Lindiwe coordinates policy research and advocacy on food policies, agricultural productivity, natural resources and environment, and the impact of HIV/ Aids in 16 African countries. She serves as trustee for two CGIAR boards and has published intensively on agricultural development. Lindiwe also holds a PhD in Animal Sciences, and is a practicing cattle farmer.
Ruud van Eck, Director, Diligent Energy Systems, the Netherlands
Ruud is a seasoned entrepreneur. In 2004, he founded Diligent Energy Systems to develop biofuel production in Tanzania — one of the first commercial companies to focus on sustainable Jatropha production in Africa. Ruud's main fields of expertise include processing technologies, market development for biofuel and biomass products, and business partner search.
Sara Namirembe, Research Analyst and Coordinator of PRESA (Pro-poor Rewards for Environmental Services in Africa), World Agroforestry Centre, Kenya
Sara has worked in both academic (Makerere University) and nongovernment sectors. Prior to joining the World Agroforestry Centre, she was with the Katoomba Payments for Ecosystems Services Incubator programme of Forest Trends. Sara has extensive experience in supporting collaborative and participatory natural resource management and conservation; she facilitated institutional and community networks to develop collaborative action plans for managing forest resources in the Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest landscape, Albertine Rift.
Willian Clementino da Silva Matias, Secretary for Agrarian Policies, Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores na Agricultura (CONTAG), Brazil
Mr. da Silva Matias will be replaced by Alessandra da Costa Lunas, Vice President, Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores na Agricultura (CONTAG).
Alessandra da Costa Lunas, Vice President, Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores na Agricultura (CONTAG), Brazil
Alessandra Lunas has been active in the peasant movement since a young age. Born to a farmer father in Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul state, her political activism was influenced by her mother -- a teacher involved in union issues. From 1999-2002 she worked for FETAGRO/RO – the Federation of Agricultural Workers of Rondonia, the state where she has lived for the past 11 years. In 2005 she became the federation’s President and in the same year became Secretary for Social Politics with CONTAG – the National Confederation of Agricultural Workers. She took part in major protests such as the historic milk strike that paralysed dairy production across Rondonia in 2002. Lunas has been a vocal advocate on complex issues that include rural education, health, youth welfare and workers’ rights. She says the environment is a priority for the rural labour movement as it is critical to the survival of family farms.
Emerson Zhou (TBC), Manager, Beira Agricultural Growth Corridor (BAGC), Mozambique
Under Emerson’s leadership, BAGC aims to promote investment in agriculture in central Mozambique by facilitating the entry socially responsible investors who are willing to develop business models supporting smallholder farmers. Emerson is an agricultural value chain development specialist and has served as a consultant on many smallholder market linkage development programmes in Africa. He also previously worked for farmer organisations within the Southern African region.