Ten principles for responsible investment in food systems

Marcela Villareal, Direktorin der Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

The FAO presented its ten Principles for Responsible Investments in Agriculture and Food Systems at a conference.

​According to the United Nations, the world’s population is expected to grow from 7.4 billion today to 9 billion by 2050. Land and water resources will, however, remain limited. If we also consider that around two billion people currently live in poverty and hunger, "this is an enormous challenge for the world’s food systems; large-scale investments are needed," said Marcela Villareal in her introduction. At the end of April 2016, the Director of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) presented the FAO's ten Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems at the Agricultural Institute in Grangeneuve (Fribourg). The event was a joint initiative by the FAO, the Federal Office for Agriculture, Agridea and the canton of Fribourg.

Annual investment of 83 billion

The principles have been approved by the FAO’s Committee on World Food Security. It expects that increase global food production will require an average yearly investment of 83 billion dollars. The committee brings together governments, private-sector organisations, international research institutions, international financial institutions and United Nations agencies. "The discussions took place over a two-year period until the stakeholders – which include Switzerland – finally agreed on the ten principles", recalled Bernard Lehmann, Director of the Federal Office for Agriculture. Overall, they are intended to improve the social, economic and environmental sustainability of agricultural systems and benefit populations that are at risk of food insecurity.

The ten principles put forward by the Committee on World Food Security are not obligatory. The task is now to find a way to implement these principles, whether at government level, in markets, at the producers or at the processors. Over the coming months, the Swiss Confederation also has to outline how it will set about implementing these principles. One of the biggest challenges facing the people who attended the event in Grangeneuve will be to make the agricultural profession more attractive to younger generations, in both the northern and southern hemispheres.