LOS CABOS, MEXICO — Greg Page, chairman and chief executive officer of Minneapolis-based Cargill, voiced his support for the new recommendations to improve global food security, including increased public and private sector investment in agriculture, and the strengthening of national-level food security programs. Recommendations were provided as part of the Mexico Business 20 (B20) Summit held in advance of the G20 Summit in Los Cabos June 18-19.
“Today we live in a time where the world is the furthest it has ever been from caloric famine; the number of calories that the world’s farmers are producing per inhabitant will be at a record level,” Mr. Page said. “But this bounty is not evenly distributed nor evenly available. Trade makes consumers less vulnerable to local shortages and the higher prices caused by bad weather, disease or civil disorder.
“Free trade helps feed a hungry world. Export restrictions and trading bans isolate local markets and give farmers little incentive to expand production for the next season. Governments must encourage open trade and a fair, transparent, rules-based system to everyone’s gain, including the environment. And companies that are directly or indirectly in the business of feeding the world have a responsibility to promote trust-based free trade.”
Cargill is among the 20 organizations that make up the B20 Food Security Task Force. The Task Force’s recommendations include creating an enabling environment for investment, optimizing agricultural productivity and nutrition, and ensuring sustainability through effective resource management.
For its part, Cargill said it long has been involved with farmers in Mexico, helping them manage financial risks, as well as working with them to find competitive market options for their crops, either in Mexico or in other global markets. The company recently formalized a long-term partnership with Fundacion Mexicana para el Desarrollo Rural, A.C. (FMDR), a non-governmental organization, to support a program called Educampo, which aims to improve production practices and promotes human and social development in rural communities. The program will help more than 300 farmers in the southern region of the State of Yucatan by integrating them into a process of training and improved agricultural practices. With this program, Cargill and FMDR expect to achieve an increase in productivity of 1,500 hectares of white corn in the region; with the potential for more than doubling yields and tripling family income.