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A sustainable and inclusive agriculture transformation, engaging the private sector

November 11, 2022, 13:00-14:00

FAO, CGIAR, Rockefeller Pavilion

Background: The climate challenge facing smallholders in the developing world

Most smallholders struggle to increase their productivity and resilience. They lack access to output and input markets, as well as to advice and finance. Many live in parts of the world where the impacts of climate change are likely to be fiercest, yet they have the least capacity to address this. Smallholder farming in most of the developing world emits few greenhouse gases (GHG), but has a huge need to become more resilient. A more serious challenge is extensification, which is often associated with forest destruction. Both drive the need for more intensive use of existing farmland. If not, developing countries will face larger food imports, faster deforestation, and heavier migration.

The most compelling increases in farm productivity come from use of improved seeds, fertilisers, crop protection, improved animal husbandry, irrigation (where possible), mechanization, good agricultural practices and good harvest and post-harvest technologies and management.[1]  Unfortunately, many such technologies are associated with increasing emissions. The risk is huge that international climate policy, with the best of GHG intentions, will actually keep many smallholders poor and vulnerable.

Private sector players, with actions complemented by climate financing, need to contribute solutions. To unlock finance, schemes depend on Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) and Monitoring and Evaluation for adaptation. Carbon and other outcome payment schemes that depend on such processes will tend to favour those already at an advantage who can more easily adapt their practices and provide the evidence to claim the incentives. To avoid further increasing global farmer inequality, there is a need for public-private schemes specifically tailored to smallholders’ needs.

Session Abstract

At the event we will unpack and outline innovative components for a sustainable transformation agenda in developing country agriculture that can build climate resilient, adaptive, and sustainable food systems. Private sector players are needed to enable smallholder farmers to participate effectively in climate programs to address their challenges and seize opportunities. Given smallholders’ existing risks will worsen under climate change, most private sector players will not undertake such actions without complementary support and incentives. Smallholder outcomes would include: productivity improvements, diversified farms, improved incomes and livelihoods, greater resilience against future shocks and challenges, an ability to tap into climate finance and local incentive systems to encourage transitional behavior change, and defray transition costs. 

Through an interactive panel discussion, the event will explore innovative aspects for inclusive transition in agriculture in developing countries and how this transition could be achieved; what technologies and policies are required; and, what commitments and actions are needed from different actors including the public, private and social sector.

In particular, the discussion will focus on:

  • Innovations needed for stronger circular economy models including inputs, crop-livestock systems, practice and policies
  • Effective, impactful and scalable last-mile models to enable delivery and adoption by smallholders
  • Low cost, reliable, accessible and affordable MRV and MEL approaches and tools

We welcome your participation and contribution in addressing and mapping out global and country-level bold action commitments needed for sustainable and resilient food systems.

Objective and Outcomes

This event aims to constructively share perspectives and commitments in support of the COP27 agenda.

This event will provide an understanding of:

  • The need for equitable access by smallholders to additional modern high-quality inputs combined with improved farming practices through strengthened last mile networks and supportive policy frameworks to help them grow more on the land they farm.
  • How farming can be diversified to improve resilience to climate change and how the sector can contribute to improving the ability of smallholders to withstand climate shocks. In particular, we will look at how we can achieve a circular economy model and support farm diversification (in a market-oriented way), and enable broader improvements in soil health to keep more carbon in the soil
  • The role of improved trade, need for improved policies and danger of trade restrictions (especially non-tariff barriers).
  • The need for COP27 participants to support a climate efficient transition with effective public-private collaboration supported by appropriate measurement and verification systems that are smallholder-oriented and that effectively capture monetizable results and impacts (i.e. with emissions measured per ton produced vs per ha of land).
  • Looking at how the agricultural transitions will be funded and how the funds and mechanisms are to be made accessible to all including smallholders and organisations working with them

Round of standard questions for each panellist (to be adjusted once we know who the panelists are)

  • How can we achieve a sustainable transition in agriculture in developing countries? What role do technologies and innovations play and what are the last mile models and policies needed to support this?
  • What are the most interesting circular economy models that can help smallholders increase the productivity and resilience of their farms? How can producers be rewarded for the ecosystem benefits they produce?
  • What is the ideal role of the private sector and of trade? What are the main actions that your organization is taking to help this?
  • What improvements are needed in the ways that climate financing can be made more readily accessible to smallholders and organizations working with them (eg through appropriate MRV/MEL schemes)? What are the key trade-offs to be addressed?  How can private and public actors work more readily and positively together?
  • What are the commitments and actions needed from different stakeholders?


Welcome – Moderator – 5 minutes

Simon Winter, ED, Syngenta Foundation

Keynote remarks – 5 minutes

H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Chair of AGRA Board, and Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia – perspectives on how African leaders and AGRA are looking to the private sector to engage

Voice of a farmer – 5 minutes

Ms. Elizabeth Nsimadala, WFO Board Member and Farmer of the African Constituency  

Panel discussion – 35 minutes

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – Purvi Mehta, Deputy Director, Climate Adaptation
  • Green Climate Fund – Soji Omisore, Acting Head of the Private Sector Facility
  • CropLife Africa Middle East – Dr. Samira Amellal, Director General / CEO
  • International Fertilizer Association – Alzbeta Klein, CEO
  • The Nature Conservancy – Saswati Bora, Global Director, Regenerative Food Systems
  • One Acre Fund – Lysa Uwizeyimana, Rwanda Impact Strategy & Behavior Change Lead
  • International Agri-Food Network – Michael Keller, Chair

Participants to discuss the questions, starting with IFA and Croplife talking about what the private sector is looking to do, and what needs it has from other stakeholders; then other stakeholders talking about what they can offer, and expect from the private sector in return.

Audience Q&A – 10 minutes


[1] See a comprehensive review:

Fabio Niespolo
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