“The 2014 annual World Economic Forum meeting confirmed the importance of agriculture on the global agenda,” says Yara’s CEO and President Jørgen Ole Haslestad. Inclusive growth, collaboration and investment driven development of the agriculture sector were top level discussion points.
Co-hosting the Grow Africa partnership dinner, Mr. Haslestad, alongside other global leaders, discussed how the African Union’s ‘Year of Agriculture’, food security and nutrition can help accelerate the transformation taking place within African countries. Importantly, the growth agenda must be owned and led by the African countries themselves.
“If we are to fast track and scale up inclusive business models, such as the Ghana Grains Partnership and Last Mile Alliance, all parties need to be committed, and contribute to accelerating these in support of national strategies,” says Haslestad.
Besides promoting food security through inclusive growth strategies, Yara’s CEO also strongly advocated the need to link global warming with the need to increase agricultural productivity. Mr. Haslestad joined the UN Global Compact LEAD dinner, hosted by Ban Ki-moon. Here the UN Secretary General asked business leaders how the private sector can contribute to post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, and what businesses can do to address climate change.
“From Yara’s perspective both of these topics have one strong, mutual focal point: Within the agricultural sector there are opportunities to realize greenhouse gas mitigation, rural development, inclusive growth and help address several of the multiple challenges for the bottom billion,” Mr. Haslestad states.
Reflecting this position, Mr. Haslestad also led a climate resilience discussion at the WEF’s New Vision for Agriculture (NVA) event. Joined by Ban Ki-moon and three heads of state, this meeting explored how global agriculture can continue improving its performance.
Being committed to the multiple goals of increasing productivity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing rural poverty, the NVA in 2014, apart from climate change resilience, discussed issues such as integrating NVA goals into business strategies, mobilizing investment and promoting innovation.