Building Resilience in Agriculture

Solutions discussed:

Encourage sustainable farming practices through fair financial incentives

As part of the Mondelez Cocoa Life programme, a sustainability programme working to ensure cocoa is grown sustainably, while supporting local communities and strengthening cocoa supply chains, farmers are provided with shade trees, and encouraged to use agroforestry practices. Shade trees, when planted on cocoa farms, allow the cocoa to grow outside of direct sunlight, and shade the cocoa trees from the wind, improving the quality of the crop and the crop yield. The provision of shade trees is supported through the establishment of community tree nurseries in African cocoa-growing countries. Certain types of shade trees can also diversify farm income, as well as improving the biodiversity of an area. Alongside these tree planting activities, Mondelez also provide training on good agricultural practice to their farmers, and offer economic incentives to farmers for adopting agreed agroforestry practices, and for contributing to reforestation and forest protection initiatives (also known as Payment for Environmental Services schemes). These activities contribute to protecting the natural environment, bolstering cocoa yields, and simultaneously supporting the farmer's income and business.

Presented by: Claire Stirling, Global R&D Technology Lead, Cocoa Life, Mondelez International

Mondelez Cocoa Life programme

Context-specific, science-backed support from the private sector for more sustainable farming practices

The Mondelez Cocoa Life programme is supported by strong research and development, which ensures that the activities carried out by the scheme are backed by science and technical guidelines. Furthermore, the programme seeks to implement a context-specific approach, in which interventions are targeted to ensure that farmers are offered the correct interventions that suit their own specific needs, as well as those of the landscape on which they farm.

Presented by: Claire Stirling, Global R&D Technology Lead, Cocoa Life, Mondelez International

Mondelez Cocoa Life programme

Re-working of farm subsidies to build agricultural resilience and decrease farmer poverty

There is a need to re-work farm subsidies to ensure that these are enabling farmers to be more resilient, rather than weakening food systems. The first action needed is to address government support for biofuels in many countries. Reducing the crops being grown for biofuels, and instead using them as food crops, would play a role in reducing hunger and strengthening agricultural resilience. Governments should therefore limit financial support and subsidies for biofuel production. Secondly, farm subsidies in developed countries mean that prices for food are driven down for farmers in the Global South, reducing resilience and leading to poverty. Farm subsidies should be calculated on a per-capita basis to ensure fairness, and there should be a change to WTO rules more broadly to prevent farm-level poverty and food price volatility in low-income countries.

Presented by: Ajay vir Jakhar- Chairman, Bharat Krishak Samaj (Farmers’ Forum, India), India

Farming subsidies, disadvantages and food insecurity

Use of poverty levers to calculate which measures might increase smallholder income

It is possible to question what the 'levers' are that affect poverty and income levels in farming communities in the Global South. An example of research modelled how increasing cocoa yield, or alternatively increasing cocoa price, would affect the incomes of smallholder farmers. While both incentives helped to lift a proportion of farmers above the poverty line, neither were able to ensure that all farmers achieved a living income that would support them and their families to live healthy lives. There is a need to consider what the different 'levers' may be that affect incomes and poverty. Where it is not possible to lift smallholders out of poverty by changing such levers, they may have to be supported by government and the private sector to find a livelihood elsewhere, outside of the farming sector.

Presented by: Claire Stirling, Global R&D Technology Lead, Cocoa Life, Mondelez International

Pathways to achieving a living income for smallholder tree-crop commodity farmers

Creation of interdisciplinary research networks that bridge soil and human health

The Coalition of Regenerative Agriculture, Food and Health (CRAFH) interdisciplinary team brings together health and environmental experts. The research of the organisation aims to illuminate the nexus between soil health and human health, with research indicating that crops grown in healthier soils can contribute to healthier human gut functioning. The CRAFH team have developed a network of experts to further research the field, and have developed a conceptual framework that aims to close knowledge gaps between stakeholders throughout the food system. The research uses a multi-disciplinary approach to increase capacity of research in the area of soil health, the human gut microbiome, and the production and consumption of healthy foods. The organisation has a strong focus on the benefits of regenerative agriculture, which it sees as playing an important role in both human and environmental health.

Presented by: Japhia Jayasingh-Ramkumar, MD

The Illinois Regenerative Agriculture Initiative