May 2015

May 26th, 2015

"Imagine a vibrant market in a village in Sub-Saharan Africa, filled with vendors selling lush tomatoes, hearty ears of corn, ripe mangos, and a myriad of other fruits, vegetables, and grains. Where did all that food come from? Where did the farmers get the financing to buy the seeds and fertilizer they needed? What research institutions developed the seed varieties that thrived in local agro-ecological conditions? How did farmers learn the agriculture techniques to produce high-quality crops? And how did farmers get those high-quality crops from their farms to the market?

Agriculture is a tremendously complicated industry. Doing it right requires researchers, successful distributors of farm inputs, banks, providers of agricultural and business skills training, processors, and traders. Some of these players are in the private sector, while others are generally in the public sector. Some, like banks or providers of agriculture skills training, can have a foot in both of those worlds.

A successful agriculture industry in any country requires the many players in the value chain to work together in collaborations that are both formal and informal. Partnerships occur daily between private-sector players, public-sector players, and public and private players. Though perhaps the most challenging formal partnerships to craft, public-private partnerships are essential to the long-term growth of a country’s agriculture sector, as well as long-term environmental stewardship.

We know firsthand the importance of successful public-private partnerships in the agriculture sector. We represent two very different organizations—The Coca-Cola Company, the world’s largest beverage company, and One Acre Fund, a nonprofit agriculture organization that serves 280,000 farmers in East Africa. The Coca-Cola Company sources various agricultural ingredients from all around the world to produce its beverages, and One Acre Fund supports smallholder farmers who grow staple food crops for local and regional markets. We work with different types of crops and in different parts of the value chain, but we have discovered that what we both need from the public sector to be successful is quite similar.

People often talk as if the private sector, nonprofits, and farmer organizations in Africa are at odds, with extremely different motivations, ways of working, and goals. In reality, we are more similar than different. We are all seeking innovative ways to build a strong agriculture sector in which smallholder farmers are profitable businesspeople and responsible environmental stewards. And we all recognize that the public sector has the responsibility to set certain conditions that foster an environment where innovation and growth can occur."


May 20th, 2015

The Zero Hunger Challenge is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's vision of a world free from hunger and malnutrition, where all food systems are sustainable, women and family farmers are empowered, and everyone enjoys their Right to Adequate Food. Working together, we can make this vision a reality!

View the video on YouTube.