Cargill Executive Chairman Greg Page discusses the future of food and needed policies at AGree forum
Page cites property rights and off-farm income as critical to enabling Africa to achieve its food production potential
Washington, D.C. – Cargill joined food and agriculture leaders yesterday afternoon in a conversation about how diverse stakeholders can work together to increase access to affordable and nutritious food for the world’s expected nine billion people by 2050.
Convened by food and agriculture policy think tank AGree, the session “A Better Path from Farm to Fork: Policy Solutions for the Future of Food” featured Cargill Executive Chairman Greg Page and fellow panelists Betti Wiggins, School Nutrition Services at Detroit Public Schools; Anim Steel, Real Food Generation; and Pam Johnson, National Corn Growers Association. The conversation was moderated by National Geographic Executive Editor Dennis Dimick.
“At Cargill, we are engaged every day, all over the world, in the workings of the global food system and trying to better understand them,” said Page. “It’s a system that is complicated in some ways, simple in others, but definitely unforgiving. If we don’t make the right policy decisions, the unforgiving elements will come back to hurt us.”
With respect to policies that will help the world become more food secure, Cargill believes the most promising solutions will be built around several core principles. These include honoring comparative advantage; enabling trust-based free trade; supporting commercial smallholder farms; embracing sound science; preserving and enhancing the resilience of farmers and their adaptive capacity; and realizing the food production potential of Africa.
Asked to elaborate on what would help Africa realize its food production potential, Page cited property rights that allow farmers to pledge their land as collateral and incent them to invest in improving the yields and productivity of their farms. “Without property rights, all else will bear less fruit,” said Page.
Page added, “It sounds counter-intuitive, but off-farm income is also critically important to African agriculture, which cannot be based on transfer payments and aid if Africa is to realize its potential.” Noting how off-farm income from Zambia’s copper mining sector boosted Zambia’s agricultural output, he explained that farmers and farm output benefit when urban workers have incomes sufficient to purchase food at prices that encourage farmers to produce more.
Page also noted the need for all stakeholders in the global food system to work together to make the world more food secure. “There is an African proverb I cite often when talking about what is required to ensure everyone everywhere has access to safe, affordable and nutritious food: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.’ Making the global food system work better for all its stakeholders definitely requires making the journey together.”
About Cargill and food security
As a company dedicated to being the global leader in nourishing people, Cargill is working to address the complex challenge of feeding the world while at the same time protecting the planet. Cargill advocates for policies that let markets work and enable farmers to thrive; helps expand access to food, improves nutrition and pursues partnerships to end hunger; and works to increase agricultural productivity and incomes while ensuring responsible use of natural resources. Over the last five years, Cargill has contributed more than $83 million worldwide to reduce hunger and improve nutrition. Learn more about our perspective on the global food system, food security and sustainability at foodsecureworld.
Cargill provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. Together with farmers, customers, governments and communities, we help people thrive by applying our insights and nearly 150 years of experience. We have 143,000 employees in 67 countries who are committed to feeding the world in a responsible way, reducing environmental impact and improving the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit Cargill.com and our News Center.