EBRD boosts food security across regions

By Nibal Zgheib

EBRD boosts food security across regions

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is continuing to address the global challenge of ensuring food security by promoting the role of the private sector in increased and sustainable food production.

The EBRD’s Private Sector for Food Initiative combines the Bank’s own investments with technical assistance and support for reforms to help enhance food security across the countries where EBRD invests and to improve food quality standards and animal welfare practices.

According to the Private Sector for Food Security Initiative Annual Report 2015, the EBRD mobilised €7 million for technical assistance and policy dialogue in the agribusiness sector, complementing €770 million invested through 51 projects in 2015 alone. The biggest contributors were: Japan, the Netherlands, the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) Multi-Donor Account (MDA),* TaiwanBusiness-EBRD TC Fund and Ukraine Stabilisation and Sustainable Growth MDA.**

The Initiative sets incentives to encourage private sector involvement in support for policy reform to improve the regulatory environment and the overall business climate and to promote efficiency within the industry.

The EBRD also works to reduce the agricultural sector’s carbon footprint, helping to lower greenhouse gas emissions, use energy and water more efficiently, reduce food loss and waste and make better use of agricultural by-products.

“We believe that agribusinesses need to be both productive and sustainable for the sector to overcome challenges such as climate change,” said Gilles Mettetal, EBRD Acting Director for Industry, Commerce and Agribusiness.

Together with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the Bank is working to support the development of agricultural cooperatives in the southern and eastern Mediterranean region to maximise their impact on rural employment and the participation of young people and women in the economy.

“More will be done to create stronger links between producers and modern value chains to introduce innovative practices, increase the addition of value and manage environmental risks,” said Iride Ceccacci, Principal Economist, EBRD.

The 2015 Report stresses that finance alone is not always enough to achieve private sector development in markets across the EBRD region. SMEs often face difficulties accessing the know-how that will help them enhance their productivity and business performance.

“By providing specific advice for agribusinesses we support sustainable investment in food and agriculture and improve the efficiency of SMEs, enabling them to become catalysts for growth in our countries of operations,” said Victoria Zinchuk, Acting Director of Agribusiness, EBRD.

*Donors to the SEMED MDA are: Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taipei China and the United Kingdom.

**Donors to the Ukraine Stabilisation and Sustainable Growth MDA are: Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.