Preeti Ahuja from the World Bank focused her presentation on the need to create jobs in the new context. Future projects will have to take several factors into account – climate-smart agriculture, supporting prosperous livelihoods and creating jobs, investing in inclusive agribusiness, while aiming at food and nutrition security – all cross-cutting issues mentioned in many of the SDGs. Another challenge presents itself at projects planning stage, where decision-makers can only design polices and strategies based on estimations of possible intervention effects in 2030. The World Bank is clear that estimations are made with current technology and they cannot possibly take into account the technology available in the future. So there is a dual challenge that donors are facing – ensure quantity and quality of jobs in rural areas in an uncertain and complex framework.
A number of vulnerable people is engaged in agriculture, but there is a strong push to migrate, millions of people are displaced, most of them previously being engaged in agriculture. Agriculture and food has the best leverage point in picking up these people, lifting them out of poverty. The sector impacts rural livelihoods upstream and downstream and can be utilised as a driver of change. To achieve these catalysing effects, donor programming needs to position itself in a system that looks at an integrated chain of agriculture, not treating the sector in a narrow silo, but in a much broader way.
With the global rise of demand for food and beverages, there is a great potential to grow the agribusiness GDP share in the economy, which at the moment is extremely low. This creates a chance to develop and increase SME impact. Furthermore the share of employment in farming and in the broader food system is expected to rise significantly. These opportunities need to be taken into consideration by policy decision makers, a systematic approach will have to be developed that moves SMEs from informality to formality and address vulnerable populations.