ANALYSIS - In a new report, Rabobank says innovation in food and agribusiness should focus on improved technologies and new business models, writes Sarah Mikesell.
Rabobank has issued a call for leadership in the sector and presented 10 big ideas that could materially boost food production over the next decade.
"Global food and agribusiness face a remarkable conundrum. Right now the sector is struggling in an operating environment characterized by slow growth, soft demand and ample supply, which in combination are challenging business confidence," explains Justin Sherrard, global strategist at Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research.
The solution lies in a stronger focus on innovation.
Sherrard said, "More specifically, innovation can provide a bridge between global food and agri’s near-term challenges and the longer-term opportunities, by leading to new ways to profit through the current period of uncertainty and slow growth, while positioning the sector to increase food availability and improve access for future populations."
Innovation is also needed because the projected 60 per cent increase in global food demand by 2050 will also be subject to significant constraints, such as competition for access to water and limits imposed by planetary boundaries.
To demonstrate both what is needed and what is possible, Rabobank analysts have developed 10 big ideas that could materially boost global food availability and improve food access over the next decade:
- Adopt big data in US agriculture - boosting grain and oilseed production and resource efficiency
- Close the yield gap in Central and Eastern Europe - consolidating food & agri to upgrade production
- Lift dairy production in India - adding value and improving rural incomes
- Grow aquaculture - realising tilapia potential in Latin America
- Boost production in the food & agri engine room - capitalising on Brazil’s grain and oilseed and animal protein potential
- Raise sugarcane’s productivity - improving consistency of yields and cane quality in Brazil
- Develop cold chains in China - improving meat and seafood availability
- Invest in local storage - reducing post harvest food losses in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Strengthen South-South trade - linking South America’s production potential and Asia’s demand
- Improve China’s food security - taking domestic actions to complement agri imports
Rabobank CEO Wiebe Draijer said the leadership to make this happen will come from CEOs of global and local food and agricultural companies, from investors in global food and agribusiness, from scientists with the ability to promote new and improved technologies and practices, from government experts, from NGOs, from international networks, and from international commercial and institutional banks.
"Where these leaders sit is not what sets them apart; it is their vision, the way they drive the case for change and their ability to inspire action that differentiates them," Draijer said.
You can read Rabobank’s report: Unleashing The Potential For Global F&A - A Call For Innovation And Leadership, clicking here.
Or... you can watch the YouTube version which gives some detail about how much extra production can be expected from the 10 Big Ideas. Both are worth your time.