Speaking on a panel with H.E. Dr. Muhammad Sulaiman Al Jasser, Chairman, Islamic Development Bank Group and Erez Galonska, Founder & CEO, Infarm, Tingo’s President discussed the importance of empowering smallholder farmers globally to help them feed the world
LONDON: On a panel titled Food Security in Peril, Tingo’s President Dr. Chris Cleverly emphasised that by making the farmer the hero of the agribusiness story, global food insecurity could become an issue of the past.
Speaking in Doha at the Qatar Economic Forum (QEF), which saw global business and political leaders gather to discuss key global issues, Cleverly received a warm reception from the audience when discussing the potential Africa holds in relation to feeding the world despite existing notions about the continent.
“We don’t see Africa as a resource for food, we see it as a victim in the food game. But actually, 60 percent of the world’s cultivatable land is in Africa. If we support the farmers that are there…help them harvest their food, then actually we have a chance to feed ourselves,” he asserted.
With the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, widespread global attention has been drawn to the issue of food security, with the UN noting earlier this year that between Russia and Ukraine, almost one third of the world’s wheat and barley and half of its sunflower oil comes from the two countries.
The panel discussion comes at a time when global food security is set to increase dramatically over the coming years with inflation resulting in rising food prices globally.
The QEF convened on June 20 and closed on June 22 this year to focus on the world’s emergence from the global pandemic and present supply chain issues in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
H.E. Dr. Muhammad Sulaiman Al Jasser of the Islamic Development Bank Group also emphasised the need to collaborate with smallholder farmers if the world is to tackle food insecurity: “We have to work with the farmers, with governments, NGOs and other organisations to try and enhance the (farming) ecosystem otherwise we will end up with a perfect storm.”
Discussing existing trends that see farmers charged large interest rates and seldom provided with the tools they need for their farms, Cleverly highlighted Tingo’s drive to see the farmer always put at the centre of the story, making them the true hero.
Through the utilisation of technology and by empowering smallholder farmers in Nigeria, Tingo is focussed on expanding its operations across Africa in order to see the continent become the breadbasket of the world.