Participants from the length of the agribusiness value chain are gathered at the Bank this week for the World Bank Institute’s new Executive Program on Inclusive Agribusiness: Fighting Poverty, Hunger and Malnutrition. Chris Delgado and John Lamb from the Bank’s Agriculture and Rural Development team set the scene on Tuesday morning by laying out the scale and complexity of the challenge facing the food sector. It was not a pretty picture.
Yet as Professor Ray Goldberg of Harvard noted, people sign up for a program like this as they want to do something, and the food crisis offers an opportunity to push for change – “we are in the middle of a revolution” in the food system. Large-scale agribusiness has a lot to gain and to lose, so the incentive is there for companies to engage even when many of the topics from access to land to ensuring affordable food supplies are inherently political. Collective action is needed and the challenge was issued for firms to envision what enhanced corporate responsibility "CSR ++" might look like in the sector. Will they get there? We will see where they stand at the end of the course.