Virtual sessions to cover agribusiness response to pandemic

The Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness programme (CASA) programme  is utilising its Evidence and Learning Component to run an e-series on “Rethinking agribusiness investments through the pandemic”. The first of the four sessions will begin at 12 noon BST on Thursday Apr 30th and will draw on inputs from food retailers, international institutes, fellow donors, and the China Agricultural University. Speakers and panelists for the Apr 30th session include:

  • Mike Coupe CEO, Sainsburys plc;
  • Dr Shenggen Fan Chair professor, China Agricultural University and former Director-General of IFPRI;
  • Dr Bettina Prato Senior Coordinator, Smallholder and Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network (SAFIN), at IFAD;
  • Aviva Kutnick Division Chief for Markets and Finance at USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security. 

It will cover:

  • What we know about how the crisis is affecting global food and crop systems;
  • The impact observed on agri-business in developing countries thus far;
  • The effects being observed on farming, food prices, food supply and agricultural livelihoods.

Subsequent sessions will cover: how agri-businesses and agri-business investors are adapting to survive and agri-business investment scenarios once the pandemic is contained.

Each one will be formed of a live session with speakers on a Thursday, a gap of 4 days to enable participants in different time-zones to access the recording and comment, and a wrap-up session the following Tuesday.

Overview of sessions

The series of virtual convenings is designed for investors, investment support stakeholders and commentators in agribusiness to share thinking and efforts to consolidate, innovate and adapt in light of the global pandemic. The virtual events are not expected to provide definitive answers but instead to provide a platform for structured sharing and reflection, in response to the issues exercising the investor community and agribusiness sector.

The e-conference series aims to:

  1. Identify the needs of SMEs ;
  2. Showcase tools and approaches to supporting agribusiness during the pandemic developed by various stakeholders;
  3. Identify evidence gaps and information needs for the CASA programme to support investors through and after the pandemic;
  4. Outline possible investment opportunities.

There will be four thematic ‘platforms’: 

  • Impact Platform: What is the current reality of the impact? (This will draw on data and analysis from the on-farm and off-farm enterprises across the food and crop systems to emerging issues and dynamics shaping performance.
  • Support Platform: How do we support businesses? (This will cover two dimensions: first, securing supply chains and cash flows through the crisis and second how to reconfigure business models to respond in the short term).
  • Sustainability Platform: How to manage the climate and health risks associated with ecological biodiversity loss for agri-business? (This will cover adaption of environmental sustainability standards for SMEs and investors to reduce the risk of human-animal interaction and mitigate similar crises. We will also look to opportunities this may present).
  • Futures Platform: What happens after the curve is flattened and the economy is rejuvenated (exploring scenarios and investment opportunities for post-COVID-19 in light of a potential global recession)?

Click here to register.

Click here for the session schedule.

Cover photo: Kenyan smallholders grow nutritious crops. Credit: USAID on Flickr.