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G20 agriculture report praises a Mexican program geared at raising maize and wheat production

A report by the G20 Agriculture Group recognized that the Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture program (MasAgro) is a Mexican initiative that could serve as a model for coordinating research and development, innovation, technology transfer, as well as public-private partnerships in the agri-food sector.

At a meeting where a specialized group of the B20 (Business 20, which includes the private sector) and representatives of the World Economic Forum (WEF) focused on Mexico, Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture, Francisco Mayorga Castañeda, explained that the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) has supported including food security as a priority while Mexico is chair of the G20. He  also pointed out that the MasAgro program is aimed at raising productivity based on small farms and emphasizing small-scale maize and wheat producers. He indicated that, as a first step, this model, which was initiated in Mexico in 2011 under a collaborative agreement with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), will be discussed at a meeting of eminent agricultural scientists to be held in September 2012, while Mexico is chairing the G20.

As recommended by the B20 task force on food security, the G20 should promote public and private investment to achieve a 50% increase in agricultural production and productivity by the year 2030. At a meeting chaired by Daniel Servtije, CEO of Grupo Bimbo and the person in charge of the G20 food security task force, Mayorga emphasized the benefits of publicprivate partnerships in the agrifood sector. He said that Mexico supports the Mexican Agribusiness Association for Sustainable Growth, in collaboration with the WEF, whose general objective is to improve the productivity, competitiveness, and sustainability of the agri-food sector.

The meeting where the B20 made recommendations to the G20 was also attended by Greg Page, from Cargill, who spoke on markets and trade; Eduardo Elsztain, from IRSA, on investments; Stefan Lippe, from Swiss Re, on risk management; Eduardo Tricio Haro, from Grupo Lala, on land rights; Jim Collins, from Dupont, on research and development; Shenggen Fan, from IFPRI, on public policy and capacities; Bárbara Stocking, from Oxfam, on small-scale farmer development; José Manuel Madero, from Monsanto, on sustainability and technology use; and Pedro Padierna, from PepsiCo, on Mexico’s experience with public/private partnerships.

Later, Secretary Mayorga, Daniel Servitje, and Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, took part in discussions between CEOs and government leaders on food security. Also participating were Yayi Boni, the President of Benin oand current representative of the African Union, and José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).