The use of technology to modernise and streamline the agricultural industry would not only provide more food security but could also decrease costs and help to de-carbonise the world and possibly make Africa the food basket of the world.
BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations produce more than a third of global agricultural output and have a significant role and responsibility in ensuring the sustainability of the agriculture and food sector, global food security and nutrition.
During one of the panel discussions at the BRICS Business Forum in Sandton, Johannesburg, sustainable development in agriculture and the promotion of trade and investment in agriculture across BRICS nations were discussed.
Chairman and Global CEO of UPL and BRICS Business Council member of India, Jai Shroff spoke about how climate change impacted the sector the most.
He said if BRICS could take the lead to reward farmers for sustainable behaviour, there would be massive change in the efforts to de-carbonise the world.
Shroff said that beyond the carbon credit, farmers should be rewarded in either money or better shelf space in the stores.
Vice President of BRF, Brazil’s largest producer of animal protein and largest exporter of poultry, Bruno Ferla said the only way to meet the needs of the population and produce more food was through technology.
He said technology would better guide how use limited water resources, soil, what better seeds to use and how to better manage livestock.
He called on BRICS nations and friends of BRICS to take a dominant role in understanding some of the world policies in agriculture, and the motive and impact behind those policies.
“If we do not do this, Africa as the food basket of the world will never happen.
“Everyone wants a seat at the table but what's the point if there's no food on the table.
“We have to be bright enough to balance all of that and give people quality food at a good price,” Ferla said.
Agriculture Working Group and Head of Competence Centre: PhosAgro in Russia, Vladimir Nosov said that several approaches to address the challenges were needed in teh agriculture sector. These included decisions on smart product, smart fertilizers and next generation products such as bio-fertilisers and eco efficient products and fertilisers.
Chairman of China's largest food processor, manufacturer and trader, the COFCO Group Jun Lyu said they were looking forward to sharing some best practices with the rest of the nations during their sessions this week.
Lyu said China actually had only 9% of arable land and 6% of fresh water yet, it was providing food for a large part of the world.
He said the use of a whole series of different strategies and smart ways to manage the challenges of agriculture assisted the country in their production.