Why Financing? Why Agriculture?

The Eiffel tower was lit green last Friday to commemorate the entry into force of one of the fastest and most comprehensive environmental international agreements. Lighting a prominent monument green does help to raise climate awareness, but quite frankly, it can be hard for young people to keep track of what is going on in this sphere.

I’d like to claim that if we pay attention to anything this year, it is the issue of climate finance – the financial flow of capital directed to environmental projects.

Undeniably, the most difficult aspect of climate finance is not the availability of capital but leveraging private and public finance into this sphere. I am currently in Brussels preparing to cover the “Innovative Partnerships for Agricultural Finance” meeting rparisun by the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation, an event just as important as COP 22.  While high-level policy makers are gathering in Marrakech to increase global goals, this conference is diving into the details of how to achieve them. This #Blending4AG Conference is bringing together stakeholders and specialised professionals to debate, share information, and carve a new path and framework for financial investments and collaborations into the future. The focus is particularly ‘blended finance,’ the idea that public finance can leverage private finance by mitigating the risks that generally impede investors and prevent reasonable returns.

Over the next two days we will be hearing about the importance of financing smallholder farmers, lessons learned from prior public financing efforts, and developments in defining criteria and a certification scheme for this new era.

**For those thinking – why should I, as a forestry student, care??** 

The biggest driver of deforestation is agriculture. One component of this is the reality of many small farmers clearing a few acres in order to plant crops or grow livestock. It is imperative that the new generation of forestry professionals [that’s us!]  are not blind to crucial developments and conversations occurring in this field. By increasing the availability of financing for smallholder farmers we can optimize their productivity, improve livelihoods, and enhance food security – all while alleviating the pressure on our world’s forests.

Have any of you had experiences studying or working in agriculture? Or do you maybe disagree with me? Comment & share your thoughts below 🙂

Salina Abraham

0 Responses
  • Oscar Crespo
    Nov 7, 2016

    Completely agree on this Salina, forestry can’t be understood without its interaction with agriculture through history. In some temperate areas like Eastern USA and Europe this has caused an increase of the forest area as farms areas of low productivity were abandoned. However in the tropics we see an annual net forest loss of 7 million hectares and an annual gain of 6 million hectares of agricultural land converted both into large scale and subsistence agriculture.

    Private investors could actually support farmers under the current situation with low-returns in all the investment markets (Is this the real reason behind the current boom of sustainable investment?). However this would be a short-term illusion in most cases and most likely not targeted into small farmers. Public support for crop insurances, increasing financing to small farmers, blended public-private financing like AgriFi (please share something about it if you attend the session), improving production and supply chains, R&D, rethinking and the impact of highly subsidized agriculture on local and international markets and reshaping highly impact policies like the CAP and the Farm Bill for addressing these issues in the future… If forestry is a complex field farming is definitely so intricate…

    Oscar Crespo Nov 7, 2016

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