Executive Director of Syngenta Foundation visits Campus

June 2012

Marco Ferroni

Dr. Marco Ferroni, Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Executive Director of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, gave the inaugural Margaret Gilliam Lecture in Global Food Security to a packed audience in late March.  The presentation, entitled Rewiring Science, Business and Public Goods for global Food Security, was both informative and though-provoking.

According to Ferroni, long term global food security is unthinkable without sustainability, intensification, productivity growth, scientific advancement, improvement in the delivery of service and access to markets and the right mix of public and private action (PPP).

Ferroni sees PPPs in the Health Sector, in which many different partners work on the eradication of a specific disease, as a model to be emulated.  States Ferroni, “if we want to make true progress, to eradicate hunger, we will need an international structure of public and private partners to do this.” PPPs unite actors with different perspectives, incentives and skills to solve problems in the pursuit of shared goals.

The Kilimo Salama Weather Insurance program offered by Syngenta in partnership with the Kenyan Insurer UAP Insurance and the mobile telecom provider Safaricom is one project that is fulfilling all the requirements for achieving long term food security in Kenya.

The premise of the program is simple; enable farmers to invest in seeds, fertilizer and chemicals through a network of established dealers, protect farmer investment against weather risk such as droughts and excess rainfall, make insurance premiums affordable, use solar powered technology to monitor rainfall, make the premium payment/payout system as easy as possible and lastly and perhaps most importantly, to build trust with the farmers.   The program has grown from 200 farmers in 2009 to 23,000 farmers in 2011 and is offered in six districts.

Says Ferroni, “there is not a pubic and a private world of agriculture and finite natural resources out there; it is all one world, and we need to work together to create the food security outcomes we all seek.”

Scott Patterson, Deputy Director of the Departmental Regional Office (Quebec) of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada who attended the lecture “…found the presentation and discussion highly useful in providing insight and context to global food security issues that all countries have a role in addressing collectively.”

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