UN launches $1bn sustainable farming fund

UN Environment has partnered with Dutch financial firm Rabobank to offer grants and loans to businesses that invest in sustainable farming

 
Erik Solheim, Head of the UN Environment programme, speaks during an interview with Agence France-Presse in Seoul
Erik Solheim, Head of the UN Environment programme, speaks during an interview with Agence France-Presse in Seoul 

The United Nations, in combination with Dutch financial institution , is launching a new fund to encourage sustainable farming practices. The three-year programme was announced on October 16 and has been named Kickstart Food.

The centrepiece of the scheme will be a $1bn facility that aims to provide grants, loans and other forms of credit to agricultural producers that value sustainability. In particular, farms that engage in forest restoration and smallholder involvement will benefit from the fund.

Referencing the announcement, Head of UN Environment Erik Solheim commented on the important role that financial institutions play in supporting sustainable investment.

We want the entire finance industry to change their agricultural lending, away from deforestation and towards integrated landscapes

“Support from industry leaders like Rabobank is an extremely important first step,” . “We want the entire finance industry to change their agricultural lending, away from deforestation and towards integrated landscapes, which provide good jobs, protect biodiversity, and are good for the climate.

“Sustainable land use and landscape restoration is also fundamentally about sound investments and good business. We want to speed up this trend so that it becomes the new normal for the finance industry.”

Kickstart Food will have four key focus areas: earth, waste, stability and nutrition. The $1bn facility is part of the ‘earth’ focus area, but future projects will concentrate on improving the food supply chain and creating a more balanced diet globally.

The collaborative programme, and others like it, will need to be successful if the agricultural sector is to meet both the needs of the environment and a growing global population. Although the threat of climate change poses a significant challenge, being able to feed a worldwide population of nine billion by 2050 is perhaps an even greater one.

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