"Severe droughts, rising grain prices and food shortages -- the latest headlines are an urgent call for action," and "it is time to step up our response," Suma Chakrabarti, president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and Jose Graziano da Silva, director-general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), write in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece. On September 13, the EBRD and FAO will convene the Private Sector for Food Security Conference in Istanbul, Turkey, "the largest and most important gathering of companies and decision-makers in agribusiness from the Caspian and Black seas to the Mediterranean ... [to] discuss the key role of the private sector in feeding the world," they note. "The simple truth is that the world needs more food, and that means more production," they state, adding, "The private sector can be the main engine of such growth."
"[A]gribusiness in transition countries can be tricky -- but also profitable," Chakrabarti and da Silva write, adding "the industry's success means more than just profit." They continue, "In a world of almost seven billion people, transition countries can fight hunger by growing more grain and potentially meat; but they can also fight poverty by helping their own rural population on the path to success in sustainable farming. Some countries in central Asia, where children today are suffering from stunted growth due to undernourishment, could benefit from higher commodity prices globally to feed their own people." They write, "To achieve that, a lot of work is needed," including additional investment from the private sector, international organizations, and governments. The authors conclude, "Many countries are hungry for such investment -- and their investment can help to make life easier for the world's hungry" (9/6).