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Bangkok - 15 Sep 2021

News Number: G/32/2021

ESCAP and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation partner to promote inclusive business models in agriculture and food systems

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A new partnership between the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will promote inclusive business models in agriculture and food systems in South and South-East Asia.

The 3-year programme will expand the geographic reach of the partners’ successful experiences in fostering innovative business models that are of particular benefit to low-income as well as women farmers.

“ESCAP is committed to reimagining post-pandemic economies that are more inclusive and more sustainable and - with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as our partners - we look forward to promoting inclusive agri-businesses with farmers that make a positive difference in their lives and in the prospects of rural communities,” said Kaveh Zahedi, Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP.

In order to catalyze inclusive business models, strong partnerships between governments, the private sector, academia and civil society are needed. The partnerships should facilitate knowledge sharing on how to create and promote inclusive businesses and also build markets for such businesses locally, regionally and globally.

“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is excited to partner with ESCAP and governments in South and South-East Asia to explore innovative and sustainable business models in agriculture and food systems for small scale producers, to enhance their incomes and nutritional security,” said Hari Menon, India Country Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We believe that this unique initiative has the potential to not only improve the lives of low-income and marginalized farmers, but it will have a cascading impact on the producers of the entire value chain, thereby giving impetus for economic growth in the region.”

This new partnership was announced at the event Partnerships to promote inclusive business models in agriculture and food systems, held in the context of the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit, which is setting the stage for global food systems transformation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

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