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ANNOUNCER: Please welcome to the stage Global Head, Inclusive Economic Growth, Abt Associates and Nonresident Senior Fellow, GeoEconomics Center, Atlantic Council Dr. Nicole Goldin.
NICOLE GOLDIN: Great. Well, thank you. It’s such a pleasure to see you all. This has been a really deep and tremendous couple of days of conversation, and our job is not an easy one. We want to take what we’ve heard, especially on solutions, and try to unpack that just a little more, add a little bit more concreteness and specificity, and really, I think, make it practical so that we can inform the G20 agenda and take some of these great ideas and solutions forward. We’ve been hearing about technology. We’ve been hearing about finance. We’ve been hearing about the food-water-energy intersection, if you will. We’ve been hearing about supply and demand, which, as an economist, is of course music to my ears. So we’ve got a lot of talk to talk about.
And I’ve got a great panel here to help me do that.
Immediately on my left is Qingfeng Zhang. He is the chief of rural development and food security at the Asian Development Bank.
To his left we have Bakur Kvezereli. He is the CEO of Ztractor, which I’m sure you’re all excited to learn more about.
Then we have Max Peterson. He is the—he is the vice president of worldwide public services at Amazon Web Services—excuse me, Amazon public sector.
And then we have Mr. Erez Fait, the co-founder and president of Agrinoze.
And I believe we have—yes, we have Dr. Arif Husain, chief economist at the World Food Programme.
And we’re lucky to be joined by His Excellency Oleksandr Kubrakov, minister of infrastructure in Ukraine.
So welcome. Thank you.
I’d like to get right to it. We’ve heard and we’ve been talking about how conflict, COVID-19, and climate change have exacerbated the situation and the food security crisis. So let me go first to your excellency the minister to ask: How has the food security situation in Ukraine changed since the war began? And maybe you can speak a little bit more about the grain deal and what that has done to the situation.
MINISTER OLEKSANDR KUBRAKOV: OK. Thank you very much for this opportunity.
And from the first days of full-scale mobilization, Ukraine infrastructure become one of the main targets for the enemy. And according to the World Bank report, the damage caused to the transport sector of Ukraine, it’s about 30 billion US dollars and losses reach 26 billion of US dollar. Since the beginning of Russian mobilization, all Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea and Azov have been forcibly closed to the entire—to the entry and exit of ships. The seaports of Berdiansk, Mariupol, and Skadovsk are under occupation and they’re closed until control is to be resolved. And before the full-scale mobilization, Ukraine supplied more than 15 percent of world’s corn export, more than 10 percent of wheat, and more than 50 percent of sunflower oil, and many other products of agriculture and industry. About 70 percent of Ukrainian products [are shipped] by sea, mostly by Ukrainian seaports on Black Sea.
So after just due to military mobilization, traditional supply chains were lost and at least 70 million people around the world are at risk of starvation for the moment. And it was very important for us to start Black Sea Grain Initiative because in peril we started—I mean, at the beginning of the war we started development of alternative channels of export of our product. It was, first of all, our seaports on Dnieper River, our railway lines in direction to European Union, and a lot of activities were performed where realized in cooperation with European Union with increased capacity of existing border cross checkpoints. We did—we did a lot of projects with our neighboring countries and solidarity lanes. It was important step in direction to fight food crisis and economic crisis as well. Thanks.
Important step was Black Sea Grain Initiative. It was signed on 22 of July. From that moment, from the first of August, we already exported about 10.3 million tons of agricultural products. Mostly, it’s Africa and Asia. European countries as well, but again, key regions historically was Asia and Africa, especially during the last years. More than 20,000—200,000 tons of agricultural export—of agricultural products were exported in cooperation with United Nations World Food Programme. And again, Black Sea Grain Initiative thanks to our allies, thanks to United Nations, Turkey, I think we know very well, I mean, how it’s important, how this initiative influence on global food prices. Each crisis during working of the initiative, we see how prices is growing 5, 7, 8 percent and then again, while initiative started working, prices became lower and lower, so—on the same 5, 7, and 10 percent. So on our side, we are doing our best in order to prolong.
NICOLE GOLDIN: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister. Hopefully we’ll be able to get you back momentarily.
But it’s a good segue. We’ve heard from other Ukrainian colleagues as well as a number of experts that have spoken in our panels that the food crisis and the compounding conflict, climate change, COVID has had a disproportionate impact on women, on children, in some regions on indigenous communities. So I wanted to turn to—first to you, Qingfeng, to talk about what are some of the strategies and how are you thinking about addressing those most at risk.
QINGFENG ZHANG: Thank you so much, Nicole. And thanks for the Council invite Asian Development Bank attend this very important session immediately before the G20.
Again, I just follow the conversation by our Ukraine minster of the infrastructure. After the Ukraine—the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, you can see the so many countries suffering in the Asia-Pacific. At least 13 countries relying one of the three key essential commodities from the Russia or the Ukraine. But you know, the—in addition to the supply chain disruptions by the COVID and also this war, climate change was severely effect the Asia-Pacific. Just thinking about this year, the floods in the Pakistan and heat wave in India, and also the droughts in the Yangtze River, basically involved 4 billion, you know, populations, over 40 percent of this world populations.
So with this severe challengings, Asian Development Bank, as one of the key efforts in the region, we formulate 14 billion US dollars from the 2022 to 2025 to address the food insecurity, covering both the immediate responses and also the long-term measures to build up the resilience. This year, we’re going to deliver 3 billion US dollars immediate in response, provide the working capital to the small SMEs, mitigate the fertilizer shortage, and more importantly also try to supply financing facility to address supply chain disruptions.
And as for the long-term measures like the three years 2023-2025, we are already programming about 10.7 billion US dollars focused on three key areas. One is small agriculture. Very much it supports the participation of the women and also the small farmers. Second highlights digitalization of agricultural value chain, highlights financial inclusion, find out the way to reach out to the small farmers and also to help this microfinance, to help the—our process quickly lead to our farmers. Lastly, you know, these two days we discuss about the fertilizer, natural-based solutions. We are going to introduce innovative financing facility to scale up capital investment, nature-based solutions, including the payment for ecological services…
Probably let me just pause here and then we can come back, discuss about the concrete, you know, measures. Thank you.
NICOLE GOLDIN: Fantastic. Thank you so much.
Arif, I’d like to come to you on a similar question. Qingfeng, you know, talked a bit about using or working through small- and medium-sized enterprises as one strategy to get at those that are often marginalized who also kind of dominate the landscape, right, of the economy in the market systems. In your work with the World Food Programme, how are you thinking about addressing and meeting the needs of those most at risk?
ARIF HUSAIN: Thank you. Thank you for the opportunity. Really happy to be here and I think this is an excellent question. I can tell you that I’ve been in this work for about 20 years now and what we are seeing this year, it’s, in fact, terrible.
You know, one thing which we talk about is that, you know, when the World Food Programme is setting records, it’s not necessarily a good thing for the world, right? And what we have been doing is we have been setting records since 2020. We fed 115 million people in 2020, 128 million people in 2021, and this year we plan to feed 150—more than 150 million people. So you can see that this is a, you know, gradual increase in the number of people who need assistance.
And coming to your question, the vast majority of the people we work with, they are essentially in rural areas. They are women and children. They are in agriculture. So on one side it is critically important to save lives, right? In 21st century, if you are talking about 50 million plus people a step away from famine in hunger emergencies in upwards of 45 countries, I mean, that’s telling. That should be unacceptable.
And if we are going to deal with this, obviously, we need to deal with the root causes. First and foremost, still it’s the wars. It’s the conflict. Then, obviously, it’s the climate. And then it is economic marginalization, right? And these are not just words; this is what we are seeing out there.
So, first and foremost, we need to save lives. And after that, we need to start talking about changing lives. And that is where we are focusing a lot.
What is also very different is that we have learned very quickly that extreme points, they don’t work. So if you’re pure humanitarian, it doesn’t work. If you’re pure development, it still doesn’t work. And we are seeing that there is this recognition of this fact. And when you now look at IMF or you look at World Bank, they are coming into the space of where people FCV—fragility, conflict, and violence. At the same time agencies like mine, who is mainly humanitarian, they’re moving towards enabling people, changing lives, and trying to meet them in the middle. And if we can do that, and if we can bring the private sector into this, maybe we get out of this.
One other thing I wanted to mention following the Ukrainian minister, this Black Sea Initiative. This has saved a lot of lives. But you know, this is—initial deal was for 120 days, which is going to come to an end on November 19, essentially a week from now. This needs to continue. This needs to continue beyond till this war is done and trade comes back to normal. And if that happens, we at least dampen—slightly dampen the impact which we are seeing around the world, and that’s—that must happen going forward.
NICOLE GOLDIN: Thank you very much. We are going to come back on some of those governance points that you raised.
And I’m glad you mentioned the private sector. We’ve got three great representatives from the private sector. So let me turn to you, Bakur, to Matt, and to Erez and ask each of you to just tell us about, again, as concretely as you can how your product or the application of your product is disrupting the food security system—positively disrupting, I would say, or helping communities to adapt to climate change or to some of these situations. Bakur, why don’t we start with you.
BAKUR KVEZERELI: Thank you. Thank you.
I think we had great speakers these two days and great messages which should be carry over the G20 discussions. I think there has been a consensus in this room, in this forum that, you know, next three decades we will need to produce 70 percent more food with less water available for farming, with less soil available for farming, with less labor force available for farming. And I believe that—and unpredictable weather is contributing to all this. I don’t want to sound very Silicon Valleyish kind of approach that technology can fix everything.
Of course, we will need the policies, we will need financing, and everything. But I believe—it’s my personal position, not our company, in this case—that automation and autonomy, which will allow us to farm with less labor force, indoor farming or vertical farming where one acre of the facility we can produce the vegetables of the, I don’t know 20, 30, 40 acres.
Of course, electrification will play its role in machinery electrification, which is our message which we work on, to electrify agriculture in general. But with agricultural machinery will play its role on dependence on energy, obviously.
And alternative proteins. We cannot ignore the alternative proteins are nice to have. We are relying on very few protein sources. We talked about that yesterday, today. And we need to increase—diverse the proteins which we can use for food processing or production and so on.
I think that’s our perspective of a startup or technologies on that perspective, is to introduce more tech and, on top of that, digitalize agriculture as much as possible, which will bring transparency, which will bring predictability, and we can plan better. And our partner in this game is Amazon with their beautiful products in AWS, which supports a lot of robotics companies in our field, I think, that all synergy between very established corporations which have a great experience of digitalizing other sectors can be brought to agriculture and we can fix significant portion of the problems.
NICOLE GOLDIN: Fantastic.
And very quickly, for those that may not have heard you talk about Ztractor, just, you know, how does that fit in and what exactly is for those that might not be aware?
BAKUR KVEZERELI: We are manufacturing autonomous electric tractor. It’s completely unmanned. There is no seat for a driver on it. And we did it by purpose. We did some research before we started to design this tractor. Our belief is that with many, many tractors around the world we can connect them on one cloud and do the real-time data gathering from the machines, which will improve efficiency and give us better predictability of which crop is produced where—what will be the yield of almonds in California and Spain—and then the traders—we’ve met a few commodity traders here—can do better deals on futures. And—
NICOLE GOLDIN: So that’s a great segue to Max—
BAKUR KVEZERELI: Exactly.
NICOLE GOLDIN:—to talk about not only with Ztractor, but in general how is cloud computing changing and disrupting positively—
MAX PETERSON: Well, I’m super excited just listening right here to what one company is doing to reimagine how they deliver scale to farming. And I listened both to Qingfeng, who talked about the importance of small farmers, a really interesting example of how you approach automation. At Amazon, we believe that our responsibility is to be able to provide the sort of enabling technology that lets all of these solutions come to life.
I also agree with the gentleman from the World Food Programme. It’s not one thing. It’s not development activities in isolation. It’s not humanitarian aid in isolation. It’s not technology in isolation. We’ve got to find the ways to make all of these things work together and be used in the appropriate areas around the world because it’s—there’s going to be different solutions that are based locally.
I’ll give you one specific example because you—Nicole, you wanted specific examples. In India, we work with a company called Cropin who deployed something called SmartFarm. And India is an economy with a lot of small farmers, and so it was not important only just to focus on the food-production piece but also on the economic viability of all of these small farmers. And what Cropin used was they used a combination of technology running on Amazon. They integrated satellites. They integrated overhead Earth observation. They integrated Internet of Things types of sensors. They integrated open public datasets like the Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative. And they’re able to bring precise insights to the farmers on the ground, over 7 million farmers covering about 16 million acres of land, and they can help them understand precisely how to apply, you know, different technologies to—you know, to produce the crops in the most effective way for them, providing both food and livelihood.
NICOLE GOLDIN: What a fantastic example. And we’re going to carry on with the specifics, and that’s great.
We’ve heard a lot, Erez, of conversation around water and that linkage between water, food security, the impact of drought and of climate change and reducing water. So tell us how autonomous irrigation and Agrinoze is positively disrupting and bringing new solutions to the table.
EREZ FAIT: So, first of all, we are Indonesian. And before the food security became topic, the minister of defense was already thinking about it—before COVID, before the Ukraine war. So he gave us challenge to bring here the technology and to implement it in Indonesia. And we made the plan to send people to do the training. Apparently, two weeks after we started COVID came and block everything. So we manage with two people—which one is Wija, one is Yuza, that they were one of the project management—everything through Zoom to train and to make the system up and running until today. And this system shows that technology can overcome barriers.
So we are using the technology how to, I would say, fix or help the challenges that were discussed here. Because in all the discussions here, I heard about problems—water, finance, fertilizers, knowledge, scale-up, all those things that are challenges for the humans—but we are coming from technology solution, so we know how to take technology and to solve problems.
So, first of all, so we have to think—to know that the minister had this vision long ago, before it became topic. And that reason, in Indonesia we are most prepared compared to other place in the world. Although now we work in California and other countries, but still we have a base of people locally that know how to use the technology and they grow things that they never think can be grown in sea level.
Now, how we do it? We do it by automation and autonomous and taking all the data into algorithm with machine learning, which actually nursing the plant like baby in incubator. Because baby in incubator, it doesn’t cry. The sensors knows in advance what he needs, not like outside. So we develop a solution that is on the roots zone and manage the zones 24/7, even not exist in nature. You can take, like, hydroponic in the soil. So the roots are always efficient and produce.
In countries like Indonesia, which is the Equator, 24/7 means because the temperature is always correct. And we eliminate the depend on rain and climate. So once we have the soil and we have the ability to cultivate, everything is possible.
So the other thing that I want to mention—because the minister is the vision—is to think about what we call mobile farming, because we create kind of Ikea kit that could connect all the needs in one system. So, because Indonesia is big, we said let’s make a system that we can ship on a truck, put in a place, put the hose or the dripline, and start to work. This is counter of another problem.
The other thing is local production. In Indonesia, one of the thing is how to—it’s a big country. Logistic is big. Shipping the hose or the dripline, it’s very expensive because it’s mostly air. So we have a plan. And will discuss with agencies they are looking to contribute, like the DFC, because they want to enable the food security and the health and women and youth. So, actually, in our activity in Indonesia, we have young people that do crowdfunding in order to start this kind of initiative. And this shows that there is a need and it make people interesting and make people excited.
And then what we think is how to expand small villages. So because the technology is kind of centralized, we enable small farmers that have one, two hectares that one system can irrigate their plots and they just do the cultivation. So this is in general what we do.
Sitting next to me, the Amazon. Amazon is a big cloud, but we need to make the cloud give rain and the right rain. So I challenge him: How do we take this cloud and make it available to the people to make it useable? So this discussion between us later on.
NICOLE GOLDIN: It’s a great point and it speaks to kind of a quick follow-up for the—for the three of you in particular before we come back on some governance, which is: Where does partnerships come in, right? We’ve been talking about, we’ve heard about the scale. The scale of this challenge requires urgent action and it requires long-term thinking as well. So you mentioned partnerships. You mentioned sort of B2B. What are the challenges of scale? And when you think about partnerships—at Abt Associates, you know, we found in our work implementing projects for Feed the Future in Cambodia and Egypt of the US government that partnering with government, with local private sector, with the small- and medium-sized enterprises, and with civil society is really critical, especially for that inclusion aspect.
So, Bakur, maybe we’ll come to you first, and then we’ll go to Erez and then Max for your thoughts on scaling and partnerships.
BAKUR KVEZERELI: Thank you. I think, to go back to what was discussed for two days here, I think we received two loud, long wakeup calls, which are COVID and the war. And it’s not only food community; it’s everyone, logistics, all businesses, and society in general. And I think this will force collaboration because we need to find fast solutions yesterday. It’s already past due to solve basic issues in, let’s say—I don’t want to point to any particular problem, but there are issues where we can collaborate with government, with corporations, with other industries which are never been involved in agriculture like aviation. Aviation has the best sensors. We use two sensors on our tractor from aviation. They’re expensive, but they are fixing the issues no one have applied to agriculture before, right? And I think because of the circumstances, which are unfortunate, but we need to learn from this and make it—make the decisions now.
NICOLE GOLDIN: I love that example of cross-industry and thinking outside the box, and it goes back to the data point that both you and Erez mentioned and how you’re bringing data into it. And I’m going to come back to you, Erez, on this kind of scalability and partnerships. And then, Max, we’ll come to you.
EREZ FAIT: So first of all, scale means knowledge and team. So we have now in Indonesia about six project that we are planning already to start using the crowd finance and local entrepreneur. And although some of them are approaching a huge area—five 1,000 hectare—we start only with one because part of it is education, to build a local capacity. So this is the way that we can easily expand in each area, putting the seed. Later on, it’s only expansion.
So, again, it’s important to understand the people that help us are not farmers. They’re coming from defense and the economy, but they understand how to scale up because, in the end of the day, the issue is scale up. And it means how to educate the people, make the technology available.
So part of our solution now is mobile application where the farmer can, in a way, have direct relation with the plant through our system. So it’s not anywhere—any more blind because today they are blind. They don’t know, there is a disease, what to do. There is something happen, they don’t know what to do. So part of our solution, because it’s online using cloud, we enable to close the circle. Like today in Jakarta there is a problem, we know the problem before they know because when they sleep and there is a leak we get alarm. So all these things are available today.
So the issue, how to connect all the dots of the agencies that has the money, the agencies they have the needs. So, actually, the model that we have in Indonesia we are now copying to Uzbekistan, to Vietnam, to all those countries we have discussion with. And I’m going from here to UAE, and over there they don’t have employees. So I’m going to make people train here to work over there. So you can see that we are looking at the global problem as one problem and solving it the same way.
NICOLE GOLDIN: So, Max, I’m sure Amazon Web Services has some interesting thoughts on scale and scalability. I’d love to hear them.
MAX PETERSON: Well, actually, yeah. Good call. Amazon actually created a new leadership principle just about a year and a half ago called success and scale bring broad responsibility.
And I want to shift, though, from talking about the technology partnerships to talk about people partnerships, because part of the way that we’re going to all improve is to innovate out of this. And there is—I mean, I’m sitting next to two people who I just got the opportunity and met who are driving incredible innovation. At AWS, we recognize that we need a place to bring these sorts of innovations together. You need to include universities and research organizations and government and nonprofits and NGOs and industry.
And so we created something called cloud innovation centers. We do these in combination with universities around the world. We’ve currently got a dozen of these cloud innovation centers in operation around the world and they do exactly that. They serve as a place to bring together all of the people with incredible innovative ideas with the data that they need to make good data-driven decisions and with some technology from Amazon to be able to come up with these ideas.
And by the way, those 12 cloud innovation centers just so far in 2022 have done over a hundred innovation projects. And so we create these innovation challenges. They could be food security. They could be health. They could be anything that’s relevant to the local community. And it’s a phenomenal way to build the partnerships that you talked about.
NICOLE GOLDIN: That’s such a great example, and I don’t think we hear enough or talk enough about the importance of the academic community and that research piece. And it’s great to see you bringing that innovation and that academics.
We talked about sort of technology as an enabling factor, and another aspect of the conversation these last couple days has been about governance and the importance of governance, both at the national and in the multilateral context, to support aligning incentives, to support innovation, investment, and inclusion as well. And so I want to come back to you, Qingfeng, to ask you to kind of speak briefly about multilateral governance. You mentioned some models in particular on the financing side. We haven’t gotten at that. What are some specific aspects of models of multilateral governance that you can—that you could speak to?
QINGFENG ZHANG: Thank you so much, Nicole. Again, I—you know, if we’re talking about the difference between this crisis and also 2008 crisis, you know, good news is that—our colleagues in this panel already mentioned about it—we know the crisis much better than before and we have a good tools in our hand—you know, the technology, digital technology, you know, remote sensing and many other tools in our hand—to address the crisis. But at same time, we also know that the scale and also the complexity of the crisis much bigger than the 2008 crisis, so it requires cooperations between the international organizations and also the governments.
So this time we learned the lessons from the 2008 crisis, so immediately after the Russia invasion of the Ukraine and then in May all of the IFIs—international financial institutions; ADB, World Bank, African Development Bank, IFA—all of them get together, formulate, and they launch action plan to address food insecurity. Basically, we agree to adopt coherent strategy focused on five key areas.
Number one is the support the vulnerable people.
Two, promote the open trade.
Three, mitigate the fertilizer shortage.
Four is support the small farmers and also productions.
Finally, focus on long-term resilience…
So after that, of course, is the G7 hosted by Germany where we are—you know, establish sort of the global alliance on the food security. Just a few days ago, under the COP27, we jointly launch what we call is a food security dodgeball. So that means we’re going to watch what happening in agricultural market information, but at the same time also track our financial… and how to address the most vulnerable people.
Again, I’m not saying this is perfect. So many things need to be addressed. But again, compared to the 2008 crisis, I think the international community responded much quicker, much more, you know, coordinated, you know. And then they—I think going to be also effective.
Let me just pause here.
NICOLE GOLDIN: Thank you. It’s a good example and it’s one I will bring back to my colleagues at the Atlantic Council GeoEconomics Center as we’re thinking about reforming and what the Bretton Woods 2.0 will look like as we think about World Bank and IMF reforms.
And I want to come to you—back to you, Arif. Again, thinking about multilateral, you’re operating in—within the UN system. What are some of the aspects of the work? And what have you seen work well at the multilateral level in terms of multilateral governance and also in the financing aspect?
ARIF HUSAIN: Right. So excellent question.
First and foremost, I mean, you know, what we are seeing is that there is a consensus on the problem statements. You have IMF, World Bank, WTO, World Food Programme, FAO doing joint statements on what’s at stake. And on that side, essentially three things come to mind as the problem statements.
First one is that, as bad as it is right now, you can call this affordability crisis, meaning food is available but it may not be at the right place or it might not be at the right cost. But it is available. But if we don’t sort out the fertilizer issue and sort it out now, today’s affordability crisis will turn into tomorrow’s availability crisis, which means even higher prices. And I don’t think we can afford that in 2023. That’s one side.
The second one where we are coming together is basically about which countries are in trouble. What are the characteristics of countries which are in trouble? And what I can say is that if you’re a poor country, if you have high debt, if you happen to import your food, your fuel, and your fertilizer, you are in trouble. So what is the solution on that side? We need to start talking about debt relief or hunger relief, meaning instead of poor countries making their debt payments they could use the same resources to import their food and their fertilizer. This is something which needs to be considered. There is a precedent in the sense of there is debt relief for climate. Why not debt relief for hunger relief?
The third thing where there is consensus building is about, you know, our export bases for our staple commodities are extremely, extremely thin. What I mean by that is that less than 10 countries make up 70, 80 percent of our export base for wheat, corn, rice, soybean, even fertilizer. And, worse yet, less than five countries hold stocks of these commodities at 90 percent level. That kind of situation means that whenever a shock happens to any one of these countries you feel the pain all around the world, and war in Ukraine is just the latest example of that. So we need to sort of sort out the diversification problem going forward.
Now, very last thing on that is that, frankly, we have the money, we have the technology, we have the—it’s not about those things. At the end of the day, it is about staying the course because many of these things, if we are going to solve them, it’s going to take time. That requires political will and staying with the problem till it’s done, and that’s something which we have been missing. We missed it in 2008. We missed it in 2011. Hopefully, this time around we stick with the problem till it is resolved.
NICOLE GOLDIN: Thank you. I’m glad you reiterated and brought the debt issue back into the conversation. That’s something that we talked a little bit about earlier and yesterday as well. And it really is critical to keep that in context, especially to your point about as we go into the G20 and the finance ministers are meeting, and that is something that I know is on the agenda, and there is certainly a clear linkage, especially right now.
Believe it or not, we only have a few minutes left. Time has flown by. So I’m going to ask you all one last question. We talked about our successes and what is working, but sometimes we can learn as much if not more from talking about what hasn’t worked or what we haven’t tried yet and why. So in just about a minute, I’ll ask you all for a kind of final thought what you are excited to see moving forward, a key lesson learned within your own company, within your own product, or just something you’ve seen in the community that you think we can do better. And I will start with Bakur because you just raised your hand. And we’ll have just one minute each. Thank you.
BAKUR KVEZERELI: Thank you. Thank you.
So the—my thoughts—all this, again, going back to the discussions—is that there is—there are different agreements like Madrid agreement on one topic, there is the Paris agreement on climate. We don’t have a food agreement so far. There are multiple, but not as global and as powerful as—we don’t have targets. We don’t know what our target as a globe in food. And I think that Bali, Indonesia agreement in the next two days or three days will be a good start, good base for a future moving forward, just to agree on target what we need to achieve in grain production, in meat production, and so on and so on, right? I think that’s where we failed and now we need to do that type of agreement so everyone knows what’s our vision and what we want to achieve in what time period.
NICOLE GOLDIN: Great. Excellent suggestion. Thank you.
Erez, coming to you.
EREZ FAIT: So, first of all, I would like to refer to Ukraine because it’s on the cloud, Ukraine. So because of our experience of doing things remotely, we are working now with some Ukraine farmers that moved the agriculture from the area that was captured by Russia into the other side of Ukraine in order to provide food. So the ability to send a system remotely and just explain what to do, it’s part of our activity here. So this is the advantage of technology.
The other thing is how to make a small move in order to make a bigger move, because everybody speak about the problems and the thing is how to start to open this dam to bring the results to everybody now. Because, as you said, the availability is now and the issue of challenges is now, and we cannot delay food delivery. That’s the problem. We can delay things like luxury, but not food. So these are the challenges now.
NICOLE GOLDIN: Very inspirational. Thank you.
Arif, coming to you for a final thought, an inspired failure, or something that we can all take forward or do differently.
ARIF HUSAIN: Look, I mean, you know, there is a lot of hope. And frankly, this is—hunger is a solvable problem. It’s not just saying that; it really is when you look at it.
My final thought just is that, you know, we are always talking about whenever there is a project offered or something is offered, you know, we always talk about, you know, how much is it going to cost to do that. Maybe we need to turn this question on its head and start asking: What if we don’t do it, what is the cost? What is the cost of inaction? And if that answer scares you, you better do it. And if it doesn’t, it’s fine.
Right now, the cost of inaction of not dealing with food security in terms of destabilization, in terms of terrorism, in terms of migration out of destitution is huge. It’s just that we don’t pay it right away; we pay it a few months or a few years later. And I think we need to start thinking about that very, very seriously when we are making financial decisions and political will about solving many of these problems because they come to our doorsteps as well. Thank you.
NICOLE GOLDIN: Thank you. It’s such an important point. The counterfactual can be really powerful, and I think that also speaks to the importance of research and data. And maybe that’s something, as well, that we as a community haven’t been doing as good a job as we need to. And it comes back to that inclusion point.
Qingfeng, final thought? And then we’ll come to you, Max, to wrap this up.
QINGFENG ZHANG: Thank you so much.
Again, I stay hopeful. I also say G20 is a great platform to really enforce in term of the governance… That very, very effective to really reduce risk of the food insecurity. Now is the time for us to think how we introduce innovations in the G20, reinforce the declarations. Again, you know, since March of this year, at least 20 countries in this area is introduce trade restrictions, really make the market as very panic. So I think this G20 is an opportunity to review what works, what doesn’t, and then they incorporate the lessons and they release new declaration. I think that is our hope.
NICOLE GOLDIN: Thank you.
MAX PETERSON: I will quickly wrap it up, just say I’m incredibly inspired by all of the people on the panel here and the sharing that they had. And one thing that we try and do is encourage people to think big. And there’s a lot of really big thinking here. The challenge with thinking big, however, is if you’re thinking big enough you’re going to fail. But what you need to do is you need to realize that food security is—failure is not an option. And so we just look at ways that we can help people fail, learn, improve, and move faster, and I’m very encouraged by all of my panelists here that we can—that this is solvable and that we can solve it. We just have to think big and take action.
NICOLE GOLDIN: And fail, fail, fail. So thank you and learn from it. Please join me in thanking this fantastic panel. We could have talked all day. Thank you very much.