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Annan: Companies that Do the Right Thing Always Come Out on Top
New York Ag Connection - 06/19/2017

Delivering the keynote at AgriVision 2017, Kofi Annan, chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation and former Secretary General of the United Nations, addressed around 400 senior executives in the feed-to-food value chain.

"You don't need to wait for governments to put the right laws in place in order to start doing the right things. And companies that do the right thing will always come out on top. They have long understood that this is neither about altruism nor charity: doing good is good for business."

With this call for private sector leadership, Mr Annan concluded the two-day conference, which focused on AgTech developments, the pressing issue of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and agricultural development in emerging economies.

Stressing the importance of ending hunger by 2030 against the background of a growing world population, Mr Annan stressed the need to increase agricultural productivity, particularly in developing countries.

"We need to start treating smallholder agriculture as a commercial business. Larger commercial operations have an important role to play here, as they can share market access and advanced farming techniques with smallholders."

Annan also referred to the looming global public health crisis related to AMR. "It is critical that we keep animals healthy and productive through good nutrition and farm practices rather than the extensive use of antibiotics, which can lead to human resistance to antibiotics with all its deplorable consequences."

This reflected also one of the key messages of Knut Nesse, CEO of Nutreco, who called on the industry to provide leadership: "When it comes to AMR we have to be proactive and ensure we are part of the solution. I strongly believe that it is in our own interest to reduce the need for antibiotics in animal production. And with a change in mind-set and closer industry collaboration, we have the alternatives already at hand."

The conference also focused on developments that suggest that the agribusiness and animal feed sectors are ripe for transformative change. A forum of AgTech start-ups presented their innovations and views to the audience.

Parallel to AgriVision, Nutreco organised a hackathon. Over 35 data crunchers, coders and analysts collaborated in a 32-hour pressure-cooking environment to see what can be done by sharing and integrating data in the feed and livestock production value chain.

Agrivision 2017 took place from in Noordwijk aan Zee, the Netherlands.

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