In providing food and raw materials, the agricultural sector employs more than 2 billion people globally, is a foundation for rural development, and underpins many economies in terms of share of GDP and employment. Around the world, over 75 per cent of people living in poverty depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. The vast majority of the world’s farmers – 1.5 billion people, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – are women and smallholder farmers (farms operating with less than two hectares of land), yet they are the largest group of people in the world living in poverty. At the same time, agriculture accounts for 70 percent of freshwater withdrawal and generates 12 percent of all manmade greenhouse gases – or up to 25 percent, if forestry and other land use are included. The sector’s ability to boost productivity, minimize food losses and reduce impacts on natural resources is critical to food security and inclusive growth for a world population projected to rise from about 7.3 billion to 8.5 billion in 2030.
The World Bank estimates that growth in agriculture is two to four times more powerful at reducing poverty than growth in other sectors (http://www.csr-asia.com/report/Agribusiness-and-the-SDGs.pdf). GAA has a mandate to scale the collective contribution of the agribusiness industry to the SDGs.