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Technologies were already available to make the transition, said Gilberto Tomazoni, who has urged greater collaboration between major food businesses and governments

Smaller food producers should be supported with financial and practical backing to help them make the transition to more sustainable production practices, the global CEO of JBS has urged.

Speaking at the recent World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland, Gilberto Tomazoni said failing to support the world’s small-scale producers could ultimately lead to higher food prices and shortages, at a time when production needed to increase to meet growing global demand.

With one-third of the world’s population already not having access to adequate nutrition, it was now necessary to accelerate support towards regenerative practices, especially on small rural properties, he added.

Technologies were already available to make this transition, Tomazoni added. It was a matter of coming together – across the private and public sector – to provide the initial finance required for farmers to adopt more sustainable practices.

As part of this drive, JBS joined the First Movers Coalition for Food at COP28 in December, which is focused on harnessing the purchasing power of large companies and governments worldwide to encourage the adoption of more sustainable production methods – driving the development of low-carbon products.

Food systems were responsible for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions but received less than 4% of climate financing, Tomazoni pointed out.

“Especially for the small producer, access to initial capital is essential to transition to more sustainable practices such as planting cocoa in addition to rearing livestock, reducing the need to clear land and ensuring small producer productivity and income generation,” he said.

“Throughout the food chain, we must help our producer partners adopt new technologies and manage their operations more sustainably, according to the highest environmental standards,” he added.

For Tomazoni, joint action would now be crucial to overcoming global challenges.

“We need to unite forces because this is one of the challenges we need to solve together, among society, the public sector, and the private sector. It is a fact that we need to feed the global population and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The most important thing is that we put farmers – people – at the centre,” he emphasised.