During a panel discussion organized by Food Tank, the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), experts discuss the importance of unlocking private investments to support sustainable food systems.

The fifth Call to Action and this conversation focuses on the role that private investors play in food systems transformation. Panelists include: Andrew Mushita, Executive Director of the Community Technology Development Trust; Ndidi Nwuneli Co-founder of Sahel Consulting and Board Chair of Nourishing Africa; Bettina Prato, Senior Coordinator for the Smallholder and Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network (SAFIN); and Geeta Sethi, Advisor and Global Lead for Food Systems at the World Bank.

In addition to ensuring that finance is moving into the right spaces, Prato argues that infrastructure is just as essential. “Finance itself doesn’t unlock investment opportunities,” Prato tells Food Tank. “You really have to build up those investment opportunities, to design, prepare, and de-risk those opportunities.”

Once these investment opportunities are in place, Mushita says that it is important to ensure developments are “demand-driven” and “serve the interests of small-holder farmers.” By co-designing solutions with farmers, he argues, it is possible to ensure that they truly work for a community.

Like Mushita, Nwuleni points to the importance of prioritizing funding for local food systems actors, underscoring that it is an issue of equity. Drawing on her experience working with small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs), she says the majority of startups that receive funding in Kenya, for example, are owned by non-Kenyans.

Read the full article about investments in a sustainable food system by Elena Seeley at Food Tank.