TOKYO, 6th March 2018 – The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) has announced a global partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), as part of its strategy to strengthen public-private partnerships. The agreement aims to strengthen the private sector in developing countries, promoting the importance of food safety, environmental and social sustainability. The IFC is a sister organisation of the World Bank and a member of the World Bank Group. It is the largest global development institution and is focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries. The partnership was announced at this year’s Global Food Safety Conference in Tokyo, which is taking place on 5th-8th March.
The agreement aims to strengthen the Global Markets Programme, a framework for improving food safety in developing countries, fostering collaboration on food safety in emerging markets like Africa. Furthermore, a key goal is to include the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements, the world’s most widely accepted benchmark for food safety requirements, within the financial incentives provided by the IFC.
The partnership will offer suppliers short-term working capital financing, with lower costs for organisations which score highly on certification with a GFSI-recognised certification programme owner (CPO) as well as those which are on the pathway to GFSI-recognised certification through the Global Markets Programme. Commercial banks in emerging markets often have limited tailored financial products for suppliers and exporters, often finding it difficult to evaluate small- and medium-sized suppliers. Typically, they do not have an incentive structure for improved food safety, environmental, health and safety and social performance. GFSI and IFC’s agreement will allow them to work towards improving food safety standards, increase consumer trust and boost industry efficiency.
Mike Robach, Chairperson of the GFSI Board and VP, Corporate Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory Affairs, Cargill, stated, “The IFC has been using the Global Markets Programme since its creation. The organisation has always been involved in the construction of programme toolkits, engaging with GFSI stakeholders in technical working groups. The financial leverage of IFC in emerging markets will help all of us in the public and private spheres to make safer food for consumers everywhere.
“I am convinced that a strong and engaged private sector is indispensable to ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. The partnership with GFSI is a way for the IFC to deliver its strategic priorities to investors across the agribusiness supply chain—from farm to retail. It will lead to boosts in production, liquidity, logistics and distribution, while expanding access to credit for small farmers”.
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