Cernobbio, 12 October 2019 – Today, Coldiretti’s President, Ettore Prandini, Eni’s CEO, Claudio Descalzi, and BF S.p.A.’s CEO, Federico Vecchioni, signed a cooperation agreement to start assessing the potential for projects abroad– especially in Africa – to develop local economies using innovative, sustainable and eco-friendly farming techniques. The agreement was signed in the presence of Giuseppe Conte, Italy's Prime Minister.
The deal follows on from the partnership agreed on 5th July between Eni and Confederazione Nazionale Coldiretti, which sets out areas of collaboration regarding the circular economy – particularly in energy, farming, agri-food and livestock – to be pursued through specific initiatives. BF S.p.A., the only Italian agro-industrial group listed on the stock exchange, will help to generate value and benefit local areas through its seed production companies applied technology, and high-quality food production, to create highly integrated, innovative and sustainable supply chains. Eni will share its experience in delivering sustainable development projects for local communities, the circular economy and renewable energies, facilitating the transfer of knowledge transfer and development entrepreneurship.
Under the agreement, Eni, BF S.p.A. and Coldiretti are evaluating, as a priority, the possibility of an initial collaborative project in Ghana. The 'Ghana Project' is a pilot project developed by Eni in partnership with the local government, intended to have a lasting impact on development in particularly poor areas of the country. The project involves setting up a training center for agricultural development and businesses where its alumni can work, thereby also creating an agricultural business community. Students will receive a daily allowance throughout their training, provided that they attend lessons. Specific indicators from the Ghana Project have been identified, which will it to be repeated on a larger scale in other regions of the country and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.
"The target is to export a development model that focuses on the enhancement of local communities, exploiting the potential of family business and supporting small producers in the South of the world, who are threatened by distortion in the systems of production and distribution of food, that favors the hoarding of lands and causes the migration from the countryside to the richest countries where they often expect suffering and marginalization" commented Coldiretti’s President, Ettore Prandini.
Federico Vecchioni, BF S.p.A.’s CEO, said: “The global challenge of the future will be introducing programs that promote sustainable farming, and increase the production of high-quality food for a growing world population while cultivable land decreases. As such, BF S.p.A., which is the most important agro-industrial company in Italy, is duty-bound to offer its skills transform Africa into a testing ground for agricultural sustainability and innovation. Creating modern, integrated agricultural supply chains and transferring expertise on sustainable, innovative farming to younger generations are key goals for BF S.p.A.'s Africa Project, which aims to help reduce food and climate emergencies, and tackle endemic unemployment and lack of prospects that Africa continues to struggle with”.
Claudio Descalzi, Eni’s CEO, said: “We have formed an innovative partnership. It's a model of cooperation that uses expertise and technology to meet two pressing needs of our time: the need to make a sustainable contribution to the social and economic development of local communities in developing countries and, at the same time, the need to contribute to a model of energy production that is more and more sustainable and geared towards decarbonization. These are vital concerns for the planet, which pose momentous challenges. Our contribution will become more meaningful once the principles we have applied will be adopted by the entire system. Eni will fulfil a dual aim through this agreement: renewing its commitment to local development initiatives in the countries it works in, and taking another significant step towards building an economic system that is increasingly efficient and circular".