February 21, 2013
Within the framework of a roundtable meeting at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ, Berlin), K+S Board Member Gerd Grimmig met with a number of prominent figures, including Federal Minister Dirk Niebel, Bill Gates (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) and management board members of other companies. They discussed the involvement of the BMZ, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and many German and European companies in the battle against hunger and malnutrition.
A total of € 80 million are being provided for this purpose. About € 20 million are being contributed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. German, European and international businesses are holding out the prospect of a further € 40 million. Dirk Niebel: “Two billion ill-nourished people worldwide is a scandal. Precisely malnutrition among children leads to permanent damage. That is why, together with Bill Gates and the business world, we are combining our strengths to fight hunger throughout the world”.
The BMZ and representatives of companies, which are members of the “German Food Partnership”, agreed to jointly promote the production of important basic foodstuffs like potatoes or rice, for example as part of the “Asian German Better Rice Initiative” (AGBRI). At the same time, the nutritive value of these basic foods will be improved.
Gerd Grimmig explained: “Our competence is fertilizers, which are tailored to the different natural conditions, climatic conditions and crops. They increase agricultural productivity and thus make an important contribution to providing enough food and vital minerals. Africa is a key region for our involvement. We are already active there and have thus participated in the ‘German Food Partnership’ from the outset. Our interest lies in improving the value added chains of basic foodstuffs. We know that success in such major projects can only be achieved jointly in cooperation with others”. For a project called “Basic foodstuffs in and for Africa”, K+S wants to make a contribution with its own products and many years of know-how. Grimmig: “We see ourselves as natural partners in this cooperation initiative”.
Bill Gates said: “I welcome the leading role that Germany is playing in global development. The investments in development and partnerships with the private sector have helped to finance many successful programmes and save millions of people from hunger and poverty. Over the past fifteen years, we have seen great progress. The number of people in absolute poverty has halved. By setting clear goals, such as a global productivity target in agriculture, we can continue to achieve real progress and save lives”.
K+S KALI GmbH, along with 35 other German and European companies and associations, is a member of the “German Food Partnership” alliance, which under the auspices of the BMZ make a concentrated effort to promote the agricultural and food sectors in those countries cooperating with the BMZ. The alliance was founded in June 2012. In this alliance, the sector is turning its self-obligation to achieve millennial goals into reality and supporting sustainable growth in agriculture, e.g. by taking account of regional specificities and the environment.
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