The session, held in Switzerland and broadcast live on the internet, looked at what environmental, societal and economic forces are re-shaping the global context for food security.
It was moderated by Rajiv Shah, administrator, US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Speakers included Ellen Kullman, chair of the board and CEO, DuPont US; Michel Liès, group CEO, Swiss Re; Shenggen Fan, director-general, International Food Policy Research Institute, US; Ajay Vir Jakhar, chairman, Bharat Krishak Samaj (Farmers' Forum India), India; and Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, minister of agriculture and rural development of Nigeria.
A common language on food security is the first step for tackling the issue, Kullman said. She added the Global Food Security Index is showing how factors vary from country to country.
This has helped when launching targeted projects such as DuPont’s advanced maize seed adoption programme, a collaboration with the Government of Ethiopia, which engages with smallholder farmers to improve access to seed.
“It [the Food Security Index] can help us understand that developments in Nigeria are very different to issues in India or in China or in other places in the world and allows the industry to engage in a way that hopefully creates meaningful outcomes,” Kullman said.
“To me it starts with that common language, common definition of what food security is and what the needs are, and then you can gear the programmes to be successful in the individual countries.”
Launched in 2012, the Global Food Security Index uses 27 indicators - ranging from dependency on food aid to availability of vitamins - to measure 107 developing and developed countries. This gives information on availability, quality and affordability - three aspects that drive food security.