John Kerry explores strategies for regional collaboration, climate action with Aleph Farms
Last Friday (2 June), Aleph Farms hosted US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC), John Kerry, at its HQ in Israel to discuss the role of cellular agriculture, alongside sustainable animal agriculture, in creating more secure and resilient food systems. The visit was part of a larger ongoing trip for Kerry that includes parts of the Middle East and Northern Europe.
While at Aleph’s HQ, Kerry met with senior executives from our sustainability, operations, R&D, and regulatory divisions. They discussed the importance of regional collaboration in addressing food insecurity and climate challenges in the Middle East and furthering policies that can advance meaningful scale-up of novel foods. The visit also included an opportunity for Kerry to enjoy Aleph Cuts, the world’s first cultivated steaks – the company's first application of animal cells. Kerry tasted the cultivated steak, experiencing first-hand a product slated to help diversify protein production and be part of the inclusive transition to resilient and sustainable food systems.
Climate change is affecting all regions on Earth and is having a disproportionate impact across MENA in particular. Since cultivated meat is grown in closed systems, its production is feasible in locations where harsh climate and resource scarcity prevent conventional animal agriculture from taking place. Such conditions match many areas across North Africa and the Middle East.
Aleph Farms discussed various prospects with SPEC John Kerry in regard to regional collaboration on climate action and food security, including: creating a regional authority to oversee a joint food security plan, including a fund for investment in related initiatives; harmonization of regulations; trade agreements for local and sustainable products; and regional innovation and training centers.
Alongside joint R&D and knowledge sharing, private-public partnerships in the agri-food-tech sector are key for strengthening food security, climate action, and economic growth. To this end, Aleph Farms works with global organizations such as the World Economic Forum, the United Nations, FAO, Conventions on Climate Change (COP), AIM for Climate and the N7 Initiative. The company also has investors that include sovereign funds, state-backed investment companies, and government agencies in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Just as Aleph Farms is working to overcome challenges associated with the production of cultivated meat, such as at-scale raw material costs and capital intensive infrastructure, the US government is also taking action, including through fresh support for producers of cultivated meat. While meeting with SPEC Kerry, Aleph Farms executives emphasized the importance of scaling up production systems for applications of cellular agriculture, as a complement to sustainable practices within animal agriculture. Specifically, they discussed efforts such as public-private partnerships, including offtake agreements, promotion of capital investment in strategic climate action, and alignment of existing agriculture-related incentives to promote sustainable practices. They also debated tax incentives and project finance support to promote scale-up and cost reduction of novel and sustainable food production systems (e.g., cellular agriculture), integration of mandatory carbon frameworks that allow novel foods to expedite reduction of methane emissions across food production, helping fulfil the Global Methane Pledge, and the expansion of existing incentives such as various Farm Bill programs, including USDA Business & Industry Loan Guarantees and the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program
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