Stories tagged: camp david

Food Security Takes Centre Stage at G8 Summit as New Alliance is Announced

The G8 Summit at Camp David last weekend marked a new stage in the mission towards a food secure future, with the announcement of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. The new initiative announced by the G8 in partnership with African leaders aims to raise 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years through significantly increased investment from the private sector in African agriculture; as well as through effective country plans and food security policies.

At the G8 summit in L’Aquila in 2009, over $20 billion was pledged to bolster food security; yet only 22% of these donations have been disbursed. The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition promises to build on and help realise the promise of L’Aquila by fulfilling outstanding financial pledges, providing bilateral and multilateral assistance aligned to country plans with increased efficiency.

A statement from the White House said:

In partnership with Africa’s people and leaders, our goals are to increase responsible domestic and foreign private investments in African agriculture, take innovations that can enhance agricultural productivity to scale, and reduce the risk borne by vulnerable economies and communities. We recognize and will act upon the critical role played by smallholder farmers, especially women, in transforming agriculture and building thriving economies.

At the African Union assembly in 2003, the African-led Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme was put in place to reform African agriculture, with the aim of an average annual growth rate of 6 percent in agriculture by 2015. The New Alliance will work in partnership with this programme, providing predictable funding commitments, specific policy actions, and statements of intent from the private sector.

In particular, the New Alliance pledges to:

– Support the financing of infrastructure projects

– Secure commitments of $1.2 billion over three years from existing and new donors

– Launch a Technology Platform that will assess the availability of improved technologies for food commodities and create a roadmap to accelerate their adoption

– Launch the Scaling Seeds and Other Technologies Partnership, with AGRA to promote the commercialization, distribution and adoption of key technologies improved seed varieties

– Share relevant agricultural data available from G-8 countries with African partners and convene an international conference on Open Data for Agriculture

– Support the Platform for Agricultural Risk Management (PARM) in identifying key risks to food and nutrition security and agricultural development and recommending options for managing these risks

– Accelerate the availability and adoption of agricultural index insurance, in order to mitigate risks to farmers

The topic of nutrition, particularly in the first 1,000 days of children’s lives, also featured prominently in the announcement, with G8 leaders promising to support the Scaling Up Nutrition movement, as well as the accelerated release, adoption and consumption of bio-fortified crop varieties to improve the nutritional quality of food in Africa.

Most significantly during the conference, US President Barack Obama announced the signing of Letters of Intent from over 45 local and multinational companies, such as Yara and Syngenta to invest over $3 billion across the agricultural value chain. In his speech President Obama said:

We’re going to hold ourselves accountable. We’ll measure results. And we’ll stay focused on clear goals: boosting farmers’ incomes and over the next decade helping 50 million men, women and children lift themselves out of poverty.

Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) welcomed the initiative, particularly celebrating the strong ownership element by African countries themselves. He said:

The unveiling of this initiative today sends a strong signal that the world’s largest economies are ready to extend and deepen their commitments and deliver on a new level of support for eradicating hunger, and doing so in ways that are sustainable for our planet and our societies – including rural societies in developing countries.

Other organisations have had a more critical reception of the announcement. Oxfam’s Lamine Ndiaye commented:

This new alliance – is a nice complement at best, a deflection at worst. The role of the private sector is important, but they will not be able to make up for the G8’s broken promises. Smallholder farmers need the freedom to pursue their own growing strategies, not take overly prescriptive tips on farming from G8 leaders, or one size fits all technologies from far away CEOs. Having been developed without African civil society, it’s unclear what role they will play in its execution

To see the attention of the world’s leaders focussed so firmly on food security and nutrition and stimulating worldwide discussion is a welcome step forward. The impressive promises made by the G8 could pave the way towards improved livelihoods for the world’s poorest – provided that they maintain this momentum to turn their pledges into progress.

Farming First Calls for G8 Leaders to be Accountable for Food and Nutrition Commitments

As world leaders kick off a two-day gathering for the G8 Summit in Camp David today, food security and nutrition is high on the agenda. Today Barack Obama, G8 and African leaders will meet at a symposium to discuss new G8 efforts on food security and the opportunity and benefits of private sector investment in African agriculture and food sectors.

Since the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative (AFSI) in 2009, where leaders pledged to partner with global governments to improve agriculture and bolster food security through $22 billion worth of new investments, donors disbursed only 22% of their pledges without reporting how they would honour the remaining funds.

Farming First welcomes the planned G8 food security agenda, but calls for measurable, coherent systems to be put in place by governments to track the progress of new commitments made, in light of neglected promises from L’Aquila, and ensure their actions build on existing initiatives.

Robynne Anderson from the World Farmer’s Organisation comments:

G8 leaders should take action and build on the food security pledges they made in L’Aquila. Renewed funding should be coordinated, transparent and farmer-centred as well as being inclusive and broad-based. It should recognise agriculture’s role in building a global green economy, reducing poverty, stimulating growth, and ensuring food and nutrition security.

To implement smarter programmes for food security, health, and nutrition, Farming First recommends strategies for global leaders:

1. Include agricultural activities in national nutrition strategies and promote the role of farmers as nutrient providers.

2. Train farmers in using appropriate agricultural inputs and techniques that can encourage the production of abundant and nutritious crops and mixed diets, including fruits and vegetables.

3. Highlight the importance of increasing productivity and diversity as an essential component of ensuring access to nutritious foods.

4. In addition, micronutrient deficiency affects not only people but also plants, livestock and soils. By addressing all forms of micronutrient deficiency, productivity gains can be made and people’s nutrition can be improved.

5. Target farmers, especially women farmers in developing countries, as key partners in improving household nutrition and delivering nutritional interventions, such as dietary supplements

6. Increase the productive capacity of farmers in food insecure countries through a focus on:

  • Land tenure security
  • Access to financial services, including savings, financing and risk mitigation for farming and value addition
  • Access to technology, inputs and irrigation
  • Agricultural extension services to share knowledge with farmers
  • Reduced post harvest losses through storage
  • Improved rural infrastructure

Recently, President Obama invited four leaders from African countries, Ghana, Benin, Tanzania, and Ethiopia to join G8 leaders at the Summit for a session on food security. Many parts of Africa are facing a food crisis as they struggle to cope with high levels of drought, poverty, high grain prices, disease, and environmental degradation, and it is important they are involved in the discussions too.

Dr Lindiwe Simbanda, a Farming First spokesperson and CEO of FANRPAN, says:

Consulting with African heads of state could be an important opportunity for G8 leaders to establish a broader set of solutions and make the global partnerships formed under the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative more productive.

At Camp David today, Farming First hopes to see global leaders seize the opportunity to foster policy coherence on food security, price volatility and global health, and that any announcements made include mandatory and transparent progress updates from G8 Nations.

Read Farming First’s policy paper on Nutrition here.