Food security is an immediate and future priority for all countries worldwide. Since the food crisis erupted in 2008, a large number of global and regional food security initiatives have been launched or strengthened in response. While these developments are welcome, improving policy and implementation coherence is essential to ensure programmes have the desired impacts.
As we move towards action on these food security policies, Farming First urges policymakers to:
promote a clear joint focus on a common goal for food security at the global level through policy and operational coherence
encourage increased transparency on how much of pledged funding has been committed and to what types of programmes
engage a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that efforts are coordinated, clear, collaborative and ultimately successful.
Returning farmers to the centre of policy decisions is fundamental to sustainable development. Governments, businesses, scientists and civil society groups must focus attention on the source of our food security. Women farmers should become specially targeted recipients because of their vital roles in the agricultural workforce,
household food procurement and preparation, and family unit support.
Productivity levels in most developing countries have to be raised exponentially while considering environmental sustainability. Policies encouraging investment in developing countries’ agricultural sectors should be supported.
Governments should invest in their agricultural sectors and devise long-term agricultural development strategies supporting the development of local agricultural markets and farmers’ ability to answer market demands.
Local production should also be stimulated by providing farmers with the technology, the knowledge and the adequate financial services they need.
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Sylvain Charlebois, a Canadian academic at the University of Regina, recently published a commentary piece in the Globe and Mail newspaper discussing how the developing world, especially Africa, needs to put in place a new agricultural system in order to work toward greater food security.
Charlebois argues that the current system for agricultural production needs to be reviewed by developing countries in order to make it more relevant to their own needs — both nutrional and economic. Or, in the author’s own words, scientific advances should be looked at:
in the contexts of North-South relations, a globalized market economy, cultural diversity and economic asymmetry.
The combination of crop protection products and biotech crops has significantly helped advance conservation agriculture as a means of restoring and protecting soil and limiting erosion.
It is estimated that conservation agriculture can reduce soil erosion by 50 to 98 percent while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent through reduced oxidation of soil organic matter. No till is now being utilized on more than 95 million hectares, mostly in the USA, Brazil, Argentina, China, Canada and Paraguay.
No till farming in the USA doubled in the five year period following the introduction of herbicide-tolerant soybeans. It is estimated that this led to the preservation of 247 million tons of topsoil and 243 million gallons of fuel in 2002 alone.