A new report, Sustainable Agricultural Productivity Growth and Bridging the Gap for Small Family Farms, from the FAO and OECD, is a collaborative piece released as a response to a request from the Mexican G20 Presidency for practical action to improve agricultural productivity growth, and in particular on small family farms. The 2012 G20 Summit took place in Mexico earlier this week.
The report includes input from eleven different international organisations in a joint effort to assemble a set of ten tactical recommendations for sustainably improving agricultural productivity growth.
The report builds on commitments made at the 2011 G20 Summit, which saw the creation of the Agricultural Market Information System, and highlights that investment and innovation will be needed to implement future solutions for productive and sustainable agricultural solutions.
Below is a summary of the recommendations for G20 governments.
According to the authors and contributors to the report, G20 governments should:
- Commit to investment in domestic agriculture, with particular attention to smallholder farmers of both genders; collaborate with concerned international organisations; and introduce an on-going process of analysis and peer review to find best policy options.
- Demonstrate leadership to strengthen international disciplines on import and export restrictions; promote greater adherence to sanitary measures developed by international research organisations; and support sanitary capacity building.
- Support country-level implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of National Food Security; support the Committee on World Food Security process on the Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investments; support a series of international consultations with the relevant organisations and promote and scale-up appropriate partnership models in developing countries’ agriculture.
- Continue to support on-going initiatives to contribute to improving agricultural productivity sustainably; facilitate exchange of experience and policy dialogue on Agricultural Innovation Systems at a high level by supporting an annual meeting of “chief scientists” in G20 countries and involving a variety of platforms; strengthen efforts of the national, regional and global levels to identify, assess, prioritise, monitor and evaluate investments in Agricultural Innovations Systems.
- Commit to support developing countries to establish and enforce appropriate Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) systems consistent with international obligations; support the development and promotion of a global information system on plant and animal genetic resources.
- Support countries in considering a range of policy responses for improved agricultural water management; promote innovations in water research to farmers; seek to improve and build resilience for water governance at an institutional level to address climate change related water security risks; continue dialogue based on the recommendations concerning food security and water made by ministers at the World Water Forum in March 2012.
- Commit to reviewing policies that may generate perverse incentives for sustainability and encourage unsustainable use of natural resources; support developing countries in implementing policies based on a comprehensive analysis of the relationships between food security, food production and natural resource use; support developing countries to strengthen evaluation systems of “market-smart” smallholder targeted input subsidy programmes.
- Support the efforts of relevant international organisations and risk management initiatives, such as the Platform for Agricultural Risk Management; strengthen their own efforts towards exchanging weather information.
- Support the continued provision of targeted, well-designed and gender-sensitive social safety-net programmes that meet the immediate food and nutrition needs of smallholders and their households.
- Recommend the explicit integration of agricultural education and the sustainable agriculture intensification agenda into the international organisations’ initiative to support national skills development strategies; recognise the equal importance of the roles of women and men farmers in promoting sustainable agricultural productivity growth.
You can read the entire report here.
As the G8 and G20 sessions got underway, Farming First’s Morgane Danielou spoke with a US radio channel, Farm Cast, about sustainable agriculture around the worldwide.
Danielou discussed that how the Farming First principles were developed to provide relevant guidelines to agricultural programmes worldwide at global, regional and local levels, both in developed and developing countries.
She highlighted how the challenge in developed countries was to reduce the environmental impact of agricultural activities, whilst in developing countries the focus must be on raising agricultural productivity:
We need to learn the lessons from those [that have achieved increased productivity] and see how we can increase agricultural productivity, especially in Africa, whilst not having the environmental impacts that we had in the sixties or the seventies.
Danielou also said,
If you want to perform agriculture in the best way possible for farmers, or for consumers or for nature it has to be seen as a highly knowledge- and technology-intensive sector and there has to be constant investment in agricultural research.
Listen to the Farm Cast interview with Morgane Danielou here:[audio:https://farmingfirst.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/farmcast141edited.mp3]
Farming First have contributed to a virtual roundtable on China Dialogue’s website where experts and commentators have been invited to debate the top priorities for world leaders in Toronto this weekend. Speaking on the behalf of the Farming First coalition, Howard Minigh, President and Chief Executive of CropLife International insisted on the need for putting food security first for sustainable development and called on the G8 and G20 to provide support to existing food security initiatives.
The proliferation of aligned, but ultimately separate, food-security initiatives over the past two years suggests a number of roles for the G8 and G20 to play, as core funders of international development.
Farming First, a sustainable-development coalition, believes that G8 and G20 leaders should help proactively guide policymakers to coordinate their efforts to prevent overlapping, competing or disjointed activities in agriculture. Our 129 supporter organisations have compiled a comprehensive “Guide to Food Security Initiatives” ahead of this year’s G8 and G20 summits.
Alongside the need for cohesion, Howard Minigh spoke of the need for collaboration between all stakeholders to effectuate these food security policies successfully.
In these times of austerity we urge world leaders to demand greater transparency on the delivery of these billions and on the impact they are having. Lastly, we urge their governments to engage with all relevant stakeholders, notably farmers, scientists, engineers and industry, on turning enlightened food-security policies into effective and sustainable action on the world’s farms.
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.
At the conclusion of their recent summit in Pittsburgh last week, world leaders warned that “sustained funding and targeted investments are urgently needed to improve long-term food security.’
Their final statement includes a series of recommendations related to food security and sustainable farming. Here are some quotes from the statement itself:
We called on the World Bank to play a leading role in responding to problems whose nature requires globally coordinated action, such as climate change and food security… (#21)
Over four billion people remain undereducated, ill-equipped with capital and technology, and insufficiently integrated into the global economy…. we call on the World Bank to develop a new trust fund to support the new Food Security Initiative for low-income countries announced last summer… (#23)
The World Bank and other multilateral development banks are also critical to our ability to act together to address challenges, such as climate change and food security, which are global in nature and require globally coordinated action… (#24)
The World Bank, working with the regional development banks and other international organizations, should strengthen its focus on food security through enhancements in agricultural productivity and access to technology, and improving access to food… (#24)
The poorest countries have little economic cushion to protect vulnerable populations from calamity, particularly as the financial crisis followed close on the heels of a global spike in food prices… (#34)
Even before the crisis, too many still suffered from hunger and poverty and even more people lack access to energy and finance. Recognizing that the crisis has exacerbated this situation, we pledge cooperation to improve access to food, fuel, and finance for the poor… (#38)
Sustained funding and targeted investments are urgently needed to improve long-term food security. (#39)