Stories tagged: G8

Farming First in China Dialogue: What Would You Tell the G20?

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.

Farming First Launches New Guide to Food Security Initiatives Ahead of G8 Summit

Download Farming First’s Guide to Food Security Initiatives

foodsecurity_guideFood 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:

  1. promote a clear joint focus on a common goal for food security at the global level through policy and operational coherence
  2. encourage increased transparency on how much of pledged funding has been committed and to what types of programmes
  3. engage a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that efforts are coordinated, clear, collaborative and ultimately successful.

map_final_smallReturning 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.

Guardian Article Highlights African Agriculture’s Potential, Both at Home and Abroad

africaCan Africa transform itself from an agricultural basket case to the world’s bread basket?

This is the question which Peter Hazell tries to address in a recent article written for the Guardian newspaper.

Hazell discusses how the Green Revolution, which introduced modern agricultural practices and technologies to the developing world, helped Asia and South America to eradicate (for the most part) hunger from within their populations.  Yet most of the African continent and its farmers have not benefitted from an equivalent revolution, and the productivity of their harvests has remained stagnant over the past half century while populations have been rapidly increasing and climate change is causing a less reliable supply of food.

In fact, local access for African farmers is still low.  Historically, African governments have committed much less than their Asian counterparts in funding agriculture.  Hazell estimates that Africa has spent around 5% or 6% of total government spending over the past 40 years while Asia has spent 15% or more over the same period.  At the same time, foreign donors have, until recently, neglected agriculture as a development priority for their funding allocations.

There are indications that this is changing.  African leaders have committed to increased funding to 10% of budgets and world leaders have earmarked money for investing in rural infrastructure support among other actions.  As an example, the G8 just committed to $20 billion in funding at their July summit in Italy.

This momentum makes Hazell believe that

if supported, millions of poor farmers could lift themselves out of poverty and… it [Africa] could provide a solution to the global food shortages and spiraling food prices we are all facing.

Farming First’s Ajay Vashee Discusses Obama, Agriculture, and Malawi with Bloomberg

3772343979_c09946289fAfter attending the G8 summit in Italy earlier last week, President Obama immediately flew down to Ghana, in his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa since being elected President.

Obama’s trips to Italy and Ghana both served to demonstrate his public support for an increased focus on the needs of farmers, particularly those without sufficient access to the tools they need to farm efficiently and feed themselves.

In Italy, Obama said:

There is no reason why Africa cannot be self-sufficient when it comes to food.  It has sufficient arable land.  What’s lacking is the right seeds, the right irrigation, but also the kinds of institutional mechanisms that ensure that a farmer is going to be able to grow crops, get them to market, get a fair price.

In a recent Bloomberg article, Farming First’s Ajay Vashee, President of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP), discussed the need for African farmers to have better access to the seeds and fertilizers they needed to increase their yields and improve their livelihoods as farmers.

Vashee particularly noted the success of Malawi’s farm input subsidy programme, which has been running for the past five years and which has served as a model for neighboring countries.

The Bloomberg article noted that Tanzania began a fertilizer-subsidy programme last December, that Kenya has announced a similar subsidy plan to boost yields, and that the Ugandan government had increased spending on agriculture by 47 per cent in its latest budget.

In preparation for his trip to Ghana, Obama discussed the role that governments should play in driving progress in African development goals, quoted in a recent Wall Street Journal article:

Countries that are governed well, that are stable, where the leadership recognizes that they are accountable to the people and that institutions are stronger than any one person have a track record of producing results for the people.

In May, Farming First interviewed the coordinator of Malawi’s farm subsidy programme and Principal Economist in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Idrissa Mwale.  Watch the video here:

Watch other videos from Farming First on Vimeo here.

G8 Intends to Triple Agricultural Investment

3878838138_c08d786bb9In the run-up to the G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy later this week, the Financial Times has published information on how these world leaders intend to address global fod security issues.

A draft of the G8’s declaration notes that:

The combined effect of long-standing underinvestment in agriculture and food security, price trends, and the economic crisis have led to increased hunger.  Food security is closely connected with economic growth and social progress as well as with political stability.

The G8 intends to earmark US$12bn over the next three years, much of which will come from the US and Japan.

In a separate commentary piece, Japan’s Prime Minister Taro Aso noted that a global framework needs to be developed by which to measure progress in sustainable agriculture development.  Aso stated:

Japan will work with key partners to develop a global platform to agree on principles and compile good practices.  We call on interested parties to meet in September.  We need a grand coalition with a common vision, for our interests are all entwined.


Farming First’s Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda Comments on African Agriculture in the Guardian

LindiweFarming First’s Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda explained how agriculture can play a central role in African development in an article published today in the Guardian online.

In the wake of the recent G8 Agricultural Ministers meeting, Dr. Sibanda asked the fundamental question, “So what can Africans do to put food on the table and money in their pockets?”  Her answer is to invest further in agriculture.

The article highlights the need for those in power to seek consensus, both in terms of how policy is drafted and programmes are implemented. Regional and pan-African programmes, such as the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural ADevelopment Programme (CAADP) — show promise for how coordinated efforts to share knowledge, enable markets, and build local access are already under way.  Dr. Sibanda wrote:

It is time we realised that there can be no sustainable development without sustainable agriculture. For Africa to develop sustainable food polices, partnerships are key.