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.