Stories tagged: LDCs

World Farmers Statement at LDCs Conference

Below is the statement delivered by the World Farmers Organisation at the UN High Level Thematic Debate on Reducing Vulnerabilities, responding to emergencies, and enhancing food security in the LDCs (least developed countries).

Mr. Chairman,

My name is Charles Ogang, President of the Ugandan Farmers Federation and a representative of the World Farmers Organisation.

Agriculture is central to development, poverty reduction and food security. Farmers must be returned to the centre of policy discussions on food security and sustainable development as we are the first step in addressing food security.  Unfortunately, too many of the world’s hungry are also farmers. We must be at the table for discussions to address the vulnerabilities faced in LDCs.

As a farmer in an LDC, I would like to highlight some key steps related to increasing food security and increasing resilience in LDCs :

a)    A holistic approach is needed that covers farm production from start through to market

b)    Agricultural research and extension services are essential and need more support to help farmers adapt to drought desertification, flood and climate change

c)    Smallholder farmers must be empowered to strengthen their productivity, sustainability and resilience. This includes land tenure rights for farmers, particularly women and support for farmer organisations.

d)    Post harvest losses are as high as 40% in some areas. Losses must be minimized through increased access to storage, improved infrastructure, better local collection systems to ensure more food gets to mouths that need it.

e)    Resilience of farmers must increased through safety nets, crop and herd insurance, secure banking.

f)      The Maputo commitments of 10% of government expenditures to agriculture in African countries is an important step toward food security in the region.

We can spend money on food aid, but long term we must focus on the issues of food security which demands greater food production in LDCs. I ask the panelists, how can we better link agriculture to food security?

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s Speech on Least Developed Countries

At the end of last week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon addressed the General Assembly on investment and financing of Least Developed Countries (LDCs). In his speech, he highlighted the need to focus attention on agriculture, one of the most important sectors for the growth of LDCs.

For too long now, we have ignored investments in agriculture.

In the past decade the cost of importing food in LDCs has tripled.

Global food prices have just reached record levels, and LDCs face a real prospect of a new food crisis. Millions of people have been pushed into poverty by the latest food price rises.

I am especially concerned about the poorest households, that often spend three-quarters of their income on food.

They have no buffer. When prices go up, they go hungry. Women and children are the worst hit.

Addressing these challenges, he said, was a question of investment in the right places.

My High Level Task Force is coordinating responses by the UN system to respond to immediate needs, build up local food markets and stimulate increased production.

We need to invest more in sustainable agriculture – especially in smallholder farmers and the infrastructure they need.

This is important, both for food security and competitiveness in international markets.

And it means investing in climate change adaptation and mitigation as well as in the ecosystem services that underpin agriculture.

Looking onwards to Rio+20 taking place next year, Ban Ki-Moon recognized the need for collaboration between the different sectors.

We need to connect the dots between poverty, climate change, energy, food and water.

Lastly, he spoke of the need for giving smallholder farmers in LDCs access to fair markets.

Least developed countries need to grow food and other commodities, manufacture products and develop other services.  But they also need to be able to trade fairly in the global marketplace.

The international community has failed to follow through on global commitments enshrined in the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration on Financing for Development.  I call again for a successful conclusion to the Doha Development Round of multilateral trade negotiations.

Aid for Trade is vital, but will do little good if global markets are blocked or intrinsically unfair.