Feed the change
- If resilience and food security are to improve, innovative partnerships are required.
- EU policy seeks to benefit smallholders in developing countries, but some believe the EU still spends too much on the Common Agricultural Policy and biofuels, and not enough on agriculture in developing countries.
- For partnership among governments, farmers and the private sector to work for development, they must be mutually beneficial.
An estimated one-seventh of the world’s population suffers from hunger or malnutrition. An estimated 170 million people suffer from stunting that irrevocably damages brain and physical development during the critical first 1,000 days of life. If resilience, and food and nutrition security are to be improved, innovative partnerships are required involving governments, the private sector, smallholders and local processors, academics and civil society organizations.
The European Union is the largest importer of agricultural products from developing countries. Recent reforms of its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) have reduced export subsidies that adversely affect agricultural producers in developing countries. EU policy seeks to benefit smallholders and ensure they are not ruled out of markets. Donor nations increasingly understand the importance of investing in agricultural development. Investment in nutrition yields an estimated 15 to 1 return. Access to foods with adequate levels of micronutrients is critical for poverty eradication and sustainable development.
Hunger is due to the denial of the right to food and the right to decent livelihoods. There is a power imbalance between smallholders and markets dominated by large, multinational agribusinesses. Speakers noted that the EU spends too much on CAP and support for biofuels, and not enough on support for agricultural in developing countries.
African nations are seeking to reduce poverty, hunger and malnutrition through a common agricultural programme with a target of investment in agricultural of 10 % of national budgets. African governments are facilitating contacts between farmers and lending institutions to help farmers obtain credit. Farmers need documented, ‘bankable’ ownership to obtain credit.
For progress in agricultural development, there must be tripartite partnerships among governments, smallholders and farmer organisations, and agribusiness. African governments are seeking to strengthen public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the agricultural sector.
Smallholders and local processors in developing countries face many challenges, including inadequate infrastructure; lack of access to credit, seeds and tools; lack of education and information; climate change, and non-tariff barriers to trade. Multinational agribusinesses are seeking to strengthen smallholders and local processors through contract farming arrangements, training, and access to seeds and equipment. Contract farming can improve access to credit.
Some farmers groups are suspicious of big agribusiness, believing that its ‘hidden agenda’ is shareholder profit, not development. However, for partnerships between farmers and the private sector to work, they must be mutually beneficial for all parties. Governments must play a major role in these PPPs, and farmers’ groups need increased capacity to be able to hold their own in the negotiations. NGOs should play a watchdog role to ensure PPPs really work for poor people.
Agribusinesses are coming to understand that treating their suppliers fairly is good business. Consumers are increasingly concerned about exploitive supply chains and businesses benefit from having contented, efficient and reliable producers.
Farmers in developing countries want to become commercially viable business partners, and not remain merely subsistence farmers.
Body: We need to do more with less. The only way to do that is by deploying new technologies, and by making sure that all agricultural producers – including smallholders – have access to them.Image:Quote Year: 2013Speaker: 1563Nid: 1569
Body: All the food you eat every day comes from the private sector, so to say that the private sector should not have a role is not possible. Farmers are businesspeople too – they want to earn a living, they want to sell their harvest.Image:Quote Year: 2013Speaker:Nid: 1564
Body: We strongly believe that the tripartite alliance between farmers' associations, the private sector and government is extremely important for development – to ensure food security and poverty alleviation in the world.Image:Quote Year: 2013Speaker:Nid: 1562
Body: Agriculture is really a key sector when it comes to poverty reduction and food security. You have to commit to investing in agriculture.Image:Quote Year: 2013Speaker:Nid: 1561
Body: Nutrition has been climbing up to the top of the agenda. With three million children dying each year from malnutrition, it’s a moral and an economic challenge. But it’s impressive to see the way this has been taken on board by partner countries.Image:Quote Year: 2013Speaker:Nid: 1559
Body: For the future of agriculture in Africa, the main driving force will be small farmers and small companies. This will allow Africa to meet the major challenges of food security, but will also provide employment in rural areas and help preserve cultural capital.Image:Quote Year: 2013Speaker:Nid: 1557
Body: Agriculture is essential to ensure sustainable development in Africa, and so we think it is necessary to increase investments substantially in Africa.Image:Quote Year: 2013Speaker:Nid: 1556
Body: I don’t believe you can have economic upliftment without social upliftment – you have to move the two agendas forward in parallel.Image:Quote Year: 2013Speaker:Nid: 1555
Body: Partnerships are essential for innovation, for finding large-scale solutions and for long-term sustainability. But it is really important for small farmers to be at the heart of any partnership. There are 500 million farmers around the world who are sustaining and providing livelihoods to one-third of humanity.Image:Quote Year: 2013Speaker:Nid: 1554
Body: Hunger is no accident. It is due to the denial of rights: the right to food, the right to decent livelihoods […] It is due to power structures and policies, whether at the local, national or global level, preventing people from exiting poverty.Image:Quote Year: 2013Speaker:Nid: 1553
Food security, nutrition & resilienceBody:
Today, close to 900 million people are estimated to be under-nourished, nearly 15% of the global population. Such a challenge is compounded by population growth, diminishing arable land and the increasing frequency of natural and man-made disasters, which reduce the capacity of the most vulnerable populations to access safe and nutritious food.
Enshrined in the first Millennium Development Goal, a key priority for the European Union (EU) is to fight hunger and malnutrition and contribute to reduce by half the number of people suffering from hunger by 2015. The EU continues to target its development assistance towards the most vulnerable and fragile populations.
In its 2011 Communication ‘An Agenda for Change’, the EU resolved to take more action to deliver food security, help insulate developing countries from climate and price-related shocks and help provide the foundations for sustainable growth. This was complemented by other food security-related policies on resilience and nutrition.
In its 2013 Communication ‘A Decent Life for All’, the EU re-emphasised proposals made in the run-up to Rio+20 calling for sustainable development goals focused on basic ‘pillars of life’, including food security, an issue that has been ‘mainstreamed’ in the EU’s programmes. While recent global initiatives have catalysed rapid support and investment, the EU has remained at the fore with efforts on food and nutrition security, sustainable agriculture and resilience implemented through various programmes and activities in partnership with multilateral and civil society organisations.
For example, soaring food prices in 2007/08 led to the creation of an EU Food Facility, which provided €1 billion over three years (2009-2011) to improve agricultural productivity and food supply in the 49 most affected countries. This Facility reached a total of 59 million people, mainly smallholder farmers, with spill over effects on an additional 93 million. More recently, the EU has been leading the way to tackle ‘hidden hunger’ and has pledged to help reduce stunting in seven million children by 2025.Image: