G20 Food Security Commitment Is Disappointing-ActionAid


An international development organisation, ActionAid has described the commitment of the group of twenty (G20) industrialised and emerging nations commitment on food security as disappointing at the just ended Brisbane 2014 G20 Summit in Australia.

According to the communiqué, the G20 countries hope to strengthen growth by lifting investment in food systems, raising productivity to expand food supply, and increasing incomes and quality jobs though the G20 Food Security and Nutrition Framework.

Possible actions to increase investment in food systems include promoting infrastructure investment by public-private partnerships for food value chains, increase development finance and overcome agricultural market failure in developing countries.

To increase incomes and quality employment in food systems actions to be undertaken are to share experience in labour market planning and programs in the context of rural and agricultural modernisation and in addressing malnutrition in all its forms and support human resource development to increase participation of women, youth and smallholder farmers in income generation and quality, formal employment.

Actions that the G20 countries may undertake to Increase productivity sustainably to expand the food supply include to continue meetings of G20 agricultural chief scientists and encourage international collaboration in research, development and innovation to increase global agricultural productivity.

As the world’s population is expected to increase to 9 billion by 2050, measures to boost food production has taken centre stage at most international meetings, however,the commitment by the leaders is not enough to promote food security, says ActionAid’s Global Advocacy Coordinator, Sameer Dossani.

“It is a bit disappointment of the G20 on food security because we had going back to the G20 summit in 2010, we had stronger commitment around investing in women smallholder farmers, better language in moving food security agenda forward.

During the G20 summit in 2010, the leaders commissioned an inter-governmental organisations panel to produce a report to improve food security around the world, Dossani said.

“The report made good recommendations including removing all of the subsidies and mandate for the production of biofuels, this will be great for clear impact on food security when we are talking about countries that produce corn, these are recommendations that are sitting around and never been implemented by the G20,’’ Dossani said.

“The Australian government took the issue off the agenda and say we are going to raise productivity and increase incomes and jobs kind of missing the point here.

“There are specific recommendations that already exist where the G20 has already commissioned the work, we need to implement the specific proposals and updates the proposals now that it is four years old, and implement the proposals that already exist,’’ he stated.

Africa and Asia have the problem of food security around the globe but it is this part of the world that food production takes place. According to him, farmers are often in danger of food security because they are not always growing the food, they are growing cash crops, such as cocoa, rubber plantation.

“What we need to do is to invest in sustainable agriculture, women, we need to ensure that household have the food and we need to question whether this cash crop is really sustainable, we need more sustainable agricultural module that prioritise food for people first,’’ Dossani noted.

Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key says there is no consensus at the summit on how to address food security but lots of investment has gone into research in agriculture to boost food security.

Carin Smaller, an advisor on agriculture and investment at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in Switzerland says the G20 member-states could do more to put poor farmers, particularly women, at the centre of global efforts to improve security.

“The evidence is conclusive and compelling: the best way to improve food security is to invest in small-scale farmers, particularly women. This will require both public and private investment,’’ she said.

“The ‘land grab’ phenomenon taught us that the quality of investment matters far more than the quantity. Simply increasing investment flows to the agriculture sector does not automatically improve food security, generate employment or lift people out of poverty.

According to Smaller, investment needs to be part of a broader development strategy that defines where investment is needed most and for whom.

“African countries need robust legal and policy frameworks to benefit from the current calls to increase food security. Ensuring that people’s rights to land, water and other natural resources are clear and recognised in law, will help promote positive impacts,’’ she noted.

Catherine Grant Makokera, a research associate at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) also says the G-20 has shown a strong commitment to improving global food security.

“It has been a significant issue on the Development Working Group agenda for a number of years and has seen more mainstream importance as well.

“Food security is a good example of the greater focus of the G-20 on important development concerns in recent years. Whether the commitments will make a difference, comes down to implementation. Like many G-20 issues, the real impact will only be felt in Africa and other regions if there is action that follows the words,’’ she said.

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