Back to Business? – the G8 Food Security Initiative

It is expected that the G8 states will be signing up to a new food security initiative this Friday (10th July 2009), with the aim of replacing food aid with more sustainable aid to farmers in the developing world. The US and Japan will lead the way on this initiative, providing $6-8 billion of the proposed $12 billion fund.

At Find Your Feet we are really pleased to see this emphasis on providing more long-term funding for agriculture. However there doesn’t seem to have been any shift from a ‘business as usual’ approach to agriculture that relies on industrial farming methods and free-market agricultural policies. To quote Japan’s prime minister Taro Asorecipient countries [must be supported] to develop growth strategies with renovated agro-industries.”

According to Olivier De Schutter, the OHCHR Special Rapporteur on the Right to food, the issue isn’t one of merely increasing budget allocations to agriculture, but rather “that of choosing from different models of agricultural development which may have different impacts and benefit various groups differently.”

This echoes our belief that, in the light of a changing climate and increasing pressure on the world’s resources, decision makers at the G8 must, as the IAASTD report puts it “dramatically increase their investments in smallholder ecological farming systems.” This could have a serious impact on food security in Africa because, as an important UNCTAD and UNEP study Organic Agriculture and Food Security in Africa showed, organic or near-organic agriculture practices in Africa outperformed conventional production systems based on chemical-intensive farming. (visit our website to read more)

The same goes for free-market agricultural policies. A recent report by Action Aid ‘Let Them Eat Promises: How the G8 are failing the billion hungry’ says that “developing countries must shift their focus away from export crops, back to sustainable local production for local markets.”

“If the G8 is indeed serious about its commitment to confront hunger,” writes Anuradha Mittal in Foreign Policy in Focus, “the member countries must stop the steady drumbeat of proselytizing for free markets and technological solutions to hunger.”

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