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G20 and the Agricultural Agenda

June 22, 2011

To the G20 - Smallholder farmers are the key to achieving food security and prevent food price volatility.

When smallholder farmers have equal access to agricultural services, inputs, and technologies, including high-yielding seeds, affordable fertilizer, and irrigation, they have often proven to be at least as efficient as larger farms. – Shenggen Fan, Director General of IFPRI

 

For the first time in history, the G20 Ministers of Agriculture are getting together in a landmark discussion on the most pressing issue facing our future: food price volatility.  President Nicholas Sarkozi of France and other parties have made this the hot-button issue of the G20.  As they gather today to discuss these issues, Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Shenggen Fan, is urging leaders to invest in smallholder farmers in order to achieve food security and prevent food price volatility.  As 70% of the worlds poor scramble to pay for food, efforts to tackle extreme poverty and hunger remain arduous.

The Sub-Saharan African and South Asian regions are home to the majority of smallholder farmers and those suffering in the greatest extremes of poverty.  By targeting these areas and those that can better approach food security, there is an excellent chance of finding success in the process of reaching agricultural solutions.

Fan believes food volatility has been the work of

  • Expanding biofuel production – using food for fuel often raises prices by increased demand for staple crops
  • Rising oil prices – the increased cost of production and transportation raises the price of food
  • Extreme weather, global warming – unpredictable and irreversible interruptions to crop growth can obliterate crops or change annual yields
  • U.S. dollar depreciation – cost is higher for agricultural products due to depreciation of USD
  • Export restrictions – if farmers cannot export their product without paying hefty tariffs and they face other hurdles while trying to export food, it can cause food prices to go up unduly by not getting produce to where demand exists

View similar articles: FAO Guide – A policymaker’s guide to the sustainable intensification of smallholder crop production

To see Shenggen Fan’s full statement please visit: PRESS RELEASE | G20 Ministers of Agriculture Must Focus on Smallholder Farmers to Achieve Food Security and Prevent Food Price Volatility

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