G8 must back farmers to fight food security

THE world’s richest eight nations are failing to act on their pledge to support farming and lift millions of people out of food poverty according to leading development workers.

In 2008 food prices rocketed and left nearly one billion people without enough food.

Responding to the crisis in L’Aquila, Italy, G8 agriculture ministers last year pledged $22 billion (£14bn) over three years to help improve food security.

But a critical report from anti-poverty group ActionAid has revealed less than one third of that money was from new funding sources.

World leaders from the UK, USA, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia are now being urged to put food security back up the agenda when they meet for their annual G8 summit this weekend (25-26 June) in Canada.

Given 70 per cent of the worlds’ food insecure live in rural communities Morgane Danielou, a spokesman for the Farming First network of developing world farm bodies, said small-scale farmers would be key to ending poverty and hunger.

She said a failure by rich nations to act on their L’Aquila pledge would be catastrophic for the developing world.  

“The leaders must show increased transparency to show exactly how the $22 billion is being spent. We need to know that it is new money and not just recycled from old schemes.”

She also urged G8 leaders to ensure coordinated efforts to avoid duplication of work programmes.

“At the moment we have many different agencies involved in distributing money but no central coordination, that needs to change,” she said.

To that end Farming First has tried to untangle the aid agency web with its own online tool http://www.farmingfirst.org/foodsecurity.

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