News / Africa

G20 Experts to Meet on Food Security Solutions

A young boy walks away with his food from a government-sponsored feeding center in central Turkana, Kenya, August 30, 2011
A young boy walks away with his food from a government-sponsored feeding center in central Turkana, Kenya, August 30, 2011
Joe DeCapua

Agricultural experts from the G20 countries will meet next week to find ways to match the latest research and technology to the growing demand for more food. It’s estimated the world’s population will grow to nine billion by 2050.

The meeting in Montpellier, France, stems from last November’s G20 summit in Seoul, South Korea. During that conference, France, Japan, Canada and Brazil were asked to focus more on food security.

For guidance, they called on U.N. agencies, the World Bank, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, known as CGIAR, and the Global Forum on Agricultural Research, or GFAR.

“It’s increasing the cooperation and coordination amongst the G20 and their agricultural research systems and how those are mobilized better into working directly in support of developing country needs,” said Mark Holderness, executive secretary of GFAR.

That coordination and cooperation includes looking at long-term solutions and not just immediate crises, like the drought in the Horn of Africa.

“In two days we’re not going to change the world,” he said, “But I think what we can do is start to look at some innovative ways to work together to really recognize the new architecture that’s out there and the relationships between countries, the capabilities of countries. Start to tap Brazil, China, India. They all have huge capabilities in their own right and they’re just beginning to reach out and mobilize those for other countries.”

Fresh look

Holderness said the goal is to turn the current food production and security system on its head – and take a fresh look at the role of research.

“Fundamentally, who are its clients? Its clients are the farmers. The products of research should be serving the needs, in particular, of the poor farmers. Helping to lift them from poverty, to sustain their productive environments, to enable food security needs to be met, while also ensuring rural development,” he said.

Too often, he said, advances in research take priority over actually using those advances to help farmers. “We’re trying to bring back that connectedness between society and research, to put it crudely.”

BRIC

Brazil, Russia, India and China make up what are called the BRIC countries – an acronym made of the first letters of their names. Their strong, emerging economies are expected to play a major role in meeting food security needs. Holderness said China’s agricultural production underpins its industrial revolution.

“China has put a massive increase in investment in their research and development in agriculture. And at the same time, their farming population has changed radically as young men, in particular, go to the cities to work in the factories and the industrial advance. The countryside is increasingly becoming an area where the farmers are now the women, the older people. And that in itself carries implications for ability to take up new opportunities or to make incomes from that,” he said.

In sub-Saharan Africa, women are also the backbone of the agricultural sector.

BRIC countries are also expected to become major providers of fundamental agricultural research, joining the U.S., Europe and Japan. Holderness says that knowledge becomes crucial with the world population expected to reach nine billion in less than 40 years.

That in itself carries huge implications for increased food production in particular from developing countries. Research doesn’t happen overnight. New knowledge doesn’t just happen. It’s an iterative process of learning, building on previous knowledge and so on. And if we don’t start asking the questions now about what kind of agriculture we’re going to need then to feed that population, to ensure that farmers have a viable livelihood, to ensure that environments are still able to produce that much, then frankly we’re letting not just ourselves down as researchers, but we’re letting the world down,” he said.

Time to act

In recent years, G8 and G20 nations have called for greater investment in smallholder farmers and herders in Africa and Asia. Both groups were hit hard by recent food crises triggered in part by higher fuel and commodity prices, biofuel production and climate change.

The executive secretary of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research says the G20 meeting must produce action and not more words about what needs to be done.

“Let’s start putting something on the table,” Holderness said, “What are we going to commit to make happen? Even if it’s small-scale to start with, what can we see that we need to do and that we need to build these processes towards?”

G20 agricultural experts will meet September 12 and 13.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More