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

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad 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.
Jane Monheit Christmas Speciali
X
December 22, 2014 8:15 PM
Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Trade Talks Could Heat Up in 2015

With boosting trade a top priority for the Obama administration, 2015 may be the year that an agreement is finally reached on the Trans Pacific Partnership. But the trade deal, which is intended to boost trade between 12 Pacific countries, faces opposition as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school

All About America

AppleAndroid