News / Africa

G8 Gets Praise for Re-committing to Food Security

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

At the G8 summit this past weekend, leaders renewed their commitment to food security.  They stood by their pledge to spend (US) $22 for sustainable agriculture by 2012.

The commitment was made last year at the L’Aquila summit in Italy.  So far, about $6 billion has been allocated.

Quite delighted

Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda is CEO of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), a member of the Farming First coalition.  Farming First represents about 130 organizations worldwide.

“We are quite delighted that there was time spent on deliberating and linking to the L’Aquila agreement,” says Sibanda, speaking from Pretoria, South Africa.  “And the good thing is that at least our world leaders have agreed that accountability is the way forward.  And the Muskoka framework is a big step forward.”

The framework makes the G8 process more transparent

“For once we know what is discussed behind closed doors,” she says, “And they’ve made a commitment that by 2011 there will be a report back on food security and health, which is excellent, child health.”

The farming community around the world is pleased with the L’Aquila recommitment, according to Sibanda.

“In the past we’ve had figures that are floated and there is no follow-up.  So for us, the fact that we now have a framework that talks about the initial commitment of $22 billion – the fact that to date only $6.5 billion has been disbursed – and the commitment that by 2012 the balance will be delivered – I think it gives us something to hold onto,” she says.

How should the money be spent?

“The beauty for us in Africa is that Africa is now organized.  We now have the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Plan, which is a framework at a continental level where each of the member states has developed their investment plans prioritizing their investments,” she says.

For COMESA, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, she says, “They have prioritized infrastructure and trade and capacity development of institutions that are relevant for food security.

In West Africa, Sibanda says, “They’re looking at staples.”

Much of the G8 funds allocated to Africa have gone to the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Plan.

Food crisis recovery

Sub-Saharan Africa was hit hard when the food crisis began several years ago, and food prices on the continent remain very high, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture organization.

“What Africans have done is look inward and look at their potential,” Sibanda says, “We are well endowed with natural resources.  And Africa can feed itself and can be the breadbasket for the whole world.”

She says investment is needed in infrastructure, trade routes, technology -- “Investments that will build the human capacity that’s required for a food security region.”

“Currently,” she adds, “if you look at what we’re producing, it’s less than one-third the potential yield we can get from the staples….  And what we are missing there is really the technology to improve productivity and the trade routes that will allow the movement of food between surplus and deficit areas.”

Treat them right

To succeed, Sibanda says it’s important “to make sure our farmers have the right incentives.  What we’ve been lacking in Africa is this will to produce because there are a lot of subsidies that become a disincentive.”

The head of FANRPAN SAYS, “Farmers need to be given the dignity they deserve so that they become the producers, the backbone of the economy, and they get a decent price for their produce.  That’s what has been missing.”

At their summit, G8 leaders also voiced support for the $880 million Global Agriculture and Food Security program hosted by the World Bank, which includes such initiatives as the African Agriculture Fund.  In a statement they said, “We underline the critical importance of accountability for ensuring that these collective commitments are met.”

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs