News / Asia

Farmers in 5 Nations Receive Funds From G8

But not all donors are meeting their promises

Five nations will receive the first grants from a new fund aimed at helping developing-world farms like this one in Haiti.
Five nations will receive the first grants from a new fund aimed at helping developing-world farms like this one in Haiti.

Multimedia

Audio

Five nations will receive the first grants from a new and unusual fund aimed at helping developing-world farmers.

Bangladesh, Haiti, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Togo will receive a total of $224 million from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, a new World Bank-administered fund set up following a pledge by leaders of the Group of 8 countries last year to commit more development aid to agriculture.

Advocates praise the new fund, but say not all of the G8 nations are living up to their pledges.

Food price crisis

When G8 leaders met in L'Aquila, Italy, last July, the 2008 food price crisis was fresh in their minds. High prices for staple foods had pushed more than 100 million people into poverty and hunger and triggered riots in several countries.

Led by the Obama administration, the G8 pledged $22 billion to boost food production in developing countries. Last September, in Pittsburgh, the G20 called for a fund to be set up at the World Bank to channel some of that pledge.

The five grants announced this week are the first to come from that fund.

'Making good on promises'

"It is...the first real and strong signal that the international community is serious," says Navtej Dhillon, senior advisor with the U.S. Treasury Department. "It's about some of the donors making good on their promises."

The donors are an unusual group. It includes G8 members the United States and Canada, but also Spain and South Korea, as well as the private foundation of software tycoon Bill Gates.

And it's not just the donors that are unusual. The funds are administered by the World Bank, and program manager Christopher Delgado says there is an unusual amount of coordination among the donors and with the recipient countries.

Country-led

"It's not just an individual donor showing up one day and saying to the minister, 'Gee, what can we do for you today?" he says. "Or, worse, in some cases, 'Gee, we've got something we'd like to do and we hope you agree.'"

Delgado says countries come up with their own plans to help farmers, after consulting with civil society groups and the private sector. They put up some of their own money. Outside experts review the proposals. And the countries collect data to measure whether their programs are working.

"This is a tough economic time for a lot of people, including in the donor countries," he says, "and if we're going to be spending money, we really have to show that we're achieving results."

David Beckmann, president of the charity group Bread for the World, says, "What they are planning to do is just excellent...The broad plans are right. The donor countries are trying to be receptive to what the recipient countries want. The idea of investing in poor farmers is right on track."

Other G8 countries lagging

Beckmann praises the Obama administration for its leadership on the issue, and says Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union are living up to the commitments they made in L'Aquila last year.

But as G8 leaders meet again in Canada this week, critics say not all of them can make that claim.

The advocacy group Oxfam says Italy, France, and the Netherlands counted existing funds as their part of the $22 billion pledge. And although the group praises the United States for putting forward new money, the group's David Waskow says, "It appears as though there's some double-counting going on, and the U.S. is counting the same pot of funds both to its L'Aquila commitments from the G8 last year and toward its Copenhagen commitments on climate."

Others point out that even $22 billion would be far less than what is needed to meet the goal nations set for themselves to cut hunger and extreme poverty in half by 2015. But there is broad agreement that it's a step in the right direction after agriculture worldwide suffered decades of neglect.

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