Accra, Jan. 19, GNA – The Director-General of Food and Agriculture Organization, JosÃ© Graziano da Silva and the German Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, IlseAigner have called for a significant increase in responsible investments in agriculture.
This they say would help to eradicate hunger and feed a growing world population.
Investments in agriculture are still too low in those regions where rural poverty and hunger are most severe, Aigner and Graziano da Silva stressed after a meeting ahead of the Agriculture Ministers “Berlin Summit 2013″.
A press statement signed by Erwin Northoff of the FAO Media Relations Office in Rome, and made available to the Ghana News Agency said: “We need to concentrate our efforts on the farmers, for the farmers are the key players in the rural environment and here lies the greatest potential for generating added value – both in terms of economic development and in guaranteeing food security in these countries.”
The German government spends over 700 million euros each year on food security and rural development in developing countries. One of the goals here is to achieve sustainable yield increases.
‘This is done by promoting locally based training and education, for example, and we have initiated a number of important agricultural training schemes,” the statement cited Aigner.
“Agricultural investment has long shown itself to be one of the most effective and sustainable means for reducing hunger and poverty. We need to invest more. And, equally as important, we need to invest better”, it quoted Graziano da Silva.
“It is up to national governments, assisted by the international community, to create conditions where farmers can invest more and to increase their own investments in ways that generate economic and social benefits, as well as environmentally sustainable results”, he added.
According to the statement, at present, around 870 million of the world’s poorest people, or one in eight, are suffering from hunger and have inadequate access to food and most of them live in rural areas in developing countries.
It indicated that Aigner and Graziano da Silva called upon governments to contribute to the development of guidance for responsible agricultural investments, an issue that will be discussed by governments, civil society and private sector representatives at the Committee on World Food Security.
The statement said investments in agriculture should target the poor in the rural areas of those countries and should also help to make the agricultural and food systems less vulnerable, more equitable, less wasteful and more environmentally friendly.
‘The world’s more than one billion farmers should be at the centre of new investment strategies because they are, by far, the largest investors in agriculture, after public and foreign private investors,’ it added.
The statement said special attention should be paid to smallholder farmers, who need support to overcome barriers that prevent them from producing more food, saving and investing and coping with new challenges and risks related to climate change.
It said farmers needed good governance, clear and fair incentives, and access to good infrastructure, public services and information in rural areas, and urged national governments to ensure that those conditions were in place.
‘Good governance of large-scale investments, often by international investors, is necessary to ensure that the rights and livelihoods of local communities are protected and the degradation of natural resources is avoided,’ it said.