Donors’ commits to generate funds for scientific data to end hunger

By
Maxwell Awumah, GNA
  

Hohoe (V/R), Sept. 25, GNA – A coalition of
donors and smallholder farmers in low-income countries on Monday pledged to
seek significant funding for agriculture statistics across 50 countries in
Africa, Asia and Latin America by 2030.

Dubbed the “50 X 2030” Initiative is an
unprecedented effort to harness the power of data to boost the productivity and
livelihoods of the world’s 500 million small-holder farmers.

This effort will drive a new era of targeted
solutions to food production challenges, increasing sustainable production by
smallholder farmers in the face of climate change and population growth, which
is key to end extreme poverty and progress toward “zero hunger.”

The commitment, one of the largest ever
investments in collecting data for agricultural development, comes in the wake
of new alarming numbers that hunger levels have risen for three consecutive
years, and sends a signal that the development community is committed to
ensuring its interventions lead to results.

The “50 X 2030” initiative, launched Monday at
an event on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, monitored by
the Ghana News Agency, is an ambitious effort to conduct regular surveys of
farming households in 50 low- and lower-middle-income countries by 2030.

It seeks to make the data, combined with other
information sources, widely available to guide governments to make
evidence-based decisions to increase agricultural productivity sustainably with
expected 30 from sub-Saharan Africa, 10 from Asia, and 10 from Latin America
and the Caribbean to benefit.

Accurate data were key to helping these
countries take the lead in their own agricultural growth and development
progress. Donors were contributing to the initial data collection efforts, but
the 50 countries will co-finance the initiative over time.

Laura Tuck, Vice President for Sustainable
Development at the World Bank, said “We are witnessing today a fundamental
transformation of food systems in developing countries, with rising incomes,
changing consumption patterns and the emergence of more business-oriented
small- and medium-scale farmers.” 

“By making agricultural data more readily
available in 50 low-income countries, we can help accelerate this
transformation, to boost sustainable food production and allow farmers to
thrive.”

It said two well-established surveys—the
Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (ISA) that is part of the World Bank’s Living
Standards and Measurement Study (LSMS), and the AGRISurvey from the UN Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO)—will provide the foundation for the initiative’s
data collection efforts with experts from the World Bank and FAO supervising
much of the technical work.

It is anticipated, basic agricultural
data—such as the different crop varieties farmers were planting, how much they
were harvesting and their access to inputs and financing—were often missing in
developing countries. But these insights can have a big impact on productivity
and incomes.

Recent assessments of available agriculture
data showed that, in sub-Saharan Africa in particular, basic statistics from
the farm sector were often incomplete or unreliable with only two out of 44
countries in the region deemed to have high-quality agriculture data.

“Kenya welcomes the cooperation shown today,
to work with 50 countries in supporting millions of smallholder farmers,” said
Mr William Ruto, Deputy President of Kenya.

“Through our Big four Agenda, we are committed
to achieving food security and job creation through agriculture, and we know
that better data is the key to driving our transformation and growth.” 

With hunger rising after years of decline,
experts say the lack of farm-level data is impeding effective interventions
that could help reverse this particularly challenging moment for food security.

It indicates just as good data have
significantly improved global health interventions, data can also drive more
effective agriculture solutions, particularly as efforts accelerate toward
achieving the second of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),
which includes pledges to end hunger worldwide, achieve food security, improve
nutrition, double smallholder productivity and promote sustainable
agriculture. 

Key partners on the initiative include the
United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Government of
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Government of
Germany’s Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), World Bank,
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International
Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation.

GNA

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