How better aid achieves results in agriculture

In 2009, the G8 met in L’Aquila, Italy and pledged $22 billion in aid towards agriculture and food security. Perhaps more importantly, they also pledged to align their aid with the Rome Principles, a set of qualitative commitments meant to achieve better outcomes and sustainability in food security. As a result, donors created the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) to combine donor resources and invest in developing countries’ agricultural development plans.

GASFP is a unique program that embodies principles of aid effectiveness by:

  • Promoting country ownership of programmes by working directly with governments,
  • Requiring the implementation of monitoring and evaluation systems
  • Including the active involvement of civil society in its planning and funding decisions
  • Increasing the transparency and effectiveness of projects funded.

All aspects are key to GAFSP’s overall effectiveness and to achieving overall food security goals. By funding government proposals based on national agricultural development strategies, providing information about where development aid is going and requiring robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, GAFSP minimizes aid lost to corruption, misuse and inefficiency. For citizens in developing countries, this allows for greater country ownership over projects and enables government accountability.

The principles of transparency and accountability are also essential to success at this year’s Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-IV), where ONE will urge countries to make clear and measurable commitments in these areas for better use of all development funds. At HLF-IV, it is critical that models like GAFSP are highlighted as examples of the high level of commitment that donors should place on transparency and accountability — and the results that they can achieve. The video above, created for the Forum in Busan, South Korea, shows how GAFSP works to promoting inclusiveness, accountability and effectiveness to improve the welfare of communities and give individuals the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty.

The results of smart GAFSP investments are already evident. In Rwanda, funding from GAFSP has been used to teach farmers how to enrich their soil and reduce erosion. As a result, yields have increased six fold in the past year, allowing farmers to increase their income by selling their surplus at the market and reduce poverty.

Despite proven results and its commitment to better aid, donors have not pledged significant funds to GAFSP, and the promises of those who did have not yet been fulfilled. It has only been able to fund eight country proposals thus far — despite receiving 22 proposals in its last round. Donor money is tight, but effective programs like GAFSP are indispensable to ensuring that investments contribute to development outcomes like poverty reduction and economic growth.