ONE reported this week that the G20 is getting a reputation for over-promising and under-delivering.
For the most part, the same can be said for agricultural development and food security.
The Mexican Presidency started out strong by inheriting the Agriculture Ministers Action Plan adopted at the 2011 Cannes G20 Summit. He recognized the G20’s goal to “further invest in agriculture, in particular in the poorest countries, and bearing in mind the importance of smallholders, through responsible public and private investment.”
And just as a reminder, the five major Action Plan recommendations critical for achieving global food security were:
1. Increasing agricultural production and productivity;
2. Increasing market information and transparency;
3. Reducing the impacts of price volatility on the most vulnerable through the development of appropriate risk management instruments;
4. Improving global policy coordination; and
5. Improving agricultural commodity markets.
They were barely addressed in the final G20 Communique.
In fact, with better planning and coordination, progress on these fronts could have been made. ONE called for simply developing a road map for the Action Plan. Funny enough, or not so funny, the Action Plan didn’t really contain any actions. It identified initiatives and areas of work to be developed around research or sharing food stock information, but it never said who should do what or by when. So, how hard could it have been to identify roles, responsibilities, timelines and budgets?
Beyond a road map, even more could have been done to address shortfalls identified by many NGOs, such as too narrow of a focus on productivity, or lack of attention to undernutrition.
While little progress if any was made to address these issues, there is one outcome of the Los Cabos Summit on agriculture to commend: AgResults.
AgResults is an agricultural pull mechanism initiative. If you want some serious technical information on this concept you can look here and here. But in short, AgResults will help to generate private sector financing for innovative solutions to agricultural development challenges.
For instance, the first three pilots will crowd-in financing for
1. Developing, marketing and distributing storage for Kenyan farmer’s crops to reduce post-harvest loss;
2. Helping Zambian farmers grow maize rich in Vitamin A to reduce malnutrition and vitamin-A deficiencies; and
3. Reducing contamination from the maize fungus aflotoxin in Nigeria to maximize productivity.
The United Kingdom has pledged $40 million to jump start this initiative, alongside $40 million from Canada and $20 million from Australia showing important leadership to get this initiative underway.
But this must be the start, not the end, of what the G20 delivers on food security.
Pictured at top: Dadaab camp during the Horn of Africa famine last year.