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G8 Commitment on Hunger Must Support Smallholder Farmers and Sustainable Practices

26. August 2009

    G8 discussions on the food crisis must include more than additional money, and prioritize agriculture and food policies that improve the position of small producers, in particular women.

    L’Aquila, July 8, 2009 – G8 discussions on the food crisis must include more than
    additional money, and prioritize agriculture and food policies that improve the
    position of small producers, in particular women. CIDSE, an international alliance of Catholic development agencies, and U.S.-basedInstitute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) welcome the proposed increase in theshare of development funding devoted to agriculture. “We call on the G8 to break awayfrom past practice by shelving agriculture policies that reward short-term private profitsover essential public priorities like food security, jobs and proper management of scarcenatural resources,” said IATP’s Alexandra Spieldoch.
    CIDSE and IATP welcome the focus on smallholder farmers and vulnerable groups by G8
    governments, as well as their interest in exploring the feasibility of establishing a system of
    food reserves. We also call for coordinated action to discipline speculation on food prices.
    “One billion people suffering from hunger should be enough to trigger serious action. G8
    countries need to coordinate their support to developing countries to achieve food security.
    Agricultural policies designed in close collaboration with representative farmers
    organizations are needed to balance economic profitability and socio-ecological justice,”
    saidBernd Nilles, CIDSE Secretary General.
    In a recent paper, Global food responsibility, CIDSE and IATP identify the role of major G8
    members in creating the food crisis, and make the following recommendations for reforms:
    − Global responses to the food crisis need to be inclusive, reinforce the U.N.’s
    role, and create binding commitments to end hunger;
    − The right to food should guide policy-making around agriculture, food, and rural
    development;
    − Support should reinforce agriculture’s role in ecological and social sustainability,
    land and water access for small scale producers and women farmers, as well as
    greater use of local seed varieties;
    − Emphasis should be put on the development of infrastructure for local and
    regional markets. Investment is needed to overcome bottlenecks in agricultural
    value chains related to processing, transport, storage, and marketing;
    − Develop rules to address price volatility, including food reserves and tougher
    regulation on speculation.


The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on food and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, see http://www.e-alliance.ch/

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