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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The EU’s failure on policy commitments to support smallholder agriculture

In 2017, less than 10 years after the 2007–08 food price crisis, the world stands on the brink of an unprecedented four famines. Famine has already been declared in South Sudan, while Nigeria, Yemen and Somalia are also facing the risk of mass starvation. These are just four of the dozens of countries confronting acute and widespread food insecurity.1 Globally, an estimated 795 million people – one in nine worldwide – are still going hungry.2 The reasons for this are many, including high food prices, low agricultural productivity, abnormal weather patterns and conflict. Yet the scale of food insecurity points to deeper problems in the global food system that have never been adequately tackled. Social and economic exclusion, structural poverty, lack of access to productive resources such as land, and imbalances in power are consigning millions of people to hunger. There is significant agreement on the need for greater commitment to address the longterm structural causes of food insecurity – and solutions are known. Empowering smallholders and supporting their efficient and environmentally sustainable approaches to agriculture is a proven long-term solution to reducing hunger and poverty and tackling power imbalances and inequalities. At least 475 million small-scale farms worldwide support around two billion people, and investing in the sector is known to have immense potential for reducing poverty. Women play a potentially transformative role in agricultural development, but they continue to face social, cultural and economic constraints that limit their potential in the sector. European Union policy makers are aware of both the challenges and the solutions. The role of agriculture was recognized as being crucial for poverty reduction in the 2005 European Consensus on Development. Responding to some of the most severe global food price crises from 2007 onwards, the EU launched the €1bn Food Facility, with a specific focus on small-scale producers, in 2009 and the Food Security Policy Framework (FSPF) in 2010. Through the FSPF, the EU committed to a rights-based approach to support small-scale food producers, gender mainstreaming and ecologically sustainable approaches.

Source: Reliefweb