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Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Commissioner Ciolos highlights importance of development-friendly CAP

The international conference "Food for everyone - towards a global deal" sent out a clear message to G-20 leaders: to secure food for the world's constantly growing population, smarter longer-term investment in agriculture is needed, especially in developing countries. It is a proven fact that investment in agriculture and rural development has positive effects on growth and poverty reduction. Countries and international organisations need to coordinate and, more than ever, to act in a coherent way. "Food security concerns us all – it is about the resources we all share and use. We simply cannot afford a new agriculture crisis in global markets. We need stronger political will to enable farmers to earn sufficient income and to strengthen small-scale farmers’ capacity to organise themselves more effectively. Investment in sustainable and inclusive agriculture is investment in the future. And let's not forget that at global scale, the most typical farmer is a woman", said Staffan Nilsson, EESC president in his opening speech. Price volatility, climate change, demographic pressures, scarcity of water and land resources, lack of transparent information on markets are just some of the threats to global food security. New international dynamics are needed for agricultural development. The EU too must again include agriculture in its development policies and agenda. "Food security must be a core component of our development support policies. There can be no real food security if it is not shared by everyone. Agriculture must return to the centre of the development agenda, with the key objective of increasing global production capacity by creating favourable conditions for public and private investment for farmers worldwide", said Dacian Ciolos, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, a keynote speaker and contributor to the conference. He added that the CAP was largely not destroying agricultural markets and stressed that agricultural export subsidies made up less than one percent of the funds disbursed through the CAP. In an interview with CTA, Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs stressed the fact that the EU’s primary focus is on smallholder farmers in developing countries. While locally-owned agribusiness starts to develop in some countries, Commissioner Piebalgs noted that smallholder farmers make up 75% of all farmers in ACP countries, many of them suffering from atomisation and limited market access.

What's next?

The EESC president’s conclusions from the conference, which will be available soon on the EESC website, will be submitted as a set of recommendations to the French presidency of G-20. They are meant to provide an innovative and balanced contribution to the forthcoming G-20 meeting of agriculture ministers in June.

Source: EESC/CTA