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Target 1 – 100% access to adequate food all year round

July 1, 2014 By: F&BKP Office

The consultation on Dutch food security policy was closed on September 15, 2014. The consultation was originally opened by the Food & Business Knowledge Platform on July 01, 2014. The purpose of the consultation was to ensure that the newest topics and debates on food security are included in the food security policy paper, which the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economic Affairs will send to the Dutch Parliament at the end of this year.
On September 30, 2014, the F&BKP has published its final report (PDF), which has been sent to both ministries. All contributions posted during the consultation remain available online and can be downloaded in a document (PDF) with an easy search tool.

Please find below all comments received concerning Target 1: How can the Netherlands most effectively contribute to achieving the target 100% access to adequate food all year roundWe thank all contributors for their participation and inspirational input.

Questions which have been addressed in the contributions are:

  • What do you consider the biggest challenges in achieving 100% access to adequate food all year round?
  • What are the most effective intervention strategies to address these global challenges? Which actors need to play a role to make this happen?
  • How does that relate to the Netherlands’ strengths and to actors from government, the business community, knowledge institutes and civil society?
  • What implications would this have for the policy choices of the Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economic Affairs?

Target 1 – 100% access to adequate food all year round

Enabling all people to access the food they need at all times through nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems, marketing, decent and productive employment, a social protection floor, targeted safety nets and food assistance; boosting food supply from local producers; through open, fair and well-functioning markets and trade policies at local, regional and international level, preventing excessive food price volatility.

Source: Zero Hunger Challenge


41 Contributions to “Target 1 – 100% access to adequate food all year round”

  1. Frank Nagel & Hans Bogaard
    Director Advisory Services; Head Agri Business - Rabobank Development
    Development of the Agri-Food sector requires a strong local financial sector

    Rabo Development supports financial inclusion in developing markets by providing advisory services (via RIAS) to banks, multilateral institutions and agribusiness companies. Besides advisory services, RD takes minority shares in promising banks with strong rural potential. A combination of management services and technical assistance is provided to help the development of the bank into a leading commercial bank with a strong rural footprint. Aim is to increase the outreach of the bank’s financial services to SMEs and private individuals with a special focus on agriculture.

    In the agricultural sector, the focus is on commercial smallholders and medium and large sized farmers, farmer organisations and agri-businesses in emerging economies. Whereas Rabo Development and its partner banks focus on commercial operators, Rabobank Foundation is working with the Bottom of the Pyramid, i.e. projects that focus on developing semi-commercial farmers and semi-commercial farmer groups into commercially viable farmers and groups. Focusing only on the rural-agricultural sector has too many risks and is not a sustainable strategy. Therefore, Rabo Development aims at strengthening the overall financial sector in a country including SMEs and private individuals.

    In several African countries the productivity increases fuelled by increased Government attention and investments by the private sector. However, despite of increased attention for local production, imports of particularly staple foods are still growing faster, which does not help to build sustainable local food systems. Also, the lack of economies of scale, in-transparent landownership systems and infrastructural deficiencies still hamper agricultural development. Rabobank expects that the development of agriculture in Africa will inevitably (as has happened in the Netherlands and other western countries) lead to a consolidation of farm land with a gradual exit of smallholders (e.g. via urbanization), which poses a challenge for society. This could be accelerated by lack of interest in farming by the young generation.

    The main role of Rabobank is to support the local financial sector with financial means and with knowledge of the agri-food sector (triangle of finance, knowledge and network). The Dutch government could support the efforts of Rabobank by for example:

    • Assist Rabobank building local networks and strategic collaboration (e.g. through RNEs which requires sufficient staffing of the embassies).
    • Bundle programmes and work in fewer countries (efforts are now scattered over many countries).
    • Enhance the development of the cadastre (clarity on land rights is crucial for farmers).
    • In theory DGGF (Dutch Good Growth Fund) could be used as a guarantee fund for financing farmers, but the impact would be limited. Other guarantee funds are already available, but it’s the economic viability of the farmer/agri-business which is the leading criterion. However, the DGGF could stimulate investments by Dutch food & agribusiness companies either by providing guarantees/risk sharing or seed funding.

    Rabobank supports the direction taken by the Dutch government on ‘Trade & Aid’ since it is the only way to achieve a truly sustainable result. The Dutch agro-business is constructed of many SMEs which often do not have the resources to invest in risky countries and should get support. Large Dutch companies often pull along SMEs in clusters. Africa also offers many opportunities for the Dutch

    logistic and food-processing sector, certainly around the growing cities of Africa. For example ‘Seed 2 feed’ shows many opportunities in Africa for the greenhouse sector.

  2. Rian Fokker
    Director Heifer, Netherlands
    "Unlocking the potential of small-scale farming"

    It has been said several times before on this forum: food insecurity is a multi-faceted problem that needs integral solutions and clever cooperation between public, private and civil society stakeholders.

    In this effort smallholder farmers play a key role. They are part of the problem – as most people living in poverty and food insecurity still live in rural areas and are dependent of agriculture. But more importantly, they are part of the solution. With productivity generally very low, they have great potential to reduce the productivity gap and contribute to vibrant local and regional food systems.

    The sheer number of small-scale farmers (half a billion farms is smaller than 2 hectares) and the lack of alternative employment requires that any food security policy includes strategies to unlock that smallholder potential. In the view – and experience – of Heifer, successful strategies are built on five pillars:
    • Food security involves increased productivity and diversity of food production. Increasing farmers’ knowledge of sustainable farming practices, and improving access to assets and technology is key to achieve this.
    • Increasing incomes is just as important to improve access to food. Enabling better access to markets for smallholders, strengthening their position through strong producer organisations, building entrepreneurial skills and knowledge and improving access to new technology are crucial elements to achieve this.
    • Empowering women to get more influence on decision making within families and communities, get better access to knowledge and assets and to improve their status is key both to increase agricultural productivity and improve family nutrition.
    • Make production more sustainable and climate-proof. Building healthy soils with high organic matter content is a first priority to improve soil fertility and water retaining capacity. Crop-livestock (and tree) integration is an effective way to achieve this. Promoting farming techniques that restore and prevent soil degradation is a second. And strengthening agro-diversity to create robust and resilient farming systems is another element.
    • Finally: building social capital. Strong social structures – communities, producer organizations, cooperatives, are essential to reduce vulnerability for shocks and to strengthen the voice of people that have traditionally little influence on decision making.

    All of these pillars are indispensable to build strong, resilient and sustainable local and regional food systems; take one pillar away and the system collapses.

  3. Oxfam Novib
    Oxfam Novib, Netherlands
    "The role of the financial sector"

    The financial sector has a huge roll to play in supporting rural SMEs and more generally promoting the rights and opportunities of smallholders and agricultural workers. Financial institutions can:

    1. Provide adequate financial products for the poor and for the development of SMEs: loans, credits, equities, saving possibilities, insurances, and remittance services. Agricultural SMEs have few credit opportunities; banks are reluctant because of systemic, market and credit risks, relative slow investment returns, and geographic dispersion of customers. This is compounded by constrains in infrastructure and lack of local knowledge and capacities. Women have even more difficulties to access finance, due to lack of required documents, land rights, collateral, literacy, etc.
    2. Abstain from facilitating tax avoidance and instead stimulate their clients to pay taxes in the production countries to improve the national income of governments, which can be invested in public goods such as infrastructure.
    3. Avoid food commodity price speculation.
    4. Invest in sustainable, (social/ecological) certified, inclusive business that respect the rights of local communities and avoid greenhouse gas emissions; and/or opt for impact investment in social business and companies who are part of the circular economy. Currently many banks and investment funds focus more on the bigger clients, with high turn over. They have insufficient policies in place to prevent their investments contribute to practices such as land grabbing, slavery, pollution, or climate change, that negatively impact the food system and food producers. .
    5. Adhere to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: being transparent regarding their investments, their clients; acting responsible using investment criteria, increasing financial, environmental and social capital, and addressing adverse impacts. Other key principles business should comply with are the OESO guidelines, Equator principles, and UN-PRI.

    The Dutch government can work with the financial sector, governments of developing countries, and CSOs to ensure that Dutch banks, pension funds, insurance companies and other investors take a lead financing sustainable, inclusive food production and trade. Moreover, it can work with these stakeholders to promote financial literacy and to enable access to financial services for SMEs. Furthermore, it can encourage the Dutch financial sector to respect international guidelines and standards and to assume a worldwide role model in transparency and inclusive, sustainable finance. Finally, in the Netherlands and at international level it can promote laws and policies that put an end to excessive food commodity price speculation as well as tax avoidance and evasion.

    CSOs play an important role in holding financial institutions to account as well as in promoting financial (and fiscal) literacy. Civil society engagement with the financial sector to promote sustainable inclusive banking and investment practices, should be more internationally coordinated to create a level playing field, thereby promoting that financial institutions collectively raise the bar.

  4. Oxfam Novib
    Oxfam Novib, Netherlands
    "Fixing the broken food system requires a multifaceted approach and action by multiple stakeholders"

    Our food system is broken. The world produces sufficient food to feed everyone, yet one in eight people go to bed hungry every day: 842 million women, men, and children are chronically undernourished.(i) Ironically, 70 per cent of them are directly involved in food production.(ii) Pressure on the food system will increase: demand for food is expected to increase by 70 per cent(iii) by 2050, due to population growth, economic development and resulting changing diets. Further pressure on the food system will come from climate change and increased competition for natural resources from biofuels, industry and urbanisation.

    Ensuring access to food for all at an affordable price, requires building on the potential of the various existing farming systems, and building on complementaries between small- and large-scale farms, while ensuring that working and living conditions for smallholder and agricultural workers are advanced, and environmental safeguards are taken into account.

    500 million smallholder farmers already produce 80 percent of the food consumed in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.(iv) Oxfam Novib research shows that tapping into their potential will lead to increased and sustainable food production while simultaneously reducing poverty.(v) It is particularly critical to empower female smallholders. Tapping into the potential of smallholders requires ensuring:

    a) secure access to land and water (see our input under question 6);
    b) access to appropriate and quality seeds (see our input under question 6);
    c) tackling climate change and helping farmers adapt to climate change (see our input under question 3);
    d) an enabling environment for smallholders by improving their access to credit (see our input on the financial sector), knowledge and markets (see our input under question 4).

    Furthermore, it is vital to ensure fair prices for smallholders. They struggle with farm gate prices that often do not cover the cost of production, which may force them to cut the cost of labour, leading to deteriorating working conditions and jeopardizing agricultural investments.

    It is critical to promote more inclusive business models for large scale investors, offering opportunities for the involvement of local farmers as well as waged workers. Sixty percent of agricultural workers employed by both large and small farms, live in poverty. In many parts of the world, they are denied fundamental human rights, and are typically excluded from participation in decision-making processes.(vi) Agricultural workers face job insecurity, low wages, bad health and safety conditions, difficulties in associating freely and collective bargaining and a lack of social security. It is important to promote job opportunities, fair wages and decent working conditions for agricultural workers.

    Promoting food security requires a multi-faceted approach, tackling challenges in multiple areas. As we explain in more detail in our other inputs, it also requires action by multiple stakeholders, including women, farmers and agricultural workers, CSOs, the private sector (including the financial sector), governments, and international institutions. It is important that the Dutch policy on food security reflects the need for this multifaceted approach, involving multiple stakeholders.

    i. FAO, WFP, IFAD, 2013. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2013. The multiple dimensions of food security. Rome, FAO.
    ii UNEP, IFAD, 2013. Smallholders, food security, and the environment.
    iii http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/35571/icode/
    iv http://www.ifad.org/pub/viewpoint/smallholder.pdf
    v Lucia Wegner and Gine Zwart: How to Feed the World? The Production Challenge. Oxfam Research Paper 2011.
    vi FAO, ILO, IUF 2005. Agricultural workers and their contribution to sustainable agriculture and rural development.

  5. Greet Goverde
    secr. Platform Aarde Boer Consument
    "At the state and EU level we need food policies that integrate food production with social protection, health and environment"

    The number of hungry and malnourished people is 1.2 or 1.3 billion rather than 850 million if we include the criteria ‘all the year round’ (march/april is the lean season), ‘all the members of the family’ (women and girls come last), and the higher number of calories needed for demanding physical work. These people can’t buy enough and adequate food. This is a very difficult challenge because it needs reforms in the south as well as in the north.

    1. Since the 70s the South has imported more and more foodstuffs – cheap food subsidised by the OECD tapayers’ money – and developed a dependency on international markets. Many poor countries now buy 30-35% of the food they consume from international markets. These governments should be encouraged to move towards social protection schemes, to reinvest in local production, redevelop local food systems and reduce their dependency on international markets.
    2. We in the North must move away from the export-led agriculture that is making it difficult for governments in the South to make this transition.

    Achieving these two transformations at the same time is very difficult to achieve, and it will not happen overnight, because of obstacles in the current system that we have inherited form the 1960’s-70s:
    a) Technical obstacles. In vestments have been made in infrastructure – silos, the trucks, the ships – that has been developed for the growth of agricultural commodities the food processing industry, not for the local needs. There are many regions where, for example, local food processing facilities are basically absent, so that farmers are encouraged to produce maize or soy bean for the food processing industry.
    b) Economic obstacles. Profits made in the middle of the food chain are huge, and those interests are very difficult to displace.
    c) Cultural obstacles: we have developed a taste for heavily processed foods that are salty and contain a lot of sugar, e.g. from high fructose corn syrup.
    d) Above all political obstacles: the systems that have developed, are dominated by a relatively small number of major actors who make it very difficult to circumvent them.

    This is why food democracy / food sovereignty is important: we need to democratise the food system from the local level upwards. ( see http://www.voedselanders.nl conference report, and speech by O. de Schutter.) Consumers should team with producers and local authorities. At the state and EU level we need food policies that integrate food production with social protection, health and environment. At the international level trade regulations should be adjusted. In that area there is as yet no serious attempt to link international negotiations to global food security and other concerns, on the contrary.
    There are alternatives, see e.g. http://www.alternativetrademandate.org. We suggest that the Dutch politicians and institutes and citizens focus on the more detailed recommendations in the documents mentioned here.

    Human rights (including the right to food), women’s rights, labour, environment and climate should have precedence over trade and investment regimes.

    (This contribution and other by Platform ABC is partly based on Olivier de Schutter’s speech at the ‘Food Otherwise’ conference, February 21-22 2014, Wageningen, see http://www.voedselanders.nl)

  6. Stineke Oenema
    Member of Independent Expert Group for Global Nutrition Report, Netherlands
    "Diet, not products"

    Access to adequate food all year round. This means among other things, that people have sufficient resources in order to buy the food (that should be available at affordable prices). I will not address that here, but please also make the link with smallholder productivity and income.
    Adequate food all year round for all people does not mean the availability of “ one “ wonder product” that will solve all your problems immediately. Adequate food is measured by sufficient dietary diversity (e.g. Number of food groups, % of diet from staples or carbohydrates). The objective should be a diverse and adequate diet. It is important to take into account the lifecycle here: people have different needs throughout the life cycle: One should take into account that children should be allowed exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months. BF should continue up to two years and be complemented with adequate and safe complementary foods., leading to an optimal diet (measured by dietary diversity indicators, not the availability of one food product)

  7. Aalt Dijkhuizen
    President Topsector Agri&Food, Netherlands
    "Highly-productive and efficient agri & food production systems: the way to go!"

    The demand for food will substantially increase in the next few decades. Higher number of people and increasing wealth in major parts of the world will lead to a doubling of the global demand for especially high-quality proteins such as vegetables, dairy and meat. The available land and resources will not double, so we need to produce more per hectare, per animal, per litre water, per kilogram soya or whatsoever. This challenge of productivity and efficiency is exactly where the Netherlands is worldwide frontrunner. For each hectare not or less intensively used here, an additional 4 hectares are needed elsewhere in the world to produce the same amount of food. For each cow, chicken or pig less produced, we need two to three animals elsewhere to compensate. Think of the tremendous extra impact that would have on land, nature and the environment.

    Available Dutch knowledge and technology could and should be used to help improve productivity and efficiency throughout the world. But also in the Netherlands, production can further be increased. If the less productive farms would be able to reach the levels of the top, the overall production would increase by at least 50%, while realizing a better footprint and so using less land and fewer resources and producing fewer greenhouse gas emissions. ‘More with Less’ so to speak. Moreover, the best-performing farms can further develop by using new technologies such as genomics and information technology (precision farming) to improve future productivity and efficiency.

    In the view of most NGOs, however, the Netherlands and especially the best-performing farms should decrease production to reach sustainability. They link sustainability to topics such as small(er)-scale farming, regionalization, extensification and organic production, ignoring or even denying that these systems ask for more land and resources per kg of product and have higher greenhouse gas emissions. Life cycle analyses of the production chains show that transport of raw materials has minimal effect on the overall footprint, which means that one should produce according to the old but still valid economic adagium – ie, there, where it can be done most efficiently – to realize maximum sustainability. Moreover, most animal-welfare concepts lower the productivity and efficiency of the system and hence show a higher footprint. This asks for a clear priority setting between more animal welfare on the one hand and a lower footprint on the other.

    Too often, industry is forced to adapt new concepts and production systems based on emotions rather than on considering the real pros and cons. Common agri & food production systems are easily forced to adapt into a direction, which will increase the footprint and hence harm nature and the environment. Perhaps a group of authoritative experts could help and analyse the available evidence from scientific research on these and related subjects to objectify the discussion and distinguish between facts and feelings in agri & food production.

    (This contribution is a summary of the presentation of Aalt Dijkhuizen at the annual meeting 2014 of CBL, the Dutch Retail Organization; in Dutch)

  8. Martin Kropff
    Vice chairman Executive Board of Wageningen UR, rector magnificus Wageningen University
    "Build on technological, social and economic knowledge in agri-food sector"

    A major global challenge we are facing in the coming decades is to strongly increase food production, while reducing the use of natural resources and improving the nutritional quality. I summarize it often as: In 2050 we need 2 x more with 2 x less inputs and a 2 x better nutrition. Science will be pivotal in reaching these ambitions, and specifically a balanced interplay between technological and the socio-economic domains will be crucial.

    History shows the potential impact of agricultural science and technology. During the period of the Green Revolutions, production levels have increased in many countries. This was achieved by rapid technological developments in combination with social and economic support. However, this rapid increase in production had its draw-backs, as focus was on a higher production alone and ignored the other eco-system services of our production systems. This has to be balanced in the years to come.

    For several reasons, African countries lacked behind and did not profit from the Green Revolution. This is mainly due to socio-economic and institutional factors, as much technology is already available. It indicates that food production in Africa can be improved. We have to leapfrog, however, and benefit from the lessons we learned from the Green Revolutions in other parts of the world. We need to optimize production rather than maximize it, in balance with other eco-system services. It is not about intensification of the African production systems, it is about sustainable intensification.

    Food production is a societal challenge, but at the same time an economic opportunity. The advantages of a close interaction between private and public partners therefore is obvious. Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are considered to be important agents for co-innovation. Collaboration of knowledge institutions, such as Wageningen UR and the Dutch and international private sector, combines academic and practical knowledge, strengthens capacity building, and supports implementation of innovations. The Netherlands is frontrunner regarding PPPs and its agri-food sector is globally an example of efficient production and processing systems. This strong position –The Netherlands is the 2nd exporter of agri-food products in the world-, in combination with the presence of world leading knowledge institutions in this domain, can help to address global issues related to food and nutrition security such as the challenge of feeding the expanding cities in different parts of the world.

    From the perspective of Wageningen UR, several interventions may help to capitalize on the strong position of the Netherlands. First, the issues at stake need to be addressed internationally. Wageningen UR has an excellent international position, and interacts with many global players like the CGIAR. A more coherent policy, however, where the considerable financial contribution of the Dutch government to the CGIAR strengthens the use of Dutch expertise and competences, may further optimize the efficiency of the funding. The Netherlands has much more to offer than money alone. Next, seed-money programs like FDOV, BOCI or ARF have demonstrated to lead to major innovative activities, and need to be continued and fine-tuned to allow the participation of the best partners in The Netherlands. Lastly, I consider capacity building as very important. We need to support actively the formation of research staff in Africa, Asia and other parts of the world, either locally or in Wageningen or both (as in PhD-sandwich construction). The local column of green education (farmer level, higher education, university) needs to be strengthened in addition to distance learning, peer learning, etc.

    I do think that The Netherlands is excellently positioned to meet global challenges and grasp economic opportunities at the same time. I highly value the intense collaboration between government, scientific organizations, industry and civil society to formulate, design and implement the innovation needed to step forwards. Wageningen UR is very much committed to take its role and welcomes all partners to jointly improve the quality of life.

  9. Guus Geurts
    Author 'Wereldvoedsel - pleidooi voor een rechtvaardige en ecologische voedselvoorziening'
    "Analysis - Free trade and 100% access to food don't go together"

    Because you propose that a lively discussion between contributors will be established, I want first want to make some quotes of other contributors to this discussion (below).
    I will first mention some quotes with which I fully agree. Then I will react to some other contributions in my analysis.
    Because of the maximum of 500 words I will give my alternative at target 3, this alternative is based on the Alternative Trade Mandate.
    (Because of using the quotes of other people my text will longer than 500 words, but my contribution is about 500 words.)

    VALSTAR (ETC) mentioned at target 3:
    ‘”Incorporate the rights angle taken by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food”
    ETC suggests to incorporate the rights angle taken by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food – see reports. In his recent final report the rapporteur includes a sector-by-sector list of recommendations and in so doing addresses various points that are relevant for food security. His conclusion says:
    “The eradication of hunger and malnutrition is an achievable goal. Reaching it requires, however, that we move away from business as usual and improve coordination across sectors, across time and across levels of governance. (…) In turn, local-level and national-level policies should benefit from an enabling international environment, in which policies that affect the ability of countries to guarantee the right to food – in the areas of trade, food aid, foreign debt alleviation and development cooperation – are realigned with the imperative of achieving food security and ensuring adequate nutrition. (…) food sovereignty is a condition for the full realization of the right to food. But it is the paradox of an increasingly interdependent world that this requires deepening the cooperation between States.”
    Texts such as the above in our opinion rightly stress the urgency of the matter and also convincingly argue that “business as usual” will not do.’

    KRIJNEN (kenyaproject.nl) mentioned at target 3: ‘”The right to food sovereignty”
    The right to food sovereignty for every country should be anchored in the assumptions of Dutch agricultural policy. That means that a country’s right to produce food for their own population should be secured: without the disturbance of foreign food import (or dumping) to local markets. (…) Actors such as the Dutch LTO and the government should take example from the ABC-platform (Platform Aarde Boer Consument, http://www.aardeboerconsument.nl, GG) that consists of multiple famers organisations with a critical point of view from over the world.’

    BOEKRAAD (Cordaid):
    Food insecurity in the world is not related to a lack of food, but to a lack of access to food by a small but significant portion of people.

    “Think holistically, promote integrality” (…) The transcendence of jurisdictional scales results from the absence of a food security policy domain. Instead, food security is an issue that is scattered across various policy domains, such as agricultural, environmental, development, and trade policy-making. (…) ‘critique on current and previous Dutch food security policy: it is too much focused on food security as a development cooperation concern, and, within that focus, puts a relatively big emphasis on enhancing production, value chains, and the role that Dutch businesses can play within those efforts, and relatively little, although increasing, on aspects such as access, nutrition, and climate change adaptation. Little or none attention has been paid to how food security concerns could be genuinely integrated into other policy domains, such as the Common Agricultural Policy, Common Fisheries Policy, environmental policy, or trade policy.

    HIRSCH (BothENDS):
    ‘One of the biggest challenges to contribute to access to adequate food is to overcome the focus on crop productivity only.’ (…) Refrain from bilateral and multilateral trade agreements that lead to dumping of food in LMIC as it destroys local production.

    ‘This critical nexus between food, health and conflicts is further threatened by climate change and scarce natural and fossil resources, asking for more resilience in food systems and resistance against stress and shocks. (…) Food security policies are also part of interconnected regional and (inter)national trading regimes and company sourcing strategies that provide different and sometimes contradictory incentives.
    (…) In addition, local and regional programs focusing on price stabilization, storage and micro-savings mobilization enable households more effective access to food and nutrition.
    (…) Guaranteeing food security and safeguarding food sovereignty requires equitable access to resources and secure land and water rights.’

    ‘But most agricultural project interventions over the past decades have focused on one particular pattern, i.e. productivity increases per hectare (intensification). Interventions based on this paradigm mainly focus on other forces than labour: new technology, more capital intensive farming, land and water availability, household economics, mechanisation and, as a consequence, cash crop production, transformation and commercialisation for commodity value chains. Projects have, at best, benefitted the upper quintal of rural households, which follow, or are supposed to follow, a distinguished pattern with a degree of (labour) specialisation. The lower spectrum of households has not benefitted from these investments. Both theory and practice confirm that there is not anything like a linear rural development pattern or trickledown effect that automatically includes the less endowed households.’

    SOGGE (Independent researcher),
    “Don’t Overlook Political Economy and Public Politics”
    ‘A year ago, in his final report to the United Nations General Assembly, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, devoted a lot of attention to “the political economy questions that play such an important part in explaining the failure to achieve durable success in tackling hunger and malnutrition.” (…) A cursory look at your food security discussion up to now indicates that issues of political economy are hardly raised.’

    OSINGA (LTO Nederland):
    In the opinion of LTO, the creation of strong farmers’ organisations needs to be complemented by government agriculture policies. These policies are needed to take the edge off market volatility, and provide market information. In regions that are prone to famine, food stocks may be build but always in close cooperation with local farmers organisations. Volatility can also be limited by regulating speculation and by creating instruments farmers can use to limit risks, like risk insurances against weather events, infectious diseases and sudden market collapse. (…) Farmers cannot be expected to produce more food if they are not getting a fair price for their products.

    VIVERO POL (Universite Catholique de Louvain),
    “A different narrative and ethical approach: food as a commons”
    ‘The industrial food system only considers one dimension of food, seeing its tradable dimension and viewing it as a commodity. The main goal of agri-business corporations is not to sustainably produce healthy food for everyone but to earn more money. We are fed by a ‘low cost” food system where price is the main driver of food production, processing and consumption, rather than aiming at delivering nutritious food for all. If we want to achieve a food-secure world we need to have more space for self-regulated collective actions for food and to re-claim more space for state-led initiatives, whose primary goal is their citizens’ wellbeing. Because food security is within the mandate of every state but surely not within the mandate of every food and agriculture company.’

    ‘Unilever advocates for many years for:
    1. A widespread adoption of sustainable farming practices;
    2. A step change in government investment in agriculture (with a particular focus on smallholders); 3. The elimination of market distorting subsidies like those on bio fuels;
    4. Finally we should constantly remind our political masters of the importance of completing the Doha Round. (…) the removal of agricultural tariffs and subsidies will do much to increase agricultural capacity and reduce global poverty.’

    As I said I agree with most comments which I mentioned above. I however strongly oppose remark nr. 4 of Mr. Laan of Unilever.
    As other contributors say, like mr. Osinga, farmers need a fair price to produce more. I would add ‘to produce sustainable and secure food supply in future for local, regional and national consumers’.
    The Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) within the WTO, the current negotiating text of the Doha Round, and bilateral and regional free trade agreements make this impossible. Because the following reasons:
    1. Because government intervention measures like supply management, marketing boards, security stocks and import taxes to stabilize and guarantee fair prices are more and more abolished.
    2. Within the AoA subsidised exports are legitimated instead of abolished, in bilateral agreements the EU refuses to negotiate about them.
    3. It’s ‘forbidden’ to take human rights, environmental and animal welfare concerns into account of these free trade agreement, they are not accepted to take trade distorting measures. Only sanitary concerns are accepted.
    4. Because of lack of import taxes it’s impossible to establish regionalised production in continents like the EU, with many social and environmental advantages. For example it’s impossible to produce protein and oil crops in the EU because of competition of cheap imported soy beans and palm oil. So in the current free trade oriented world scarce natural resources in developing countries are used for ‘the consumer’ with the highest purchasing power. In this way Western meat eaters (based on soy beans) and car drivers (based on bio fuels) get priority above land, water and food rights of small farmers and indigenous people in those countries. Millions of hectares outside the EU are used for luxury products instead of food production. With climate change and rising population in developing countries future, this is an unacceptable situation.


  10. Mariska Meurs
    "A Fair Bite for Food Rights" Consortium
    "A rights-based approach, putting people at the center and protecting public policy space for food and nutrition"

    This target and the introductory text point to a number of important issues, such as nutrition-sensitive agriculture, marketing, decent employment and incomes, supporting local food supply and well-functioning markets. We highlight three aspects that we feel are missing and where the Netherlands can make a difference:
    1. A rights-based approach, putting the most affected people at the centre and addressing power imbalances and other underlying causes of malnutrition together with the unambiguous affirmation of the right to adequate food as the central pillar of policies and its profound interrelation with women’s and children’s rights and empowerment. Access to adequate food for many people is hampered because their rights – as workers, farmers, citizens – are not respected. To reach sustainable solutions, it is of utmost importance that decision-making affecting food and nutrition follows the human rights principle of participation and acknowledges the centrality of those whose lives and nutritional well-being are at stake and is transparent and accountable to people, in particular small-scale and family food producers who are the key actors and drivers of local food systems and the main investors in agriculture.
    2. The role of markets and trade policies in enabling access to adequate food is complex, and preventing food price volatility is not the only challenge. Access to adequate food means not only ensuring the supply of sufficient food of good quality and nutritional value, but also avoiding over-consumption of unhealthy food and drinks and for policies to be in line with peoples’ food sovereignty. Under current trade and investment regimes, governments’ policy space for taking public health and nutrition measures is at risk. For example, Thailand withdrew its proposal to make front of package traffic-light labelling on junk food compulsory after the USA and other countries claimed that this measure contravened the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade. Minister Ploumen stated in De Volkskrant of September 10, that “If we organise TTIP really well, it is my conviction that there will be mostly winners and even bigger winners.” ‘Organizing it well’ is very necessary indeed. It implies at the least including the precautionary principle and clauses to protect the right to adequate food. TTIP can set an example, and attention is urgently needed for the many other regional and bilateral treaties that are being negotiated and where guidance and legal support to low-income countries is needed.
    3. Marketing of certain food stuffs requires special attention. Foods for infants and young children fall into such a category, as stated by the World Health Assembly (WHA). To ensure that their marketing does not harm health and nutritional well-being of children, the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes was adopted as a global tool, followed so far by 15 relevant WHA resolutions (the Code). Withing the framework of human rights, all states have an obligation to implement the Code and all manufacturers and distributors to comply with it. Furthermore, manufacturers should refrain from inappropriate marketing of complementary foods in order to not displace breastmilk and local/family foods.

  11. Francis Tucungwirwe
    Value Addition Institute
    "Accelerated Access and technology transfer"

    Many partners have invested a lot of resources into breeding and other related research, but there are limited efforts to promote access and transfer of improved technologies to farmers. Hence the biggest problem for some of the key food crops is not necessarily lack of improved varieties, its accessing improved varieties and best practices to farmers. In the last 7 years there has been a lot of research and development of new varieties of seed, new technologies in irrigation, fertilizers that if well accessed to farmers we can record great improvements in incomes and food security. We have noted that what most countries need is not necessarily new research for new technologies but transfer of existing ones to small holder farmers first and faster. Illustrative activities for this focus area could include:
    • evaluate efficacy of new high-yielding varieties and hybrids with improved nutritional quality, pest and disease resistance, and industrial and other end-use traits and promote them
    • Promote best options (e.g., varieties , for land preparation, crop management, harvest and post harvest processes) for small holder farmers
    • Strengthen community seed systems to improve access and multiplication of improved seeds ;
    • introduce and disseminate different options for labor saving, energy efficiency and gender friendly tools/equipment for production and post harvest;
    • Identify pre-adapted varieties to satisfy the needs of farmers and to find seeds that are likely to perform well in future climates
    • Access to better adapted varieties reduced vulnerability increased food security to help farmers cope with the adverse effects of climate change on crop production
    • Screening accessions using GIS technology farmers evaluate varieties selection is grown on-farm field days are organized to see how varieties perform and exchange information

    The focus could also be on the transfer of knowledge and skills that are relevant and adaptable to the focus African countries. For instance, in India more than 60 percent of the population relies on agriculture for their livelihood while in most Africa countries it is more than 80%. In the later the agricultural sector productivity and output is very low. For India, over the years, millions of Indians have been lifted out of poverty as a result of India’s leadership in innovating products, processes, and services in agriculture including through the adaptation of new technologies and production methods that improve farmer’s adaptive capacity to impacts of climate change.
    Specifically, there is need to focus on such existing, off-the-shelf technologies that will increase the productivity and competitiveness of smallholder farmers. The end goal is to help smallholder farmers increase their efficiency and profitability in a commercially sustainable way. We want to see the best technologies adapted and made available for sale to smallholder farmers. The focus will be for technologies that have completed testing and are ready to be introduced into the market. It should also target proven technologies that have been commercially proven in one market and can be brought to scale in a new market. Illustrative interventions could include:
    • Innovative agricultural business models that can empower small producers and processors;
    • Productivity and sustainability enhancing tools, climate-resilient technologies, services, and processes appropriate for target beneficiaries;
    • Innovations that transform primary products to value-added goods and services for focus value chains and markets;

    Improving nutrition and ending malnutrition
    The focus under this area is to contribute to improving sustainable access to sufficient and healthy food for the most vulnerable people, by showing the applicability of newly developed or adjusted knowledge, insights, technologies, tools, products or services. Malnutrition severely hampers the quality of life and is an important constraint for economic growth. Malnutrition in children leads to irreversible physical and mental disorders. Investment in food quality is one of the most effective measures to stimulate well-being of people and economic growth of countries. Malnutrition can be caused by insufficient daily food intake, but also by lack of intake of essential nutrients such as vitamins and essential metals. For the consumer to have access to nutritious food, food must not only be available but the supply needs to be diverse and accessible to the consumer. Consumer awareness on the importance of diverse, nutritious, and healthy food may influence market supply and increase accessibility. Moreover, nutritious food must be affordable for low-income consumers. Fortification-when cereal grains are fortified with vitamins and minerals, commonly eaten foods become more nutritious like case of millet and maize flour that are widely consumed as food and porridge in Africa. Consequently consumers improve their health without changing their buying patterns or eating habits. The nutrition provided through fortification helps make people smarter, stronger, and healthier. Improved nutrition prevents diseases, strengthens immune systems, and improves productivity. Illustrative activities could include:

    • Support research of development of local food fortificants
    • Evaluate efficacy of available bio-fortified technologies like commonly taken food crops like genetic potential of the selected staple foods for increasing the micronutrient
    • Promote promising available varieties of biofortified staple foods
    • Develop and test new approaches to optimize fortification of staple food-based foods.
    • Support and develop improved (traditional) processing methods of the staple foods concerned
    • Strengthening private sector capacity in technological excellence in food-based processing approaches in focus African countries
    • Undertake strategic nutritional value addition research for the local food crops
    • Increase local production of food formula for children, therapeutic and supplementary foods for pregnant women and other categories of vulnerable people
    • To identify food-based approaches to improve micro nutrient malnutrition for better health and development of populations in the focus countries for the four food crops.

  12. Carol Gribnau
    Head Green Entrepreneurship Programme, Hivos, Netherlands
    "'Adequate' includes nutritious and diverse"

    More than 50 years of green revolution have not managed to achieve food and nutrition security, eradicate poverty or conserve biodiversity and ecosystems. In spite of existing knowledge, the dominant discourse in policy, research, business and technology development continues to be geared towards the mono-cultural industrial farming models that run counter to meeting the Millennium Development Goals and the Zero Hunger Challenge.

    Access to food is still translated only into an increase in productivity of a few crops. While necessary, on its own it has shown not to lead to more food for everyone (the distribution of food issue) nor to sufficient quality of food. To achieve ‘100% access to adequate food all year round’ we need a more democratic and diverse food system, in which ‘access’ and ‘adequacy’ are connected. Local consumer voices and especially voices of women do put pressure on policy makers and private sector players, but to date are insufficient to bring this closer to reality.

    A truly democratic food system brings the interests and needs of the many farmers and consumers at centre stage rather than corporate interests. There is a role to play for civil society actors in formal and informal policy debates, negotiations and platforms to call for such policies. Transparency of budgets and subsidies needs to be a key target area.
    A diverse food system builds on the productivity and nutrition potential of agricultural biodiversity in food systems rather than bringing diversity into the hands of a few corporations. It enables women and men to use and develop their knowledge to further improve the diversity in seeds and production systems and to intensify production on their farm. Diversity on the farm = diversity on the plate.

    Addressing the challenges in the use and improvement of local diversity (seeds and production systems) requires not only information sharing but also a fairer access to seed diversity and knowledge, financial support for research also on open source seed systems leading to improvements of local varieties and production systems, raising awareness among consumers about their diet and building trust in local food diversity .Other challenges to be addressed by multi partnerships include improvements in distribution of divers locally produced food to markets/supermarkets, reducing post harvest losses and the development of national government policies that support a more diverse and democratic food system.

  13. Boniface Kiome
    Prog Officer Green Entrepreneurship & Sustainable Development at Hivos - East Africa, Kenya

    • 100% access to adequate food means more focus on the nutrition, quality, safety & accessibility. Support for research on nutrition, with the local/national context as basis, is needed. This should be accompanied by supporting government policy.
    Consumer awareness should also be part of food security policy: raise awareness amongst consumers about their food, what they eat, about nutritious food and increase consumer demand for good food. Consumers in Kenya in general are not really aware what they eat. Next to this, promotion of local and nutritious food and how to produce that is needed.
    • Dutch policy in Kenya on food security and support of private sector is to promote integrated food systems e.g inputs and promotion of high quality seedlings such as high quality Irish potatoes from Netherlands (through Kenyan & Netherlands government partnership). This can be supportive of achieving food security. More importantly however, support should be given to local research institutes and gene banks for improvement and use of local varieties, and supporting government policies. Make more use of national available resources instead of external inputs, not only with a view to biodiversity, but also with regard to local private sector and development of research.

  14. rugayabatinya Jean Bosco
    Directeur Général SUVUCOC, Burundi
    "Mushroom cultivation as a solution"

    The probleem is food shortage in developing countries. Improving mushroom cultivation can be a good solution to this problem. In any sense, Dutch policy could improve food security by incorporating the following aspects:
    1. Policy should take development factors in which agro-pastoral aspects should have priority into account.
    2. Support research initiatives for developing countries.
    3. Support access to micro-credit for SME’s
    4. Support farmer investors financially and technically

  15. Barbara van Paassen and Danny Wijnhoud
    Policy Advisor; Senior Researcher - ActionAid Amsterdam - Netherlands
    "Empowering women smallholders & prioritizing local food systems"

    This is the most overarching and therefore priority target. It largely overlaps with all other targets. See also (forthcoming) input on missing elements.

    We consider 3 policy priorities:
    1. Empowerment (women) small-holder food producers and improving their access to and control over natural resources
    Empowerment of currently deprived rural and urban poor, in particular women & girls, is most critical. The target will not be achieved by a mere increase of production without participation, ownership and access by vulnerable women and men. The pervasive downplaying of the importance and potential of smallholders, particularly women who produce up to 80% of local basic foodstuffs according to FAO, is a key challenge and top priority to be addressed. Investing in land rights, particularly those of women smallholders, and climate-resilient sustainable agriculture provides multiple wins for women’s rights, food and nutrition security, poverty reduction, health, climate change mitigation and adaptation, inclusive economic development, and combating growing inequality, unemployment, instability and violent conflicts . This is also emphasized by the High Level Panel of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), the Worldbank, UNCTAD, UNEP, IFAD, IOB and many others.

    Policy and interventions should prioritize:
    • Supporting agency and voice of women, their access to and control over natural resources (land and water rights) and support for sustainable (climate-resilient) local food production, and (agri)enterprise development. This also implies the need for addressing high and gender unequal unpaid care work burden of women and need for investment in women’s functional literacy and other human, social and political livelihood capital assets. Securing access to land and water, favorable credit, inputs, appropriate knowledge and technology, extension services and training on rights, sustainable farming practices and marketing, are particularly key as well as gender-specific. Supporting the organization of women and smallholders in groups or cooperatives has proven very effective.

    o See learnings and recommendations in ‘What works for women’ and recent ‘Great Land Heist’, ‘From Marginalisation to Empowerment’, experiences with CRSA, as well as the inspiring story of Maureen Adson.
    o See also our most recent policy analysis and recommendations for Dutch policies, particularly highlighting the importance of inclusive and appropriate interventions with clear target groups, monitoring and impact evaluation.

    • Support the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and the implementation of the Tenure Guidelines, as well as improve own policies to protect communities and women’s land rights and ensure Free and Prior Informed Consent and other key principles for any investment taking place.
    • Support and promote public investment by (African) governments in participatory land use planning and more inclusive agricultural policies, particularly targeting the needs of (women) smallholders and prioritizing local food production, e.g. via demand-driven public extension services (see for example also our recommendations to CAADP).
    • Guarantees that the voices and land and water rights and production systems of (women) smallholders will be prioritized in international processes and initiatives such as SDGs, the Zero Hunger targets, Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) and Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA).

    2. Understanding and addressing risks and opportunity costs for local food producers
    Many policies and interventions, despite good intentions, provide insufficient guarantees for local ownership of food production systems and affordability to access food being produced. When subsistence farming is being replaced with agricultural labor on larger commercial farms, the rising (opportunity) costs of accessing food to be sourced elsewhere is often underestimated and access to food reduced. Claimed positive impacts of larger agri-businesses on small-scale producers, food security and local economic development have not materialized with negative impacts exceeding any gains up to today (see UNCTAD 2013, Schoneveld 2013 , De Schutter 2014 etc.). More careful and gradual ways of promoting inclusive agricultural development, whilst addressing risks faced by smallholders, particularly women, and micro and small enterprises, is essential. Risks of promotion of large scale agriculture schemes include land and water (control) grabbing, loss of seed and broader biodiversity, infringements on the right to food, monopolization of agri-inputs, divestment from public extension to smallholders, etc. Often these initiatives do not addresses root causes of food insecurity, i.e. power imbalances, exclusion and hurdles to build up livelihood capital assets as to reduce vulnerability. On the other hand here is much potential in supporting and upscaling initiatives that address these challenges, particularly also risk coping mechanisms of smallholders (WFP/FAO food security pillar missing in current food security policy).

    3. Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) and prioritizing local and regional food systems
    We consider that the strong emphasis on Dutch trade interests and private sector participation may converge, but often competes with local small-scale food producers and local food and nutrition security interests. We recommend preventing top-down blueprints and interest-driven initiatives that are unlikely to serve the complex needs of the poor and food insecure; and to be careful with overemphasizing export-oriented global commodity chains in food-insecure contexts. Instead we suggest creating space and support for people-centered solutions addressing the root causes of food and nutrition insecurity in a sustainable and inclusive manner requiring:
    • Assessing (potential) impacts of all relevant policies and interventions on food security and particularly the access to food by the most marginal groups. Embassy PCD assessments could be a tool in this and cooperation with other Ministries is key. This would contribute to ensuring that any policies and interventions the Dutch support do not compete with, but rather promote, inclusive local and national food markets and the right to food.
    • Phase out biofuel and other commodity targets that compete with food production; introduce strong social criteria for all commodities, including Free Prior and Informed Consent.
    • Ensure policy coherence and fair international policies, in particular trade policies and negotiations to ensure space for addressing CFS priorities (in particular the rights and needs of smallholders and policy space for governments to promote local and national food systems).

  16. Rajul Pandya-Lorch
    Chief of Staff & Head of 2020 Vision Initiative, IFPRI

    The global food system is increasingly vulnerable. Threats to food security and nutrition include increasing population and urbanization, rising incomes and demand (including diet changes), growing land and water constraints, soil degradation, rising agricultural-related diseases and food safety risks, increasing food price spikes and volatility, and climate change (leading to higher frequency and intensity of extreme weather events).
    Moreover, nearly 850 million people are hungry worldwide. More than 2 billion people suffer from micro-nutrient deficiencies and about 160 million children under five years of age (one in four children) are stunted, indicating a range of developmental setbacks including cognitive impairment. Overweight and obesity are increasing challenges with over 2 billion people affected.

    * With hunger and malnutrition persisting in a changing global food system landscape, the elimination of hunger and malnutrition should be top priority within the SDGs—an anchor for the post-2015 agenda. The global community should aim to achieve this goal by 2025. The experiences of countries such as Brazil, China, Thailand, and Vietnam in substantially reducing hunger and undernutrition suggest we should aspire to achieve this goal. However, to make the attainment of this goal a reality, governments and donors must allocate sufficient resources and pursue appropriate policies and investments.

    * Changes in the agricultural and food policy landscape underline the need for rethinking the key strategic areas for enhanced knowledge and investment. IFPRI’s new strategy has identified six priorities that respond to the most critical drivers affecting food security in developing countries, and address critical knowledge gaps and emerging trends: 1) ensuring sustainable food production, 2) promoting healthy food systems, 3) improving markets and trade, 4) transforming agriculture, 5) building resilience, and 6) strengthening institutions and governance.

    * Sustainable intensification is key to produce more nutrition with more efficient use of all inputs and natural resources on a durable basis. Investments in agricultural technology and practices that support sustainable intensification are required to meet current and future nutrition requirements. For example, nitrogen-use efficiency, improved varieties (drought- and heat-tolerant), integrated soil fertility management, no-till, and drip irrigation are technologies and practices that produce more with less.

    * To accelerate investments in food security and nutrition, it is crucial to invest in nutrition-specific (e.g. micronutrient supplementation) and nutrition-sensitive interventions (e.g. social safety nets); reshape agriculture for improved nutrition and health; and enhance profitability of smallholders (policies should differ among smallholders, they should be helped to either move up or move out). IFPRI-led CGIAR research programs PIM and A4NH are well-positioned to leverage investments for improved policy, institutions, markets, and nutrition to accelerate the elimination of hunger and malnutrition.

    * Greater investment in resilience will be critical to eliminate hunger and malnutrition. Resilience is about helping people, communities, countries, and global institutions prevent, anticipate, prepare for, cope with, and recover from shocks and not only bounce back to where they were before the shocks occurred, but become even better-off.

  17. David Connolly and Agnese Macaluso
    Head of the Conflict Prevention Program, The Hague Institute for Global Justice
    "Food and violent conflict: long term impact of deliberate starvation on food security and post-conflict transitions"

    Two intractable and related challenges to achieving this target are violent conflict and a lack of political will. Based on recent trends, these challenges include cases of insufficient commitment and/or capacity by governments to ensure food security and sustainable food systems for its citizens, and also the deliberate decisions by state and non-state actors to starve its citizens deliberately, as a weapon of war. This brief contribution focuses on the long-term implications of deliberate starvation on conflict-affected and fragile states in terms of food security and their ability to transition out of conflict.

    Since 1994, armed conflicts have produced malnutrition, food shortages and poverty in more than 32 countries. Hunger also persisted in the aftermath of conflict in at least 10 countries. In Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan, where access to food was deliberately limited by either governments or rebel forces, the evidence shows that deliberate starvation has triggered a cycle of hunger and in particular undermined economic recovery for decades. One of the most common practices of deliberate starvation is the intentional disruption of agricultural production and the killing of livestock. The shortage of food and natural resources can, in turn trigger social ethnic and cultural tensions, as happened in Liberia in the 1990s.

    Hunger can also have devastating psychological and social impact, undermining the ability of people to produce food and increasing their dependence on humanitarian assistance. Displacement within and beyond borders and other demographic changes caused by food shortages can also spill over to create regional tensions and insecurity, as demonstrated by the plight of 3 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and other neighbouring countries.

    In Syria among other emergencies, the international community has become frequently hindered in providing and facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance because it cannot gain the consent of the host government especially where starvation is deliberate, politicised and part of the conflict. The international community is also under pressure to find long-term solutions to prevent or stop such atrocities and to find a lasting peace.

    How can the international community address more effectively deliberate starvation? What role could the Netherlands play at the policy level?
    Legally, The Rome Statute lists deliberate starvation as a war crime only in international conflict. It can be persecuted under other headings, such as a crime against humanity, torture or genocide. However none of these options acknowledge the crime of starvation in its own right and provide a concrete legal basis for prosecution. Given the gaps, future policy could either promote an amendment of the Rome Statute, to include starvation as a war crime also in interstate conflicts, or the establishment of ad hoc international tribunals.

    Operationally, the international community is weak in intervening in cases of deliberate starvation despite the precedence of Security Council authorisation for intervention in Somalia in 1993 and the current Responsibility to Protect doctrine. Given the leadership of the Netherlands in peace building and in food security, there is scope for more proactive diplomacy in exposing the long-term and regional damage from deliberate starvation, and in reaching greater consensus among states on ending this practice.

  18. Wijnand Klaver
    Senior researcher on food and nutrition security, African Studies Centre, Leiden
    "What’s in a term? On concepts and domains"

    Several expert have commented that the focus of food security goes beyond food production. As Jeroen Candel notes (see his contribution under target 1), there has been a shift in focus since the introduction of the term more than 30 years ago.

    What’s in a term? …food (and nutrition) security
    The term “food security” invites the misunderstanding, that food security is a property of food. Instead, it is a property of people: it refers to their experience (or even: perception) of being able to secure the food they need. In other words: the concept is about people’s food-related security. This interpretation, which is actually from the consumers’ perspective, got strengthened, when the term “access” became the central concept. Several experts have pointed to the embeddedness of food and nutrition security in broader livelihood security, social justice and ecological sustainability. Now often the social and environmental costs are not considered, but are externalized (see Sharon Hesp on Target 3 and Christiaan Hogenhuis on missing elements). While Rob Glastra (in his contribution to Target 3) rightly states that food security policies tend to neglect their ecological foundation, food security policies also tend to neglect their outcome in terms of nutrition, health and functional performance. Nowadays the preferred term is “food and nutrition security”, implying that this security is not only food-related, but also related to (i) health (incl. sanitation) and (ii) care (a concept coined by UNICEF, that goes beyond health care). More on this can be found in a report of a Vijverberg session “Bridging the Gap — over voedselzekerheid en voedingszekerheid” (see website).

    What’s in a term? …adequate food
    More people suffer from ‘hidden hunger’ than from overt starvation, because their diet lacks micronutrients such as iron, zinc, vitamin A, iodine, and folate. This ‘hidden hunger’ is a main cause of health problems, high mortality and low economic productivity. Dietary diversification is one of the key strategies to combat this ‘hidden hunger’. Thus the term “adequate food” in Target 1 should be interpreted as (i) enough food (energy-wise) and at the same time (ii) a diversified diet that meets all nutritional requirements (i.e. rich enough in proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals). The standard way of expression in food composition tables is amounts of energy and nutrients per 100g raw edible portion. In comparing foods from different food groups, the expression per 100g is not fair, as the water content differs a lot between dry and fresh foods. Nutritional analysis shows that when the food composition figures are expressed per 100g dry matter, vegetables appear as a particularly rich source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. This makes vegetables the most affordable and accessible source of micronutrients to help fight ‘hidden hunger (see website).

    Undernutrition ‘broad’ and ‘deep’
    Hunger and undernutrition can be seen as symptoms of an underlying system that needs a broader and deeper structural approach and even a systemic change. Deep=down from the soil up to the mouth and beyond (health and future functional performance). Broad: looking at cycles in time, for instance (i) seasonal fluctuations (see Nico Janssen’s comment with target 1) and (ii) looking at the life cycle, where nutritional status in the 1000 days “window” starts with good adolescent nutrition (as they are the future mothers and fathers), while recognizing that the effects of hunger and malnutrition now may be passed on to the third generation (through the ova of a baby girl to the grandchildren of the mother).

    Access broadened
    Claudio Schuftan in his contribution on missing elements rightly places the issue of access in the framework of human rights while broadening access beyond access to food alone, when he states: “the right to the enjoyment of and access to a variety of facilities, services and conditions that are necessary for good nutrition.”

    Securing food security scattered over different domains
    As Jeroen Candel in his contribution under target 1 states, food security is an issue that is scattered across various policy domains, such as agricultural, environmental, development, and trade policy-making. And So is nutrition security scattered across various policy domains. While in many countries it is relegated to the health domain, it is also influenced by such domains as education, gender and social affairs and home economics (traditionally in the domain of agriculture, but nowadays often marginalized).

    All of this calls for an integrated approach that does justice to the embeddedness of food and nutrition security. It also has implications for data needs (an issue for missing elements)

  19. Francis Ouruma Alacho
    Country Manager, Africa Innovations Institute Uganda
    "Ensuring availability of safe and nutritious food to institutions and the vulnerable"

    Uganda is well endowed with a favourable weather and suitable agro-ecology for food production. It has adequate arable land to feed its current and future population as well as that of neighbouring countries in the region. However, there are sections of the population that are not getting adequate and safe nutritious food and are never a focus of interventions. These include school going students, patients in hospitals, prisoners and vulnerable families. Most of the food sold and eaten is of suspect safety.

    School feeding programs: School going students can be categorized into nursery, primary, secondary and tertiary students. In many countries including Uganda there are no policies to ensure that educational institutions provide safe nutritious food when students are away from home. In Uganda there are close to 10 million students at all the above levels of learning representing about 29 % of the population whose feeding is adhoc with the majority especially in Universal primary schools (7 million) not eating breakfast and lunch. This does not only deprive a very significant portion of the population from access to food at all times but also implants a poor practice and culture of feeding to future parents who may think that eating meals like breakfast and lunch is optional. There is need to analyze the implications and effects of this further and provide evidence to support enactment of policies, strategies, guidelines and practices that rectify the anomalies. .

    Institutional members: The other significant category are those in hospitals, prisons and other institutions that mainly depend on Government for feeding. In such institutions the feeding regime is characterized by lack of a balance diet and in most cases they experience malnutrition.

    Vulnerable populations: The other category is that of the vulnerable groups in the country such as households of the elderly, the chronically sick, people with disability and child-headed households who have limited resources to provide for themselves. The impact of this on national health and nutrition as well as economic productivity needs to be understood in order to develop practical interventions to ensure access to safe nutritious food for all.

    Food safety and quality are one of the aspects that has received minimum attention. There are many legislative instruments and institutions that are mandated to ensure the populace consumes safe nutritious food but are not enforcing the laws and guidelines. Countries need to assess the economic and health impact of this on the health and productivity of the population in order to develop more robust actions to ensure safety and nutrition of food consumed in homes, eating outlets and that sold nationally, regionally and globally.

    In order to realize benefits from the above interventions there is need to strengthen the integration of agriculture, health and nutrition. There is need for studies to provide quantitative and qualitative impacts of the above scenarios on the economic productivity and health to ensure total access to food.

  20. Mariel Mensink
    Regional Coordinator East, Terrafina Microfinance - Netherlands
    "Appropriate and accessible finance, but also access to markets and improved business capacities are needed"

    Worldwide food security is a growing concern both in the developed and developing countries. There is increased realization that small producers also in Africa have to play a crucial role in addressing food shortages. International, regional and local value chains are established to cater for this, including small producers and producer organizations. World wide it is also shown (Rabo study) that there is a trend to shift from a buyers to a suppliers market in the food chains. This offers vast opportunities for small farmers to grow their income generated through food sales if they are well organized. However, producers still face constraints, a crucial one being access to appropriate and accessible finance, but also access to markets and improved business capacities. Across the board members of the rural finance working group of NpM, Platform for Inclusive Finance Agri-ProFocus experiences this in their daily practice.

    Affordable, Accessible and Appropriate Inclusive Finance
    Appropriate and accessible finance means access to timely working capital and input loans, medium term equipment loans or leasing products, alternative collateral constructions build on chain relationships and risk mitigation products such as insurance. A broad range of financial services is needed including loans to semi-subsistence farmers and smaller producer organizations to fully service the food chains. Mostly smaller farmers are serviced by MFIs or financial cooperatives while larger loans can come from banks and SME funds.

    Product development support and high risk investments financial service providers.
    In the current realities especially in Africa it is our experience that many financial service providers (banks and MFIs included) need guided capacity building interventions tailored to their needs especially for development of tailored agri- products for small producers, and the specific realities of theirs chains and countries. Furthermore these financial service providers need access to high risk baring investments to test the ground with such new products without risking their own sustainability immediately.

    Stimulate business incubation through high risk investment
    In the past few years we have seen the finance gap called ‘the missing middle’ become significantly smaller. Today there are many more funds looking to invest in agri-business in developing countries. However still very few of these funds are willing to take enough risk to stimulate business incubation. These funds are facing serious difficulties filling their pipeline with acceptable potential deals. There is an important lack of high risk capital, in the form of high risk equity and/or incubation grants, to stimulate agri-business-initiatives to emerge from the start-up stage and become interesting investment opportunities for (social) investment funds, MFI’s and banks while contributing to food security on a local, regional or international level.

    Value Chain Finance Facilitation
    While investing in the lower end of the supply chains is necessary in order to contribute to food security, the risks involved are still perceived as very high. In many cases the (perceived) risk can be reduced to a more acceptable risk level if one makes use of

    securities offered by established value chain relationships. In order to create these multi actor market solutions it is often necessary to have a facilitator who sees the opportunities and can bring together the right parties at the right time. Unfortunately less and less funds are available for facilitators to play this crucial temporary role.

    There is a concern among the members of the NpM rural finance group that these capacity building requirements and high risk investments find limited attention in the food security policy of the Dutch government. When financial services are mentioned often reference is made to the Dutch Good Growth fund. This could be an option for the larger and well established banks and MFIs that also offer services to SMEs and (semi) commercial farmers, but the smaller MFIs and financial cooperatives that offer services to (semi) subsistence smallholders will not be able to easily access the funds available from DGGF.

    Policy recommendations:
    1. High risk investment fund: Establish high risk investment fund for smaller MFIs financial cooperatives; producer organizations and SME’s that address the need of smallholder farmers, to enable them to innovate and pass the start- up phase.
    2. Product development support to MFI’s and capacity building to producers organizations; Give special windows for funding for capacity building interventions for producer organizations and flexible technical assistance trajectories for product development for MFIs.
    3. Value chain finance facilitation. In calls for proposals or tenders allow for specific funds for brokering functions needed to connect MFIs to smallholder producers; to connect producers to companies and traders and to connect these also to banks.

  21. Klaas Johan Osinga
    Senior Policy Adviser International Affairs - LTO Netherlands
    "Creating and strengthening farmers’ organisations and co-operatives is key"

    Food production will need to grow at least 60% until 2050 to meet rising demand, while not much additional agricultural land will become available. The costs of energy and other inputs will also rise. This means farmers need to become much more efficient. To achieve this, technological development will be important. But farmers, women and men, will only be able to grasp the benefits when they are able to respond to market signals. The only way they can do that is by co-operation in strong producer organisations. Such organisations need to be farmer-led and farmer-driven.

    In the opinion of LTO, the creation of strong farmers’ organisations needs to be complemented by government agriculture policies. These policies are needed to take the edge off market volatility, and provide market information. In regions that are prone to famine, food stocks may be build but always in close cooperation with local farmers organisations. Volatility can also be limited by regulating speculation and by creating instruments farmers can use to limit risks, like risk insurances against weather events, infectious diseases and sudden market collapse.
    Governments need to create the right regulatory environment where farmers’ organisations can thrive. However, it is the farmers who need to drive change. LTO believes this can only be achieved by programmes that treat farmers as (potential) entrepreneurs. This is what Agriterra is trying to achieve. LTO, NCR (Dutch co-operatives), NAJK (Dutch young farmers’ association) and rural women organisations (Vrouwen van Nu) founded Agriterra in 1998.
    Farmers cannot be expected to produce more food if they are not getting a fair price for their products. LTO believes that the best way to achieve that is the creation of strong farmers’ organisations who are able to link up with markets, locally, nationally and then also internationally. This also helps to reduce harvest loss or food waste (target 5): where demand meets supply, economic incentives will be created to reduce losses.
    Strong democratic farmers’ organisations are important to contribute to building democratic societies, more equality and economic growth and jobs for the rural poor.

    EU’s agricultural policies (Common Agricultural Policy or CAP) will continue towards less market-distorting subsidies, more ‘greening’ of farm support and open borders. This means farmers in developing nations get better access to the EU market. LTO supports this development as the Netherlands is already very much dependent on international trade. LTO is therefore against the reintroduction of old market measures like export restitutions and quotas like was done in the eighties.
    Demand for biofuels is increasing. This will impact on agriculture and on food production. LTO acknowledges the possible adverse impact on food prices but stresses that during times of low food prices, production for biofuels can help lay a floor in the food markets and therefore help farmers through periods of low prices. In the medium-long term, LTO sees more scope for the so-called second and third generation biofuels, so that direct competition with food will be limited. However, as we all know, the amount of agricultural land will remain limited. Hence our emphasis on production efficiency.
    Farmers’ access to knowledge is also key to achieving ‘zero hunger’. This means that farmers are driving the research agenda. Only when farmers feel ownership of whatever research is being done, the results of research may lead to implementation in practice, innovation and ultimately competitiveness. Again, this can only be achieved by strong farmers’ organisations who can prioritise research needs bottom-up.
    In our view, the creation and strengthening of farmers’ organisations and co-operatives is the key to achieving ‘zero hunger’.

    Klaas Johan Osinga
    LTO Nederland (GSM +31(6)10586047),

  22. Edith Boekraad
    Cordaid, Director Food Security
    Make the policy specific, targeted and catalytic

    Food insecurity in the world is not related to a lack of food, but to a lack of access to food by a small but significant portion of people. Seven out of eight people in the world, including us, however, are food secure and/or over-supplied with food. We must well be able to jointly end food insecurity.

    International support (including Dutch food security policies) should respect, facilitate, build upon and be complementary to the national and local policies. Development interventions are sustainable only if beneficiaries (i.e. the food insecure) can give continuity to the results achieved with the support provided. The interventions need to be “owned” by them and should strengthen them in their entrepreneurship and support them in their connection to the local and national economy.

    Many of the food insecure in the world are smallholders who do not have sufficient food year-round. Indeed, all of these women and men smallholders lack access to resources – whether natural (land, water), markets (for outputs and inputs), human (labor; in specific periods of the season) and/or financial (e.g. agricultural credit). As many food insecure live in remote rural areas, overall infrastructure is poor. The institutional support (e.g. education and training, and research and extension) they need to become food secure is often not available.

    The developmental challenges in remote rural areas are much bigger than food insecurity alone, and budgets are tight by definition. Interventions need to be specific, targeted and catalytic. What international development interventions make sense to end food insecurity?

    Cordaid believes that:

    • International development support should target especially those regions where food insecurity is highest, such as the fragile areas; i.e. where effective institutions to implement policies are still absent or weak. Here, civil society plays a key role for change.
    • Development is a multi-stakeholder process. Public policy support should facilitate an enabling environment for business and civil society. Public funding support for food security should be complementary to what the economy and society at large can provide.
    • Innovation and investments in research is crucial and in order to make research and innovations accessible for smallholders Dutch policy should encourage research that deliberately seeks interaction with smallholders and learns from and with them about local traditional and modern scientific knowledge. Dutch funding support for agricultural research should put more emphasis on funding smallholder-compatible, participatory and applied research.
    • Smallholders need organization (i.e. scale and collaboration) to build their production and trade, and to influence policies and institutions. Cordaid strongly advocates organizational support for women and men producer groups to achieve strength and scale for their farming and trading business.
    • Women and men smallholders should be supported in their strengths – i.e. in what they are able to do in groups and individually. Most if not all do have resources available (e.g. land, water, labour, etc.) with which significant production and productivity increases can be achieved.
    • Capacity-building through education and training remains a most sustainable way of supporting people to improve their own lives. The Netherlands has a long history and a strong track record both in developing, financing and implementing smallholder education and training. Dutch expertise in agribusiness and Dutch knowledge and expertise about the specific needs of smallholders, their production and their value chains should be banked upon.

  23. Nico Janssen
    SNV World Tanzania, Global Coordinator Nutrition Security
    Year Round Access to Food for Rural Household in Light of Agricultural Production Seasons

    This raises immediate as many questions as there are answers. Are we talking about access to (nutritious) food for rural farming households or urbanised households? At SNV we mostly focus on rural households, so let me speak about them. Year round access to nutritious food is very often a big challenge for many households in light of seasonality of cropping calendars. Not all food can be grown in each season and in many situations people are facing lengthy dry seasons in which little can be grown. So on the one hand we have to look at opportunities to lengthen production seasons through changes in cropping patterns, introduction of more drought resistant crops, investments in technology and infrastructure like irrigation. These interventions allow for more productive months per year to guarantee access to self-produced-food. At the same time there is ample scope for post-harvest interventions that allow for longer term storage without loss of nutritious value of crops. For essential foods that cannot be locally grown of stored people need access to income generating activities (from sales or labour) to purchase these food items. This requires at the same time functioning markets towards the rural areas. In many developing countries these supply markets function far from optimal. Rural areas are seen as providers for urban areas but not as consumption markets for essential food items.

    The Dutch expertise in agriculture is not just on production but also on supply chain development and management, food processing and storage and last but not least capacity development and knowledge transfer. It is by combining these strengths that the difference can be made.

    The success of interventions will depend on the in-depth understanding of local cultures and habits. What will motivate people to change their production systems and eating habits? The role of women, as producers, entrepreneurs and providers of care and food is crucial in this but often neglected. To empower them to gain more control over decision making vis-à-vis food production, food storage and food consumption is one of the main keys to success.

    However, it is not just about access to food. It is evenly so about being healthy and productive. If we cannot improve food production and nutrition while at the same time addressing sanitation and access to clean water then it will not make much of a difference what people eat.

    In SNV we have nearly 50 years experience in multi-sectoral development approaches that work. Food security, agricultural production, development of markets, water and sanitation are among the themes that have always been at the core of our work.

  24. Jeroen Candel
    PhD Candidate Food Security Governance, Public Administration & Policy Group, Wageningen University
    "Think holistically, promote integrality"

    Food (in)security is a multi-faceted issue. Since the introduction of the term in the 1970s, academic and policy debates about food security have witnessed a shift from a sole focus on production and availability, towards the inclusion of dimensions such as access and social inequality, utilization, nutrition, and, rather recently, impacts of the agricultural sector on the long-term potential to provide healthy food in a sustainable manner. Similarly, it is now widely recognized that food security crosses temporal, spatial, and jurisdictional scales.

    Crossing temporal scales refers to the interaction between short- and long-term drivers and aspects of food (in)security. Short-term concerns and interests, such as price volatility or sudden disasters, can thereby sometimes come to dominate long-term concerns, such as soil fertility and the availability of essential natural resources, in policy formation. Ideally, short- and long-term efforts are coordinated through a concerted approach that promotes both short-term reliefs and long-term resilience.

    The spatial scale, ranging from the individual to the global, refers to the various levels on which food security can be analysed and on which problems can arise. It also involves the governance level at which food security issues are addressed. Sometimes, mismatches can occur between the levels at which problems occur and the level at which they are governed. This requires continuous reflexive efforts regarding the appropriate governance levels and how these should interact.

    The jurisdictional scale refers to the fragmentation of formal jurisdictions with respect to the dimensions of food security. These fragmentations can be identified at each governance level, for example between ministries at the national level, or between international organizations on the global level. The transcendence of jurisdictional scales results from the absence of a food security policy domain. Instead, food security is an issue that is scattered across various policy domains, such as agricultural, environmental, development, and trade policy-making.

    Setting out these three types of cross-scale food security interactions brings me to a general critique on current and previous Dutch food security policy: it is too much focused on food security as a development cooperation concern, and, within that focus, puts a relatively big emphasis on enhancing production, value chains, and the role that Dutch businesses can play within those efforts, and relatively little, although increasing, on aspects such as access, nutrition, and climate change adaptation. Little or none attention has been paid to how food security concerns could be genuinely integrated into other policy domains, such as the Common Agricultural Policy, Common Fisheries Policy, environmental policy, or trade policy. Although many of these domains are primarily governed at the EU level, a proactive approach by the Dutch government could make a difference in Brussels, where holistic food security efforts are currently hampered by member states’ reserves. In this respect, lessons can be learned from similar cross-scale issues, such as climate change adaptation, on which the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) recently published a report pleading for increased integrality (Biesbroek et al., 2014). Only by recognizing this integrality, a truly holistic food security approach can be developed.

    Biesbroek GR, Termeer CJAM, Dewulf ARPJ, et al. (2014) Integraliteit in het Deltaprogramma: verkenning van knelpunten en mogelijke oplossingsrichtingen. PBL.

  25. Ton Dietz
    Director African Studies Centre, Netherlands
    "Look beyond policy: include urban-rural dynamics and agro-food cluster institutions as drivers of agricultural change"

    At the African Studies Centre we recently produced a policy brief about agricultural pockets of effectiveness, focusing on Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda since 2000. This policy brief and the four research papers about each of the countries can be found on http://www.institutions-africa.org. These papers have been a result of the Developmental regimes in Africa project, which is a collaboration between the African Studies Centre in Leiden, and the Overseas Development Institute in London. It is a follow up of the ‘Tracking Development’ project, that compared the development trajectories of four Southeast Asian countries with four countries in Africa. See the African Studies Centre website.

    We believe that our findings and suggestions are of relevance to this policy consultation about food security. The core of the findings and suggestions are as follows:

    • Africa experiences a rapid growth in agricultural production since about 2000, which is a result of both area expansion for most crops, rapid growth in livestock numbers, and considerable improvement of average yield levels for many food crops.
    • The large majority of Africa’s agricultural production feeds African consumers; only a limited part of Africa’s agricultural land and labor is devoted to exports.
    • We see three major reasons for the rapid agricultural growth since about 2000 in many countries in Africa:

    • The expanding demand from Africa’s cities, and particularly its rising metropoles (a result of demographic growth, urbanization, concentrated wealth in cities, and growing prosperity);
    • A growing ability of African entrepreneurs to organize value chains between the hinterlands of metropoles and these big cities;
    • A growing success of ‘clusters’ or ‘hubs of innovation’, where many different public and private agencies succeed to support particular subsectors, and where local and global agencies come together.

    • In research and practitioners’ circles dealing with agricultural dynamics in Africa there is too much emphasis on value chains, and not enough on clusters of innovation.
    • A lot of the recent successes are a result of dynamics beyond the state. In quite some cases one can even say that they happen despite the central state. Many African states do not yet support their agricultural and rural sector in ways that support both a rapid transformation of the economy, and rapid poverty alleviation in both rural and urban areas. Many African states do not adhere to the principles laid down in the Maputo Declaration (e.g.; at least 10% of government budgets for the agricultural and rural sector).
    • Many African states, but also African business, tends to talk a lot about transforming the economy towards a manufacturing and high-skilled service economy. In practice the manufacturing sector based on crops, forest products, aquatic products and livestock is not well supported and not well developed yet.
    • In Africa’s cities there is a wide gap between rich-end consumers (for which the expanding supermarkets and specialized shops cater) and the mass of poor consumers (who get their agro-products mostly through informal channels and open markets). However, the food web in cities should not be seen as compartmentalized, as there are many linkages between the agencies active in the food industry. Innovations (e.g. standardization; better quality control), which are a result in one segment or in one product, do have their repercussions in other segments and in the food chain as a whole.
    • A one-sided focus on the rapid dynamics in agricultural production and distribution, without attention for nutritional aspects and consumption dynamics among people in different income brackets, results in images that are too positive. Looking at the recent evidence about under-nutrition among children, also in African countries with rapid increases in food production for local markets (e.g.; Nigeria), still shows dramatic figures. Only a focused strategy to make access to food inclusive (and that means: also available, at affordable prices, for the 20% ultra-poor in cities and often marginal rural areas) can improve this problem of massive stunting and wasting among young children, which is still one of Africa’s basic problems.
    • At the African Studies Centre we hope to contribute to better and useful knowledge about, what we call, ‘agro-food clusters in Africa’, and we welcome collaboration with other researchers and with the private sector.

  26. Danielle Hirsch
    Director of BothENDS, Netherlands
    "Overcome the focus on crop productivity only in order to contribute to access to food"

    The Special Rapporteur on the right to food uses the following definition of the right to food: the right to have regular, permanent and unrestricted access, either directly or by means of financial purchases, to quantitatively and qualitatively adequate and sufficient food corresponding to the cultural traditions of the people to which the consumer belongs, and which ensure a physical and mental, individual and collective, fulfilling and dignified life free of fear.
    One of the biggest challenges to contribute to access to adequate food is to overcome the focus on crop productivity only.

    We see 6 options for transition:

    • Stimulate agrobiodiversity, diversification of crops and vegetable gardens (both in rural areas as in urban areas), as diversity contributes to nutritional value of diets and it mitigates the risk of single crop failure and dependence on one (low) crop prize only.
    • Stimulate land restoration practices, like planting trees (permaculture and food forests), avoiding erosion by contour agriculture, upholding soil health by mulching etc. in order to halt land degradation and to make land productive again.
    • Push knowledge and practice development on agro-ecology, mimicking natural processes while respecting the ecosystem through co-creation of farmers, agronomists, ecologists, soil scientists, practioners, consumers etc.
    • Take away barriers for and stimulate local producers to supply local consumers, in The Netherlands, in Europe and elsewhere.
    • Push participation of land users in decision-making processes over spatial planning and take a landscape approach as base for spatial planning.
    • Refrain from bilateral and multilateral trade agreements that lead to dumping of food in LMIC as it destroys local production.

  27. Muhimbise John
    Director - Apex Business Skills Ltd - Uganda
    "A holistic approach to resolving food adeqauacy problems"

    Jane and her husband are peasant farmers living in rural Uganda. They have eight children who are currently in school under free primary and secondary school programme. Life for this couple is a struggle all the time. Even when the weather is good and the harvest is good there isn’t enough food for the family because of the numbers. The story of Jane and her husband is the order of the day in the whole of rural Uganda where the average number of children stands at seven per family – which is third highest in the world!

    For more than a decade now various initiatives have been introduced to improve agricultural production and productivity yet there is very little to show on the ground. Peasants are still using hand-held hoes of decades ago. Peasants still depend on erratic weather for their crops. Soil fertility has deteriorated over the years and nothing much has been done to improve the soils. Soil erosion and landslides with devastating effects are more common these days than they were mainly because of deforestation. If the Dutch government wants to achieve 100% access to adequate food all year around it must adopt a new approach along the following lines:

    – Direct substantial financing to family planning campaigns because without small manageable families all other food security initiatives will fail
    • Direct more financing to education sector because experience has shown that the more educated people are the smaller the families and the more receptive they are to new initiatives and ideas
    • Channel funds directly to beneficiaries instead of the corrupt officials who have actually failed most food security projects
    • Consider financing large scale irrigation projects in partnership with the private sector.
    • Intensify your dialogue with various stakeholders by sharing knowledge and skills using various platforms as dissemination of knowledge is one of the most effective channels in influencing change.

    Netherlands is a success story in food production and productivity, why not share your story as loudly as you can?

    Anyone involved in the war against hunger and food security will tell you they are facing insurmountable problems and will quietly confide in you that they have actually given up. There is no question that the problems are many but they are to a large extent manageable if only there was serious commitment at implementation level of the various food security initiatives.

  28. Nehemiah Gitonga
    Executive Director, Tenacious Systems Kenya - Farmsoft, ICT - Farming and Food Industry
    "ICT Collaboration in the Food Supply Chain"

    Today, technology and internet comes a generation of immediacy, we want information and we want it now! And managing food production and processing is no different. With the emergence of technology in farming and processing, we take a look at the opportunities that will help from managing food production from the farmers to the consumers.

    1) Better support from agronomists/technical advisors and Farmers

    By allowing remote monitoring of farming activities (you choose what information to share; your live data is accessible from anywhere, making you truly mobile). External agronomists, farmers, farm consultants, grower associations, and farm co-operatives have ability to access, record and share farming information and easily control farm operations simply over the web and using a computer, tablet, iPad, or even a smart-phone. This would help on farmers exercising good agricultural practices to increase the yield and meeting the food safety policies.

    2) Collaboration is key to this next generation Supply Chain Link

    No longer are the various stakeholders working independently of one another. Having software solutions in place, agronomists, contractors, farmers, customers, suppliers and transporters avoid unnecessary duplication of effort and speeding up operational processes.
    Managing waste in the Supply chain: Ability to meet customer requirements and consumer demand accurately, efficiently and sustain-ably is vital. In product demand and supply forecasting, wireless syncing of data and notifications of record changes gives users immediate access in making time-critical decisions avoiding potential excess and shortages in supply. Freshness in the supply chain is part of minimizing wastage where the food producers and the link stakeholders to the consumer are sharing and similar platform of collaboration.

    3) Reduced Traceability and Compliance Cost:

    By aligning the entire supply chain from source to shelf, farmers can ensure they adhere to compliance standards and maximise the success rate and security of their harvest. With all data easily accessible from a single, searchable online location, you’ll never need to worry about an audit again. You can sleep easy knowing that your grower records are up-to-date and available at your fingertips. This comes when there is maximum residue levels (MRLs) concern in the market.

    4) Technology in the third world is getting better:

    Huge investment to improve efficiency in communication and sharing of information in the supply chain has resulted in significant advances and wider adoption of Management Software Solution in both farming and processing operations in the third world. Visibility on farming and food production discipline is a major boost to 100% access to adequate food all year round

  29. Willem-Jan Laan
    Director Global External Affairs at Unilever
    "Dutch embassies analyse gaps in countries’ food systems"

    One of the biggest challenges of today is to realise a major increase in agricultural productivity in a context where our climate is changing, temperatures rising, soil quality degrading and water becoming scarcer. Unilever advocates for many years for:

    1. A widespread adoption of sustainable farming practices;
    2. A step change in government investment in agriculture (with a particular focus on smallholders);
    3. The elimination of market distorting subsidies like those on bio fuels;
    4. Finally we should constantly remind our political masters of the importance of completing the Doha Round.

    Tackling these issues will require long term multi-stakeholder approach. This contribution outlines a way forward with focus areas for the Dutch government according to Unilever.

    Get the global framework right

    • Ensure that world leaders include the five key objectives of the Zero Hunger Challenge in the new set of Sustainable Development Goals.
    • Agreement on Doha round, working with the WTO and political leaders to ensure the removal of agricultural tariffs and subsidies will do much to increase agricultural capacity and reduce global poverty.
    • Eliminate market distorting subsidies like those on bio fuels.
    • Partner with governments on global level: progress Committee on World Food Security, on the 5 pillars of the ZHC.
    • All the UN Rome based agencies rallied around Zero Hunger Challenge as part of their input to Post-2015. The joint initiative aims to develop targets and indicators for a new global development paradigm for sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition: more information.

    Create the enabling environment for sustainable agriculture

    • Ensure governments prioritise the five key objectives of the Zero Hunger Challenge in their regional/national strategies.
    • Involving local stakeholders is the key for success. Therefore, the role of the Dutch government is to identify and analyse gaps in countries’ food systems that constrain food security together with local stakeholders.
    • In mapping local gaps there is an important role for Dutch embassies in gathering partners and providing information.
    • After identifying the gaps, local stakeholder meetings should be organised to prioritise key issues and discuss solutions. Dutch embassies in partner countries that show commitment to work on food security must facilitate and finance these studies and stakeholder meetings, which result in very concrete national and local food security programmes. Based on a realistic approach, making use of local opportunities, preferably with other donors.
    • Government’s incentive to increase investment in sustainable agriculture practices, supporting though an enabling framework and focussed commitment of financial resources and expertise.
    • Key role for governmental contribution to support local access to finance, high quality infrastructure, and access to global markets.

    Leverage the scale and size of multinationals
    To support sustainability multinationals need to adopt sustainable agricultural practices. See examples from Unilever in its contribution to Target 3.
    Unilever is dedicated to support the Zero Hunger Challenge and in particular relates to Target 3 – All food systems are sustainable and Target 4 – 100% increase in smallholder productivity and income.
    As Unilever we are embracing continued cooperation with governments, other public and private sector actors all over the world to work on sustainable food systems. Our Sustainable Living Plan – which we launched in November 2011 – still sets out how we intend to do this till 2020. The plan has three big goals:

    1. To halve the environmental impact of our products;
    2. To help one billion people take action to improve their health and well-being;
    3. To source 100% of our agricultural materials from sustainable sources;

    Ultimately there is only one agenda: growth and sustainability have to be parts of the same whole. And for big companies such as Unilever that means developing new business models which allow us to continue to grow but within the finite resources of a fragile planet.

    Unilever is committed to engage with at least 500,000 smallholder farmers. We focus on sustainable agriculture practices, productivity, training, education, the role of women, and opportunities for the next generation. In February 2014, we signed the world’s first public-private partnership with IFAD. This 5 year collaboration will build the capacity of smallholder farmers in countries such as India, China and Indonesia.

    Creating a better future for smallholders
    We will exceed expectations and are already engaged with more than 570,000 smallholders. Our expectation is that we may engage with close to 1 million smallholders by 2020, from tomato farmers in China to cocoa farmers in Ghana to black soy bean farmers in Indonesia.

    More on working with smallholder farmers.

  30. Rolf Schinkel
    SNV, External relations manager - Netherlands
    "Invest in infrastructure and invite the private sector"

    Besides food production, investments in logistics, infrastructure and adaptation of production to the requirements of the market are needed. Private sector from the South and the North is probably the only player who can make those investments and build financially sustainable solutions. Governments, donors and civil society have to create the safe and enabling environment to make investment risks for the private sector acceptable.

    At the short and medium term there is need to engage with the private sector: e.g. logistics and infrastructure for storage, trading, transport and distribution. Governments and (international) organizations have to take care of e.g. trade agreements, road and railway infrastructure, security, enforcement of regulations, borders that can be passed etc. to encourage private sector to invest. Decent logistics and infrastructure solutions like storage facilities, roads, enabling environment including rule of law will increase food availability, reduce losses, and avoid dependency of others.
    At the long term, to deal with changing environmental conditions due to climate change for example, solutions like Climate Smart Agriculture need to be developed and tested before producers can safely apply them and private sector invest in them. Solutions for availability and accessibility of enough food need close collaboration of Governments, knowledge institutes, donors and civil society and producers and private sector. They, the entrepreneurs, producers and the private sector, are the ones to make the investments and apply the solutions.

    Those who need and eat the food should be taken seriously, as consumers. Whether it’s about plantain bought on the street or ready-made lasagne from the supermarket, producers need to know and respect consumers’ requirements to optimize their produce and production, increase its value and be surer of demand, avoid waste. More and better offer, the consumer is happier and the producer has more income. This may also help to have a coherent look at food availability in urban versus rural areas.

    Finally, food prices have to be affordable to consumers, stable and reasonable in relation to the cost of production and trade at the same time. Again well-functioning logistics and infrastructure, including storage, but also financial and insurance products to pre-finance production, finance stock, and effective legislation to prevent food speculation e.g. are parts of the puzzle.

    Governments, donors, Civil society and Private sector have to join, it’s the only way to available, accessible affordable food of good quality for all. Public Private Partnerships can offer a platform; around concrete (food related) business cases, based on healthy business models. The PPPs can be subsidized or not, that depends on the development objectives of the action and the development risks that have to be taken.

  31. Peter Mbiyu
    Manager- Policy & Investment, Kenya Markets Trust
    "Financial and risk management products that will help de-risk agriculture are important"

    Access to suitable and affordable finance remains a primary challenge for many farmers; crop farmers can’t procure planting seeds at the onset of rains because of cash flow problems (NB: not because they can’t afford, but because they don’t have liquid cash at that particular moment), dairy farmers can’t inseminate their cows at the onset of heat because they have to rely on monthly payments from the cooperative or milk aggregator (who will pay late most of the times). This poses a significant challenge to many farmers and significantly reduces the returns from farming business because some of the activities have only a limited window (the onset of rains for example) and the slightest amount of delay leads to significant losses to the farmer. Accessing long-term finance required for capital investment e.g. acquiring farm machinery or a new breed of cattle with better genetics and production, is still limited to a few farmers who have collateral.

    Second, lending to the agricultural sector remains low despite effort from public, private and development actors to increase lending. Lenders perceive agriculture as a highly risky business (rightly so) and will want to minimize the portfolio of their lending in this sector. Financial and risk management products that will help de-risk agriculture are important to improve the risk profile of the sector. Crop and livestock insurance is emerging as an option but it remains very limited, there is a need to scale up these products for the farmers to benefit from economies of scale that come with that growth and ensure many more can access and afford the products.

    Different mechanisms are emerging to help address the financing challenges highlighted above; value-chain financing is one such mechanism which has demonstrated great potential. For example, in the dairy sector, milk processors are working with lenders and suppliers to ensure farmers can get the money or supplies they require for immediate needs without necessarily having to wait for monthly payments. Using emerging financial tools like mobile money, which lowers the transactions costs significantly, value-finance can be taken to significant scale and provide a much needed solution to the agriculture sector. More need to be done to convince more private sector actors to accommodate this mechanism and facilitate the flow of working capital that is required to make it happen, among other administrative and contractual issues.

  32. Emmanuel Bahati
    Coordinator of Agri-Pro FOCUS, DR Congo
    "Connect agricultural producers to safe and rewarding markets"

    The biggest challenges
    Many producers face difficulties in accessing markets because of bad roads, long distances and bad conserving infrastructures.

    • A lack of political will to take into account the complexity of food systems with food security as an outcome. How to put food security higher in the hierarchy of priorities and how to overcome the bureaucratic and organisational hurdles;
    • Limited actions of the civil society;
    • Limited actions of the private sector;
    • Lack of purchasing power;
    • Underperforming agriculture: (Soil- Infertility ; Lack of agricultural inputs-fertilizer, Good quality of seed for some speculation, pesticides, … in some rural areas);
    • Managing nutrition transition by rebuilding local food systems and the strength of links between local small-scale producers and urban consumers;
    • Long term actions should focus on agricultural models that do not use costly input;
    • Insecurity observed in some countries;
    • The marketing of agricultural products is difficult within some rural areas because deserted farm tracks are in poor condition;
    • Climate change observed

    The most effective intervention strategies
    Central governments should rehabilitate the routes and construct infrastructures such as markets and warehouses. Also banks and the IMF should grant agricultural credits and private services. The Dutch government could financially support concerned institutions and organizations.

    • Agricultural intensification through the promotion and use of fertilizers;
    • Integration of livestock in agriculture;
    • Professionalization of agricultural sector producers;
    • Providing farmers with more agricultural information;
    • Agricultural credits/loans and training to farmers;
    • Good processing and storage of agricultural products;
    • Integration of gender aspects and Youth in agriculture

  33. Prof dr Ruerd Ruben
    Head coordinator Food security & sustainable Chain programs, LEI Wageningen UR
    "The food puzzle: From pillars to a nexus approach"

    The Dutch ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economic Affairs are jointly involved in shaping Dutch policies towards food security. Given the key roles that agriculture plays in development processes, attention for food security is considered of key importance. Dutch adherence to the MDGs/SDGs implies that the zero hunger challenge is adopted as central target.

    LEI/Wageningen University and Research Centre embraces this ambition and is prepared to contribute to both the policy debate and the practice of implementing sound, effective and sustainable initiatives in the field of food and nutrition security: ‘The food puzzle: pathways to securing food for all’. For the ongoing consultation organized by the Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP), we consider that the following five issues deserve due attention in future policy formulation :

    1. Strategic Food Security Focus

    Targeting food security implies a full recognition of the importance of food and nutrition in the development process. Undernutrition and stunting are essentially caused by persistent poverty and reinforced by reproductive health deficiencies. Food security efforts therefore need to be embedded in local, domestic and international policies and programs that consider demographic dynamics (, better utilization of food, lower infant mortality, lower population growth) as well as geopolitical security challenges (better access of food, stable prices, less conflict).

    This critical nexus between food, health and conflicts is further threatened by climate change and scarce natural and fossil resources, asking for more resilience in food systems and resistance against stress and shocks. Some interventions outside the food system (e.g. infrastructure, education, R&D, water & sanitation, safety nets) might be helpful to address food security constraints. Food security policies are also part of interconnected regional and (inter)national trading regimes and company sourcing strategies that provide different and sometimes contradictory incentives.

    Understanding these system wide interlinkages enables to identify critical, consistent and coherent (3C) interventions that address vital strategic nexus in food security policies.

    2. Sustainable Food Production Incentives
    Agricultural and food production in many developing countries is severely constrained by lack of resources (land, water, energy), inadequate application of inputs and losses due to pests and diseases. Current resource and crop management practices tend to further enhance soil and water degradation and undermine biodiversity in local environments. Sustainable production systems at farm-household, village and regional level can be identified that require substantial investments in terms of capital and knowledge and need credible expectations for rewarding revenues.

    Bridging the yield gap between actual and potential production also asks for suitable incentives for smallholders, outgrowers and rural cooperatives that guarantee acceptable returns to labour. Balancing strategies for intensification, diversification or selective supply chain integration depends on the available options for reaching scale, quality and efficient resource allocation.
    Promising innovative strategies for certification, climate smart agriculture, precision farming and food fortification need to be evaluated in their farm-household and landscape context in order to identify results-based pathways for overcoming key implementation constraints.

    3.Effective Food & Nutrition Access
    Access to food and nutrition essentially depends on food prices, disposable household income levels and whether households are net buyers and net sellers of food and nutrients. Even with increasing food production, nutrition security sometimes deteriorates. Many rural households and most urban people are essentially net buyers of food. Access to food thus depends mainly on the available options for farm, off- and non-farm income generation (employment security) and diverging preferences regarding food dietary intake by (male/female) household members.

    Improving food access and reducing under/malnutrition is most effectively promoted through a mix of demand-side programs (food for work; safety nets, rural and urban employment) and supply-side activities (seed quality upgrading; enrichment of food; irrigation, ICT-based innovations) targeted at poorer households and particularly young children and pregnant women. Promising experiences are available from integrated approaches of health, education and nutrition through (un)conditional cash transfers implemented at nationwide scale in several Asian and Latin-American countries. In addition, local and regional programs focusing on price stabilization, storage and micro-savings mobilization enable households more effective access to food and nutrition.

    4. Efficient Food Chains
    Food chains provide critical linkages between – sometimes widely distant – producers, processors, retailers and consumers. Geographical distances and infrastructure deficiencies lead to high transaction costs and sometimes large price volatility in agricultural value chains. Moreover, post-harvest losses and product waste at respectively downwards and upwards stages of the chain lead to large inefficiencies.

    Whereas agrologistic solutions are readily available to reduce food losses and waste, some inefficiencies are intrinsic to perishable food trade. Processing of waste streams is promising for increasing value. Other options related to local storage (warehouse receipts) and regional hubs offer opportunities for better linkages between chain parties that may result in higher prices or improved margins. Improving the efficiency of food chains requires a dynamic multi-agency understanding of transactions from local sourcing to futures markets, and the options for creating incentives and restructuring value added distribution within public-private partnerships for integrated supply chain networks.

    5. Participatory Food Governance
    Guaranteeing food security and safeguarding food sovereignty requires equitable access to resources and secure land and water rights. Interactive knowledge systems and democratic farmers’ organizations provide critical linkages between smallholders, markets and institutions. Food and nutrition security can only be reached if all relevant stakeholders – from input provider to supermarkets – are able to exchange relevant information on best practices for guaranteeing food quality and regular supplies in order to reinforce trustful and loyal exchange relations.

    Addressing these food policy challenges ask for wide options for participation in the governance of resource distribution and management systems that recognize the civic role of producers and consumers and duly consider the externalities for the natural resource environment. Major attention needs to be given to the governance of common-pool systems (fisheries, forests, migratory herding) where intrinsic incentives are notably failing. Moreover, options for reinforcing sustainable food access and use particularly in fragile regions and (post)conflict areas through local exchange and social innovation (impact investment) deserve to be further explored.

  34. Bart de Steenhuijsen Piters
    Head of KIT Sustainable Economic Development and Gender, Netherlands
    "Focus on labour productivity when working with the poor"

    Agricultural development theory clearly distinguishes a diversity of patterns that farming households can follow towards food and nutrition security and household prosperity. But most agricultural project interventions over the past decades have focused on one particular pattern, i.e. productivity increases per hectare (intensification). Interventions based on this paradigm mainly focus on other forces than labour: new technology, more capital intensive farming, land and water availability, household economics, mechanisation and, as a consequence, cash crop production, transformation and commercialisation for commodity value chains. Projects have, at best, benefitted the upper quintal of rural households, which follow, or are supposed to follow, a distinguished pattern with a degree of (labour) specialisation.

    The lower spectrum of households has not benefitted from these investments. Both theory and practice confirm that there is not anything like a linear rural development pattern or trickledown effect that automatically includes the less endowed households. On the contrary, the above described pathway of intensification fixes the poorer households in their socio-economic position, as they don’t follow a specific specialisation pattern, or are often contracted as labour force for the better-off households. In parallel to this phenomenon, men migrate to other regions with economic activities that are more rewarding than selling seasonal labour or marginal farming.

    It is therefore unlikely that a development paradigm and intervention strategy similar to the one of the past decades will impact on the poor in the future. The fact that labour is, besides land, the most important production factor of poor, vulnerable households should, though, not be discarded. As poorer households farm under (at best) suboptimal conditions, having no access to capital, education etc., selling labour in combination with for example petty trade, will probably remain their best economic strategy for gaining revenues.

    Instead of exploring the economic potential of this stratum of households, interventions designed for them often take the nature of social safety nets. These interventions frequently disregard the economic potential of these households and ability to produce food to feed the family. A thorough understanding of the current social-economic situation of this stratum, including interrelations with other strata and economic actors, is urgently needed to identify more adequate intervention strategies. Though more evidence is required, these strategies are likely to focus on optimizing return-to-labour (as compared to return-to-land) activities in combination with nutrition-sensitive agricultural development (as compared to market-driven production).

  35. Evelijne Bruning
    Country Director the Hunger Project, The Netherlands
    "Ending hunger requires a new kind of leadership: one that awakens people to their own power"

    According to The Hunger Project, the world does not have a billion mouths to feed, it has a billion hard-working individuals whose creativity and productivity can be unleashed. The inherent nature of every person is creative, resourceful, self-reliant, responsible and productive. People’s self-reliance is suppressed by conditions such as corruption, armed conflict, racism and the subjugation of women. Ending hunger requires a new kind of leadership: not top-down, authority-based leadership, but leadership that awakens people to their own power — leadership “with” people rather than leadership “over” people. Most countries where hunger persists have failed to invest in basic infrastructure through which people can meet their own needs. This lack of physical infrastructure often reflects a lack of the social infrastructure through which people could organize to take direct action themselves or effectively negotiate with their governments.

    When communities have information (transparency, social media) and when mandatory mechanisms for social accountability are actually held (such as village assemblies), governance and public services improve. We need policies and practices that ensure every citizen is able to exercise these rights.

    Key Interventions:

    • Transforming mindsets of dependency into a spirit of self-reliance
    • Removing gender and other forms of discrimination (more on this in the what’s missing‘ part of this consultation)
    • Ensuring affordable access to financial services, such as savings and credit
    • Ensuring secure access to land and other productive assets
    • Vocational skills training
    • Ensuring fair payment for labor, goods and services
    • Forming cooperatives and other production and marketing collectives
    • Build partnerships between the people and local government
    • Sustainable structures for civil society engagement in policy formation within countries

  36. Dr Geoff Andrews
    Country Director ZOA Burundi
    "Multifactoral key issues; there are no easy answers"

    I write this from the perspective of the Great Lakes Region. Burundi has suffered a drought since April 2014, the June 2014 harvest has been reduced or entirely lost in some districts. An already hungry country will be hungrier before the end of 2014.

    The key issues to sustainably improve food security are:

    1. Soil fertility management. Huge amounts of compost or manure need to be added to the soil to restore or improve soil structure and water holding capacity. The big challenge is where to find all this organic matter, how to get it to remote farms accessible only by bike or by foot and how to spread it. Although smaller quantities are required, organic fertilisers are difficult to source and transport to small holder farmers and the evidence is building that NPK is not sufficient, other micro and oligo nutrients are required too. Where is the information for subsistence farmers about nutrient cycle management? What is taken up by the plant from the soil has to be replaced.
    2. Access to quality seed adapted to the growing environment. Many countries lack access to good seed so farmers buy seeds of unimproved varieties with low germination rate. This is linked with poor governance structures and failure of the market to provide good quality inputs
    3. Analysis of economic sustainability. There are lots of projects which demonstrate increase in yield but many are not costed and do not include the cost of additional manual labour. Cost benefit analysis must be applied. In Europe, farmers are usually educated entrepreneurs. In the Great Lakes region, they are often illiterate subsistence farmers without the ability to calculate the marginal benefit of agricultural inputs
    4. Climate change and loss of predictable seasonality. Although some think that seasons used to be predictable and certain, the history of drought, floods and famines suggest that rain fed agriculture has always presented risks. But climate seem to be increasing unpredictabiity. Can climate change mitigation be achieved at the same time as productivity increase?
    5. Population growth threatens to undermine any productivity increase and need to be tackled at the same time as improving productivity

    Among the strategies that contribute to improved food security:

    1. Infrastructure. Storage locations to reduce post harvest loss, access to markets to buy inputs and sell surplus, access to credit to invest in the coming season
    2. education of farmers especially in basic arithmetic and business planning. Inspiring them that they can produce their way out of poverty and create a better life for their families. Many have a hopes, they don’t know how to achieve them
    3. start with the farmer, value what they know already, understand how their culture will support or oppose agricultural and economic development
    4. competent governance. A functioning able government can support agricultural improvement. An incompetent, venal, selfish government can destroy the best efforts of farmers

  37. Arine Valstar
    Senior Nutritionist, ETC, The Netherlands
    "Key recommendations for Improving Nutrition through Agriculture"

    While the challenge talks about the need for “nutrition-sensitive agriculture”, ETC would like to point to the Key Recommendations for Improving Nutrition through Agriculture in order to operationalise this.

    Food systems provide for all people’s nutritional needs, while at the same time contributing to economic growth. The food and agriculture sector has the primary role in feeding people well by increasing availability, affordability, and consumption of diverse, safe, nutritious foods and diets, aligned with dietary recommendations and environmental sustainability. Applying these principles helps strengthen resilience and contributes to sustainable development.

    Agricultural programmes and investments can strengthen impact on nutrition if they:

    1. Incorporate explicit nutrition objectives and indicators into their design, and track and mitigate potential harms, while seeking synergies with economic, social and environmental objectives.
    2. Assess the context at the local level, to design appropriate activities to address the types and causes of malnutrition, including chronic or acute undernutrition, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and obesity and chronic disease. Context assessment can include potential food resources, agro-ecology, seasonality of production and income, access to productive resources such as land, market opportunities and infrastructure, gender dynamics and roles, opportunities for collaboration with other sectors or programmes, and local priorities.
    3. Target the vulnerable and improve equity through participation, access to resources, and decent employment. Vulnerable groups include smallholders, women, youth, the landless, urban dwellers, the unemployed.
    4. Collaborate and coordinate with other sectors (health, environment, social protection, labor, water and sanitation, education, energy) and programmes, through joint strategies with common goals, to address concurrently the multiple underlying causes of malnutrition.
    5. Maintain or improve the natural resource base (water, soil, air, climate, biodiversity), critical to the livelihoods and resilience of vulnerable farmers and to sustainable food and nutrition security for all. Manage water resources in particular to reduce vector-borne illness and to ensure sustainable, safe household water sources.
    6. Empower women by ensuring access to productive resources, income opportunities, extension services and information, credit, labor and time-saving technologies (including energy and water services), and supporting their voice in household and farming decisions. Equitable opportunities to earn and learn should be compatible with safe pregnancy and young child feeding.
    7. Facilitate production diversification, and increase production of nutrient-dense crops and small-scale livestock (for example, horticultural products, legumes, livestock and fish at a small scale, underutilized crops, and biofortified crops). Diversified production systems are important to vulnerable producers to enable resilience to climate and price shocks, more diverse food consumption, reduction of seasonal food and income fluctuations, and greater and more gender-equitable income generation.
    8. Improve processing, storage and preservation to retain nutritional value, shelf-life, and food safety, to reduce seasonality of food insecurity and post-harvest losses, and to make healthy foods convenient to prepare.
    9. Expand markets and market access for vulnerable groups, particularly for marketing nutritious foods or products vulnerable groups have a comparative advantage in producing. This can include innovative promotion (such as marketing based on nutrient content), value addition, access to price information, and farmer associations.
    10. Incorporate nutrition promotion and education around food and sustainable food systems that builds on existing local knowledge, attitudes and practices. Nutrition knowledge can enhance the impact of production and income in rural households, especially important for women and young children, and can increase demand for nutritious foods in the general population.

    These recommendations have been formulated following an extensive review of available guidance on agriculture programming for nutrition, conducted by FAO (see: http://www.fao.org/docrep/017/aq194e/aq194e00.htm), and through consultation with a broad range of partners (CSOs, NGOs, government staff, donors, UN agencies) in particular through the Ag2Nut Community of Practice. They are also referred to as “guiding principles” by some partners.

  38. Sidi Sanyang
    Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice)
    "Technological change has not been able to make the desirable breakthrough"

    The challenge is many but would like to focus on: (i) institutional and organizational constraints including behaviour/attitude/mindset in governance proceses (how we organize in formulating and delivering strategies and action plans for the benefit of the poor and marginalized) as well as policy formulations that are not necessarily embedded in the institutions (rules of the game, formal or informal) at the beneficiary level. Often a time, institutional change is left to ‘chance’ in programs/projects/initiatives, hoping that such will take care of itself; (ii) recognize that technological change on its own have not been able to make the desirable breakthrough we all want to accomplish in food and nutrition security; (ii) weak collaborative leaning through learning-by-doing, as well as coaching and mentoring of beneficiaries to improve the capacity to innovate based on their own context and specificity. How do we catalyze/facilitate confidence and trust among multiple actors across mutiple disciplines and scales of interest, often conflicting even if commmon prupose/objective

  39. Kahindo Suhene Marie Jeanne
    Program Officer Food Security at NGO GRADEM
    "Increase and development of agricultural production and transformation of markets"

    Increase and development of agricultural perishable production and transformation of, conservation of and access to local and international markets is needed to guarantee 100% access to food. For this the promotion of food self-sufficiency should be promoted. This alimentation implies the availability, access and willingness to consume based on good nutrition practices. All actors are intervenient in the value chain: the peasant, the public and private investors, national and international. The peasant should be placed in the centre of attention. And Agricultural products should be protected at markets, local, national, regional… Production technics and good nutrition habits, transformation possibilities of conservation and the consuming of products of fields within their reach should be taught to farmers. This will decrease the deficiencies due to the alternating periodicity of growing seasons.
    Dutch interventions should directly focus on the peasants and avoid intermediators, who often benefit more. This will lead to less costs, and direct, palpable and immediate effects.
    East DRCongo for example faces a total disproportion: Interventions of international organisations supposed for the income of farmers do in reality benefit intermediary structures, due to efficiency and effectivity ratios. Moreover besides looting and stealing of products efforts of farmers seem fruitless because of the ignorance of techniques and practices of transformation and conservation of perishable products.

  40. Jolanda Buter
    MDF Training & Consultancy
    "Strongly embedded endogenous business logic and its ancient dynamics need to be valued"

    I lived many years in the Sahara and Sub-Sahara area where since centuries cereals are transported and marketed according to continental customs and kin ship relations. These kin ship relations are inter-connected with governance ( or politicians), remaining many years in national governance positions and includes the family network residing in the neighboring nations. These networks integrates with the power dimensions of economics, justice, social networks, property of water and land, and governance.
    We recognize these integrated networks also among Asian traders; like Chinese, Indian and Lebanese and certain ancient families residing at the European continent. Similar business ratio are observable at the Asian continent or in the Latin America’s.
    This strongly embedded business logic and its ancient dynamics need to be valued, and present in positioning the Dutch international agenda in food security and increase of production. Doing so she will achieve through Deep Democracy, peace and so the Zero Hunger Target. Thus: I look forward to decision making connecting the formal and newly established European oriented rational structures with the endogenous African and Asian business dynamics not being part of structures, rules and regulations but existing since centuries. Link upstream with downstream dynamics in food security and contribute to the eradication of food as a weapon in the power game.

  41. Dave Boselie
    IDH the sustainable trade initiative
    "International economic diplomacy should be the basis for the future of international support"

    Access to adequate food combines interesting challenges of creating availability, affordability and willingness to consume on basis of good nutritional practices. Driving one single component will not do the job but instead we will need to design a balanced mix of methods that delivers the right ingredients within each context specific reality. Rather than promoting local self-sufficiencies we need to find optimal resource allocations.

    All components (intensification, diversification, nutritional awareness, etc) require a combination of public and private investments and efforts. Market forces will drive performance of local and international value chains if the right enabling (policy) environment is in place but it is self-evident that some of the public goods (such as health and nutritional awareness) come with essential education and regulation (think of proper regulation on fat-salt-sugar).

    In the past 120 years Dutch agricultural practices and policies have shown the power of combined recipees of education, research, extension, private sector development and public policies. If global agriculture would be as productive as ours the global supply of food would increase threefold. We have one of the best agricultural universities in the world operating in a food valley which we need to continue to support. We have highly competitive medium scale entreprises in the horticultural sector (seeds, planting materials, trade and processing). And last but not least we have decades of experience in developing high tech food production in peri-urban and urban contexts. Concepts like agri-parcs in the context of a globally urbanizing population are a high potential export product. Civil society organisations such as Solidaridad have been innovators in the public-private dialogue and development of inclusive business models.

    International economic diplomacy should be the basis for the future of international support. Private sector knowledge is well embedded in Economic Affairs (including Agriculture), Foreign Affairs should mobilize its networks to influence public policy making in bilateral and multilateral platforms. Instruments that have been set up to serve the dual goal of sustainable economic development (at scale) and poverty alleviation need further suppport to extend the scope of their operations into new sectors and new countries.