The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Roeland Scholtalbers, CIDSE (Brussels,
with contacts at the G8 Summit in L'Aquila available for interviews):
+ 32
477 06 83 84,
Anne Laure Constantin, IATP (Geneva):
+41 79 764 86 58,    

G8 Commitment on Hunger Must Support Smallholder Farmers and Sustainable Practices


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

CIDSE, an international
alliance of Catholic development agencies, and U.S.-based Institute
for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) welcome the proposed increase
in the share of development funding devoted to agriculture. "We call
on the G8 to break away from past practice by shelving agriculture policies
that reward short-term private profits over essential public priorities
like food security, jobs and proper management of scarce natural resources,"
said IATP's Alexandra Spieldoch.

CIDSE and IATP welcome
the focus on smallholder farmers and vulnerable groups by G8 governments,
as well as their interest in exploring the feasibility of establishing
a system of food reserves. We also call for coordinated action to discipline
speculation on food prices.

"One billion people
suffering from hunger should be enough to trigger serious action. G8
countries need to coordinate their support to developing countries to
achieve food security. Agricultural policies designed in close collaboration
with representative farmers organizations are needed to balance economic
profitability and socio-ecological justice," said Bernd Nilles, CIDSE
Secretary General.

In a recent paper,
Global food responsibility
, CIDSE and IATP identify the role of
major G8 members in creating the food crisis, and make the following
recommendations for reforms:

  • Global responses to the
    food crisis need to be inclusive, reinforce the U.N.'s role, and create
    binding commitments to end hunger;
  • The right to food should
    guide policy-making around agriculture, food, and rural development;
  • Support should reinforce
    agriculture's role in ecological and social sustainability, land and
    water access for small scale producers and women farmers, as well as
    greater use of local seed varieties;
  • Emphasis should be put on
    the development of infrastructure for local and regional markets. Investment
    is needed to overcome bottlenecks in agricultural value chains related
    to processing, transport, storage, and marketing;
  • Develop rules to address
    price volatility, including food reserves and tougher regulation on


Read the report:
Global Food Responsibility
- The European Union and the United States Must Chart a New Path
, a CIDSE-IATP policy paper, May 2009

The G8 Summit in l'Aquila
comes on the heels of the announcement by the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) that one sixth of humanity is undernourished in 2009,
and that food prices have started rising again since January.

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy works locally and globally at the intersection of policy and practice to ensure fair and sustainable food, farm and trade systems.