UN's global agriculture report on track: small farmers need investment and support

Published: 6th December 2012

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has just published it's The State of Food and Agriculture, 2012 report, on investment in global agriculture. The FAO says that in developing countries, farmers themselves are the largest investors in agriculture and governments and donors have a special responsibility to support them. This is our reaction:

Oxfam's GROW campaign spokesperson, Luca Chinotti said:

"The FAO is sending exactly the right message to governments and donors today. Small-holder farmers are the real "blue chip" investors in global agriculture. They need to be treated as such. They need better support to make the most of the massive investment they make every day into growing our food. This is vital to tackle poverty and ensure global food security in the face of worsening climate change.

Small-scale farmers need more financial help but crucially they better policies to help them access more credit and training and better information. They need better regulated, more stable agricultural markets. They need support to adapt to harmful climate change. They need more control over land and natural resources and more involvement in decisions that affect them. In all of this, it is fundamentally necessary to prioritise women producers. With equal access to resources, women producers could reduce the number of hungry people in the world by up to 150 million".

Notes to Editors

Leading thinkers share their views on the future of agriculture in an online debate at blogs.oxfam.org/future-of-agriculture. Contributors include José Graziano da Silva (Director-General, FAO), Shenggen Fan (Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Susan Godwin (Nigerian farmer) and Harold Poelma (Managing Director, Cargill Refined Oils Europe).

Oxfam publishes a paper today with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), looking at policies to shape agricultural investments and markets in favor of small-scale farmers. It analyzes the role of government policy in supporting sustainable development in agriculture and finds that the investment climates that support small-holder investment and corporate investment are not the same. Key levers including investment policies, land and natural resource rights, infrastructure and institutions and market co-ordination can tip in favour of either small- or large-scale farming, and in favour of or against women. Four country case studies were conducted in Guatemala, Nigeria, Tanzania and the Philippines. http://oxf.am/tippingthebalance

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