SE064 LAUNCH: Investing in smallholder and family farmers: Taking GAFSP to 2030


  • Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP)
  • Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany (BMZ)

With the goal of strengthening food and agricultural systems, GAFSP was launched in 2010 by the G20 in response to the 2008-09 food price crisis. GAFSP is dedicated to fighting hunger, malnutrition, and poverty in low-income countries by supporting resilient and sustainable agriculture systems that benefit and empower smallholder farmers, particularly women and youth. In the face of the twin challenges of climate change and worsening hunger, GAFSP's mandate is as relevant today as it was a decade ago. As a response to the present global environment, GAFSP is now entering a new operational phase. To mark this occasion, GAFSP will launch its Investment Case on the occasion of CFS 46. The launch event will highlight:

  • The urgent need for more effective and better targeted investments in agriculture as a means to strengthen food systems and end hunger by 2030 - particularly in the face of the ongoing climate crisis and with food insecurity persisting as a global challenge
  • How GAFSP effectively uses a multi-stakeholder partnership model, backed by donors, to finance and incentivize impactful actions - bringing together a relevant set of stakeholders in agriculture that work collaboratively to prioritize and deliver targeted, additional and complementary programming
  • The importance of making available diversified financing channels to smallholder and family farmers, cooperatives and producer organizations to build their resilience, and support their livelihoods, business and enterprises
  • An amplified call to action in response to SDG2 being off track, and a commitment to build an alliance of actors that will convene global leadership in June 2020 to address the pressing challenge of feeding the planet in a time of climate crisis

Panelists will discuss GAFSP's role in the overall landscape of international initiatives devoted to agriculture and food security. They will examine how GAFSP's versatile model allows countries to: customize investments; implement agriculture, food security, and nutrition policies; and meet cross-cutting national priorities, including climate preparedness and response. In addition, panelists may provide updates on how GAFSP's design and delivery respond directly to smallholder needs; and draw on linkages between GAFSP and cross-cutting themes impacting areas beyond agriculture - such as nutrition and gender. The event may also reflect on GAFSP's ongoing Special Call for Proposals in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries.

Key speakers/presenters

  • Natasha Hayward, Program Head, GAFSP;
  • Daniel Gustafson, Deputy Director-General, Programmes, FAO;
  • Marie Clarke, Vice-President for Programs, Women for Women International;
  • Younoussa Mballo, First Technical Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment, Senegal;
  • Esther Penunia, Secretary-General of the Asian Farmers' Association;
  • David Kaatrud, Director, Humanitarian and Development Programme and Policy Department, WFP;
  • Martin Hoppe, Head of Division, Food and Nutrition Security, Global Food Policy, Fisheries, BMZ;

Main themes/issues discussed 

  • Presentation of the GAFSP Investment Case:;
  • Underlined the added value of GAFSP, as an inclusive multi-stakeholder platform working in complementarity with its partners to ensure food security and nutrition, and thus help achieve the SDGs;
  • Shared BMZ's upcoming international SDG2 event planned for June 8th, 2020 in Berlin;
  • Inspired the audience to amplify BMZ's call to action and support GAFSP's replenishment, by highlighting how GAFSP reinforces their work and is part of a collective global effort.

Summary of key points

The event was moderated by Marie Clarke, Vice President for Programs, Women for Women International, a longstanding Civil Society Representative (CSO) representative to the GAFSP Steering Committee (SC).

Daniel Gustafson, Deputy Director-General, Programmes, FAO, delivered opening remarks speaking as both host to the event, and Supervising Entity (SE) partner to GAFSP, and underlined that:

  • The size of the challenge ahead requires additional efforts;
    GAFSP is an important tool for successfully achieving the SDGs by 2030;
  • The combination of additional investment together with technical assistance and capacity development is central to the program;
  • GAFSP uses the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES), an SDG2 indicator developed by FAO, for the monitoring and evaluation of its projects. 

Younoussa Mballo, Technical Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment, Senegal, talked about GAFSP's results from a recipient country perspective, underlining:

  • GAFSP’s role as an excellent catalyst for public and private investment in Senegal, aimed at implementing and achieving the country's plans for agricultural transformation, while allowing to work with different development agencies;
  • Senegal’s success in accessing all three types of GAFSP projects: Public Investment, Private Investment, MMI pilot;
  • GAFSP's flexible delivery model targets and supports the country’s priority needs and is making a difference on the ground.

Esther Penunia, Secretary-General of the Asian Farmers' Association (AFA), spoke as a CSO representative to the GAFSP Steering Committee and discussed:

  • AFA and other CSOs’ active participation in GAFSP’s decision-making process, in particular in the project preparation and monitoring phases and in the effort to engage farmers at the country level;
  • An experience related to a project in Bangladesh, which resulted in the creation of a national farmer organization platform, which is now helping members in accessing finance;
  • GAFSP’s promotion of learning processes and sharing of information: the different countries' experience is exchanged, and the knowledge of CSOs is shared, and their role enhanced in their decision-making process of GAFSP.

David Kaatrud, Director, Humanitarian and Development Program and Policy Department, WFP brought the perspective of one of GAFSP's Supervisory Entities, sharing that:

  • GAFSP has allowed WFP to work well in partnership with the other Rome-Based Agencies;
  • Nutrition is one of the most successful cross-cutting streams of GAFSP;
  • The Missing Middle Initiative (MMI) pilot is an excellent tool to leverage the capacity of smallholders to access finance;
  • GAFSP has shown an increasing interest in fragile and conflict-affected countries, which allows WFP to apply its dual mandate supporting both humanitarian efforts and development in transitional settings, in support of the SDG agenda.

Martin Hoppe, Head of Division, Food and Nutrition Security, Global Food Policy, Fisheries, BMZ, gave closing remarks as the co-host, Chair to GAFSP's Steering Committee and convener of the June 2020 moment on SDG2 and GAFSP replenishment, sharing that:

  • GAFSP is an excellent tool to push the SDG agenda;
  • GAFSP has a governance structure that actively includes farmers in the governing body, allowing them to take decisions together with donors, and target where the finance is needed the most, through a very innovative approach: a combination of concessional finance and grants;
  • On the 8th of June 2020, Germany will organize a high level SDG2 event, to kick off the global community’s recommitment to ending hunger, including through GAFSP’s replenishment;
  • This event is intended to create a sense of urgency around SDG2 to put agriculture, climate and nutrition in the top of the agenda in a manner that can then be carried forward to Nutrition for Growth in Tokyo later in the year and to the Food Systems Summit envisaged for 2021;
  • Germany indicated their clear resolve and their continued commitment to GAFSP and requested other donors to join them in their support.

Key take away messages

  • The importance of investing in smallholder farmers and supporting countries to drive their own agricultural transformation was highlighted;
  • The event underlined GAFSP's multi-stakeholder operational model, delivering flexible financing to smallholders that can contribute to increasingly building their resilience and incentivizing food system change;
  • Germany expressed their continued commitment to GAFSP and spoke as the donor driving the conversation around SDG2, that will include a global event in June 8th, 2020 addressing the reversal of SDG2 and highlighting principal instruments that can deliver results, including GAFSP;
  • All stakeholders in the space should commit to prioritising attainment of SDG2 through the key, related moments foreseen on the calendar and the opportunity to replenish an instrument like GAFSP.
CFS - Side Event - SE064 LAUNCH: Investing in smallholder and family farmers: Taking GAFSP to 2030


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