The problem that shows this issue is the problem of "pro-poor economic growth". Indeed, when social inequalities are important in the distribution of income, economic growth does not systematically lead to the reduction of poverty indices and in turn to the improvement of the populations’ nutritional status. To induce economic growth that ensures at the same time poverty reduction, a pro-poor economic growth, it is necessary to direct investments towards basic infrastructures, the economic sector where there are more poor people in the country and to promote the private sector which is the real wealth creator in almost all countries.
Infrastructures to build concern rural feeder roads, water supply, street lighting, health centers, and, in the best case, the creation of insurance systems for the farmers’ health protection. The reason is that rural poverty is reinforced by among others the chronic diseases which destroy the farmers’ economical status.
Economic sector to be focused on
In underdeveloped countries such as Benin Republic (West Africa), the agricultural sector should be preferred for the investments we are talking about. In the agricultural sector, emphasis should be placed on seasonal fruits that abound and often roots and tubers which generally have a much higher added value than cereals. In addition, it would be easier and more appropriate to increase domestic consumption of these food products, which will lead to economic growth while improving the nutritional status of the populations.
Support to private sector
It is necessary to promote the measures of governance that facilitate business, say the measures that improve the index of "Doing business", regularly calculated by the World Bank. At this level, appropriate measures must be taken to combat corruption which confines the poor in a vicious circle. It is also necessary to ensure an impartial efficient and fast procedure justice.
Dr Emile N. Houngbo
Agroéconomiste & Spécialiste du Développement Durable,
Université d'Abomey-Calavi (UAC),
Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Sciences et Techniques Agronomiques de Kétou (ENSTA-Kétou),
Chef du Département d'Economie et de Sociologie Rurales
Le problème que pose ce sujet est le problème de « croissance économique pro-pauvres ». En effet, quand les inégalités sociales sont importantes dans la répartition des revenus, la croissance économique ne conduit pas systématiquement à la réduction des indices de pauvreté et par ricochet à l’amélioration de l’état nutritionnel des populations. Pour induire une croissance économique qui assure en même temps la réduction de la pauvreté, soit une croissance économique pro-pauvres, il faut orienter les investissements vers les infrastructures de base, les secteurs où il y a plus de pauvres dans le pays considéré et la promotion du secteur privé qui est le véritable créateur de richesses presque dans tous les pays.
Infrastructures de base
Les infrastructures à construire concernent les pistes de desserte rurale, l’adduction d’eau potable, l’éclairage public, les centres de santé et, dans le meilleur des cas, la création de systèmes d’assurance pour la prise en charge sanitaire des producteurs agricoles. Car, la pauvreté rurale est entre autres renforcée par le poids insupportable que représentent les maladies chroniques qui fragilisent économiquement les producteurs.
Secteur économique à privilégier
Dans les pays sous-développés comme le Bénin (Afrique de l’Ouest), le secteur agricole doit être privilégié pour ces investissements. Dans le secteur agricole, un accent particulier doit être mis sur les fruits de saison qui pullulent souvent et les racines et tubercules qui ont généralement une valeur ajoutée largement plus élevée que celle des céréales. De plus, il serait plus aisé et plus indiqué d’intensifier la consommation intérieure de ces produits vivriers ; ce qui induira la croissance économique tout en améliorant l’état nutritionnel des populations.
Appui au secteur privé
Il s’agit de prendre des mesures de gouvernance qui facilite les affaires ; soit des mesures qui améliorent l’indice de « Doing business » que calcule régulièrement la Banque mondiale. A ce niveau, les mesures idoines doivent être prises pour combattre la corruption qui confine les pauvres dans un cercle vicieux. Il s’agit aussi d’assuer une justice impartiale, efficace et rapide.
Dr Emile N. Houngbo
Agroéconomiste & Spécialiste du Développement Durable,
Université d'Abomey-Calavi (UAC),
Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Sciences et Techniques Agronomiques de Kétou (ENSTA-Kétou),
Chef du Département d'Economie et de Sociologie Rurales
Greetings all (again),
Our contributions to the final question:
“How can we mobilize the political will necessary to put policies for hunger reduction and improved nutrition higher on the list of political priorities?”
From the question indicated above it’s understood that the politicians have not placed hunger reduction and improved nutrition on their “higher” list of political priorities. Given this scenario and assuming the politicians are aware of both issues being a major concern for the nation then it’s shocking to know they’ve not chosen for it to be of higher importance. So as citizens of the country in which such an injustice occur, the only options we have are:
1) Publicize our concerns for these issues at an international level because only then will mobilization of the political will necessary to put these policies at a higher level occur. And this is so because no politician wants bad publicity especially at the global level.
2) Citizens of the country can also form a strong group among themselves to personally deal with recruiting people to join their quest for the change in the political priorities of those in charge. The residents of the nation can have peaceful protests displaying their discomforts with the current issues that are addressed as opposed to what they feel should be addressed (especially if it’s a Democratic Country).
3) From inception the citizens should’ve looked more closely at the politicians’ campaign to get a better understanding as to what these political parties feel the need to prioritize so as to make a better or the best choice on elections day.
The bitter truth is that Mobilizing political will towards hunger reduction and improved nutrition is often difficult unless the politicians themselves also gain from the policies. In developing countries, power struggles are present in light of corruption and self interest. Developed nations, also present with high poverty rates, hunger and malnourished population need to give attention to the critical problems.
Political parties capturing votes from the hungry and malnourished citizens by implementing the policies to deal with these issues will benefit both parties (politicians and the citizens). In developing nations, the poor and hungry accounts for huge sum of the population. Implementing the policies or programmes and investing in hunger reduction and improved nutrition (and at same time insuring food security) for the mass groups affected by both issues will be recuperated by voting increase and support of the political parties fulfilling the nation’s needs.
Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil contested elections 3 times before being elected in 2002 for his fourth time contesting. He went after the working poor, low income, hunger stricken and under nourished citizens through his campaigning, building his support and manifesting policies investing in social protection and hunger alleviation. In his early years of office in 2003 to 2005, indications were already there to show his policies for hunger reduction. Eradication programmes such as Fome Zero (Zero Hunger) and Bolsa Familia which were the centre piece of his time in office. Fome Zero brought a series of policies together to ending hunger in Brazil. Fome Zero venture highly into agricultural production in family agriculture and distribution of food to the hungry. Former President was re elected in 2006 mainly from these policies.
In mobilizing the political will necessary to put policies for hunger reduction and improved nutrition higher on the list of political priorities, a solution of voting benefits to the political parties who promote these policies and benefits to the hungry and malnourished will be realized.
However, a lot of advocacy has gone down the drain without any significant change. So the overall solution may very well be to empower and better educate the nation on why better nutrition and hunger reduction is essential to them and ways and means how they can improve same. Also, we feel that the KEY here is that people need to vote for betterment and pay more emphasis on what they want and which political party can give them that (of course in keeping with what will be beneficial for the nation as a whole).
Below are our contributions for Question Two:
“Can you tell us about policies that led to better nutritional status as a result of investment into agriculture?”
We all know that policies can either depress or improve economies, to begin with it must be highlighted that in Guyana, Agriculture accounts for 32% of GDP AND 37% of export earnings. Additionally, Guyana is the only CARICOM country that enjoys food security. In our approach to this question we have incorporated a few policies implemented in Guyana that has led to better nutritional status as a result of investment into agriculture.
The FAO predicts that agricultural production will have to increase by 70% by 2050 to feed a population of some 9 billion people. And climate models predict a much more uncertain climate in the next several decades. Extreme weather patterns can also become more severe which may lead to the consequences of more volatile food production and food prices. As a result our Region cannot afford to be complacent and has to be more proactive than reactive.
1) As of recent CARICOM has endorsed the Jagdeo Initiative led out of Guyana, which was created to respond to the stabilization of Caribbean food prices and ensuring easy accessibility to sufficient nutrition for the region. And by extension to promote the expansion of the community’s agricultural sector as well as ensure its sustainability. For example, in Guyana the “Grow More Food” campaign has gained prevalence and the Agricultural Ministry has developed a 10 year Food and Nutrition Security that will address availability, affordability, nutrition and stability. This campaign is still ongoing and the Ministry Of Agriculture is encouraging all households to have a kitchen garden in their backyards.
The Ministry has also implemented several other projects aimed at the diversification and modernization of agriculture so as to reduce the sectors’ dependency on traditional crops while enabling the sector to gain global competitiveness.
i. The Agricultural Export Diversification programme (US$21.9M) - this programme was also launched in 2009 and aims to increase Guyana’s export growth rate and reduce volatility. The programme comprises four main components: promotion of private sector entrepreneurship in agribusiness; improving agribusiness export and facilitation services; strengthening agricultural health and food safety services; and rehabilitation of drainage and irrigation systems.
ii. The Agricultural Support Services Programme (US$22M) – aims to increase rural incomes by increasing the efficiency of the agricultural production.
iii. Rural Enterprise Development Project (READ) - is a six year project started in 2009. Some objectives include; to strengthen linkages between rural producers and service providers involved in the production and diversification efforts; and to integrate improved technologies in the production and marketing supply chain for agricultural and non-agricultural based enterprises. (US$6M)
iv. Rice and Beans Project for Hinterland Communities (US0.65M) – the objectives of this programme are to increase rice and beans production in the Hinterland Communities of Guyana. Since the Amerindian Communities have a high incidence of food insecurity, the project directly targets food security in the area. To date 82 acres of land has been planted with rice and beans and a bond has been constructed for storing equipment, machines and chemicals. A further 75 acres of land is expected to be cultivated by the end of 2010.
2) In 2009 the CARICOM Heads of Government signed the Liliendaal Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security which was in recognition for the vital multi functional role agriculture plays for regional development. Regional action in agriculture is the priority of the Declaration with focus placed on CARICOM Agriculture Policy and Regional Strategic Plan. It focuses particularly on Food and Nutrition Security in the context of the 2007/2008 food crisis which highlighted the urgent need to maximize Regional agricultural production to meet food security and nutrition needs, it also addresses poverty alleviation, income and employment generation and ultimately the Region’s need to ensure that Agriculture is seen as the “real” wealth generator.
These are just some Policies/programmes that led to better nutritional status as a result of investment into agriculture and are still ongoing in Guyana.
We Thank You.
Greetings from Guyana!
Below are our contributions with specific emphasis on Question One:
“Can you share specific experiences in which social protection and better food security governance have led to advances in local food security and improved nutrition?”
Since the beginning of time, human beings actions have been influenced by their need to have food. Thus, food security has always been a concern for everyone, it is a national responsibility. Even though everyone would’ve probably mentioned this already, the real question is “What is food security?” “[Food security] is … access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life. Its essential elements are the availability of food and the ability to acquire it. Food insecurity, in turn, is the lack of access to enough food.” (World Bank 1986).
Given the fact that food security is a concern for all people, food insecurity is prevalent in poor lesser developed countries (LDCs), because of their inability to generate enough income to purchase food it gets worse when they’re unable to grow their economies and simply produce their own foods. We all know that the one condition that can solve the problem of food insecurity for any nation is that of “economic growth” as was mentioned in the forum. Developing and developed economies have in fact proven this to be true, as their gross domestic product steadily increase their undernourished populace decreases.
Social Protection and better food security governance can indeed lead to advancement in local food security and improved nutrition. When countries faced with food insecurity issues, can significantly improve their levels of social protection (which can even be in the form of policies implemented to protect local farmers in their economies from outside competition and foreign based products). They can prevent their economies from being dominated by foreigners and taking away pools of resources to their foreign land and even to the point of exploiting labourers in the relatively poor countries. With this capital outflow it means that citizens’ earnings are not being properly invested or used in their own countries thereby not contributing to the growth of the economy which is essential for betterment in poorer nations.
For example, right here in Guyana we see a wide variety of well packaged plantain and banana chips made in Costa Rica, of which our Guyanese people are going fanatical for but the ironic thing is that Guyanese grow both bananas and plantains of which we do not desire, and the more amusing thing is that the chips taste no different from the ones we can buy here at home (Guyana). These are the simple things that create huge economic problems for small or poor countries and Governments need to put better measures in place to deal with these issues. Why import something that your country produces?
However, there are some advantageous methods implemented by the Government of Guyana such as; local agricultural farmers are given certain packaged seeds to encourage them to plant or grow more food which is good, since it adds to the third dimension of food security which is availability of more food for all. Additionally, with the known natural disaster of floods in Guyana a lot of farmers do not feel encouraged to farm anymore, but what the Government is doing is that during these times there is guaranteed help for farmers such as compensation for any loss.
The Government also took it up a notch, where through the Ministry of Agriculture there is a hotline service offered to farmers whereby they can call and indicate whatever problems they may be encountering. The Ministry of Agriculture would then try to see how they can deal with whatever issues were highlighted. This act by the government has led to better food security in Guyana. Moreover, there is a Programme on National Communications Network (NCN), which allows the entire Guyana with more specific emphasis to farmers, where they can be updated on the activities as it relates to farming. The programme often has experts who educate farmers on better farming practices and pest control methods. Here we clearly see a pro active or preventative approach by the Government to deal with future farming practice or pest control issues and other general farming problems.
This is all for now.
How can we mobilize the political will necessary to put policies for hunger reduction and improved nutrition higher on the list of political priorities?
Hunger reduction and better nourishment are not high on the agenda of policy makers. The problem is not one of knowledge about nutrition and hunger, policy are well aware of the importance but they fail to take into consideration what impact better nutrition and freedom from hunger has on higher priority objectives . These include high priority objectives such as poverty reduction, literacy improvement and health improvement.
policies makers often believe that if these objectives are achieve, problem such as hunger reduction and better nourishment well correct themselves , for example with the improve income individuals will have better nourishment and cure hunger. What most policy maker s fails to take into consideration is the implications variables such as hunger and nutrition have on achieving high priority objectives such as literacy improvement.
For example policy makers would design policies to improve school accessibility to children, but fail to take into consideration what can impact attendance and performance in school. These factors are usually seeing as exogenous factors in the eyes of policy maker and can be self-corrected if these larger objectives are achieved. In Guyana students, especially at the primary level usually eat breakfast on their way to school. This is not one of high nutritional content usually a cheap aerated drink and biscuit. Some even attend school without breakfast and just a small pocket change for lunch which is similar to the breakfast mention above. Most families cannot afford a more nutritious breakfast, which tend to have great impact on student’s attention span, problem solving abilities and forgetfulness, which greatly hinder academic performance. This would affect academic attainment which also has great implications for poverty reduction, since education is the key to escape poverty for and be self-sustainable not only for Guyanese but most people living in poverty around the world.
Therefore we would recommend a more join policy approach where policy makers design polies and are encourage to incorporated variables such as nutrition and hunger. This could be done by sharing success stories and research findings of programmes that have work jointly on achieving a major objective. For example the school snack programme implemented by ministry of education in Guyana “Mention by final economic student group one”. There is also the school uniform programme which was also implemented by the ministry of education. These too programmes implemented together would have a greater impact on improving literacy in Guyana which is one of the major objectives of the government. The school uniform programme has improve poor families ability to send their children to school while the school snack programme aid in better nutriment and reduce hunger which helps to solve some of the problems mention above that is associated with hunger and academic performance. This is just one example of how policies makers can be encourage placing hunger reduction and better nourishment higher on the list of objectives.
2. Can you tell us about policies that led to better nutritional status as a result of investment into agriculture?
Policies aimed at improving nutritional status through investment in agriculture are vital for development.
The comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) under the AU/NEPAD initiative is aimed at, among other things, reducing food and nutrition insecurity through agriculturally led development. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has developed the regional agricultural policy (ECOWAP) which outlines the principles and objectives allocated to the agriculture sector as well as guides interventions in agricultural development within the region. A joint ECOWAP/CAADP action plan was developed for the period 2005-2010 by ECOWAS and the NEPAD Secretariat for such development. The ECOWAP/CAADP agenda is an important part of national efforts to provide solid investment programmes at both a national and regional level towards improving the lives of the people.
With respect to Ghana, the CAADP focused on improving existing policies and strategic plans. The goal of reducing food insecurity and poverty called for a coordinated approach for effective development in the agriculture sector.
The Government of Ghana (GoG) compact sets parameters for long term partnership within the agriculture sector, specifies main commitments of both government and partners, and clarifies expectations regarding the agribusiness and farming communities as well as sector policy, budgetary and investment commitments. The compact outlines the intentions of the GoG with regards to the agriculture sector with its ultimate purpose being to increase effectiveness of planning and execution of government efforts, increasing effectiveness of delivery of external assistance in the agriculture sector with both limited transaction costs and coordinated donor support, and providing a solid framework by which assistance can be increases to help meet the short and long term investment needs of the sector. The overall goal is to achieve economic growth as well as development towards ensuring food and nutrition security for the whole population.
Bonjour à tous
voici quelques éléments de Réponse à ces questions
• Les projets Telefood ont contribué à l' amélioration de l'état nutritionnel des bénéficiaires. Ces projets concernent la production agricole, l'élevage, la pêche, l'apiculture.
• Pour mobiliser la volonté politique. Il faut organiser les tables rondes avec tous les acteurs et plaider pour que la sécurité alimentaire soit inscrite comme priorité dans les plans de développement de chaque pays. Chaque Etat doit accentuer les actions pour la sécurité alimentaire à travers l'organisation des foires agricoles, des fêtes de moisson en plus de la Journée Mondiale de l'Alimentation qui se tient tous les ans.
Adèle Irénée GREMBOMBO
Consultante en Nutrition
I share one concept that can help to develop food security of Bangladesh.
"Utilization of functional space for food production and nutrition improvement in Bangladesh.
As high population density in Bangladesh leads her major priority for food and nutrition crisis to mitigate. For few years it obtains self-sufficient in food. Due to natural calamities like flood, heavy rain, drought, saline intrusion which forecasting the loss of food and cash crops that disturbs the continuing progress of the entire economy. Bangladesh is based on agrarian economy. Agriculture is the single largest producing sector of economy since It comprises about 30% of the country's GDP and employing around 60% of the total labor force. Agriculture related with the major macroeconomic objectives like employment generation, poverty alleviation, human resources development and food security. The holdings of agriculture in Bangladesh are generally small. The use of modern machinery is gradually gaining popularity. Rice, Jute, Sugarcane, Potato, Pulses, Wheat, Tea and Tobacco are the principal crops. The crop sub-sector dominates the agriculture sector contributing about 72% of total production. Fisheries, livestock and forestry sub-sectors are 10.33%, 10.11% and 7.33% respectively. The government of Bangladesh play role in some objectives, such as increase in grain production, etc.
Bangladesh has several organizations (governmental, non-governmental) and these are holds many unutilized place or ornamental place. Where Bangladesh carry a strong weakness of food and nutrition crisis, the use of these places for only beautification (very few of them cultivate) is not hopeful for our nation and can not contribute to minimize the crisis. Why there are no initiatives from these organizations (any types) to contribute in food production? Why do all these organizations not become a part of to ensure country`s food security ? or a tinny part to support mankind?........"
Can you share specific experiences in which social protection and better food security governance have led to advances in local food security and improved nutrition?
Social protection and improved food security governance is crucial to the survival, development and empowerment of the poor in the developing world. Guyana is no exception even with its huge endowment of natural resources and the potential to be a leading exporter of agricultural products in the Caribbean.
The Government of Guyana and donor agencies over the years have become increasingly involved in social protection policies and improved food security for vulnerable groups in society. The recently initiated Rice and Beans project in the hinterland village of Moco-Moco are testament to the move by the government and donor agencies to improve the overall economic and social conditions in these communities. It is argued that prevalence of poverty is higher in hinterland regions, projects such as the Rice and Bean project contribute towards improved incomes for persons within these communities. In addition to increased incomes the village population has access the wider variety of foods in addition to their traditional staple diet which leads to improved nutrition.
The Government of Guyana has also encouraged cooperatives in the quest for greater food security and the United Nations essentially embraced the idea of cooperatives with this year’s World Food Day theme “Coops- the key to food security.” Cooperatives in developing countries can play a pivotal role in ensuring food security and social protection by income generating projects especially through agricultural projects. In Guyana, approximately fifty percent of sugar cane is grown by cooperatives and the private sector. Sugar is one of the largest foreign exchange earners in Guyana hence cooperatives ability to contribute and earn income for their members and increases the overall welfare of the country.
The Mangrove Reserve Women Producers is another example of cooperatives enhancing social protection and food security. This group comprise mostly of women living along communities on the coast of Guyana often they referred to as “country women.” These women have low levels of education or none at all and have little chances of employment in the formal sectors and a culture of male dependence dominates amongst them. Since this group was organized these women were able to produce a variety of products using local knowledge such as cassava bread, coconut biscuits, local drinks, pepper sauces and dried fruits and meats. They have also engaged in small scale farming and gardening in a variety of crops. It is clearly evident that through organization into cooperatives they were able to produce products for market locally and the potentially for international markets and at the same growing their own food.
Can you tell us about policies that led to better nutritional status as a result of investment into agriculture?
INVESTMENT PROMOTION POLICY
Guyana’s investment policy regime includes a wide range of instruments to stimulate
and attract new investments into the agricultural sector.
1. Tax holidays on pioneering activities
2. Accelerated depreciation
3. Export allowances for non-traditional export outside CARICOM
4. Exemptions on plant, equipment and machinery
5. Exemption of import duty and consumption tax on fish and seafood processing equipment, refrigerated vehicles, packaging material and other inputs for seafood processing
6. Unlimited loss carryover from previous periods
Since 2001, GO-INVEST, the Government of Guyana Investment Agency established in 1994, has been responsible for investment, trade and export promotion activities of the economy. The New Guyana Marketing Corporation (NGMC) is a trade-facilitating institution to support and promote the exports of non-traditional commodities. The NGMC has been mandated to expand the market for local agricultural produce locally, regionally and internationally Agribusiness and marketing entrepreneurs interested in commodity export activities from Guyana are provided with advisory support and information services from GO-INVEST. With regard to export promotion, GO-INVEST provides exporters with trade information, assists in export promotion and advises Government on policy formulation and strategies to stimulate export performance. Investment profiles are also developed to guide investment opportunities. Duty-free imports and tax holidays are also available to investors on the basis of certain defined criteria. Together, GO-INVEST and NGMC are expected to be in the forefront of the new development paradigm to support the sector’s competitiveness. Further, these institutions are expected to undertake the lead role in export trade facilitation and market intelligence as well as monitoring the effectiveness of promotional instruments in support of the sector’s competitiveness.
Dear Juan Carlos García y Cebolla and Mauricio Rosales and other members:
As a brand new member, I feel it a great honor to be permitted to join the FSN Forum recently. In response to the emails from Juan Carlos García y Cebolla and Mauricio Rosales, I tried to answer the question: “How can political will be mobilized to truly take action for hunger reduction and improved nutrition?” by quickly catching up with the progress of the Coherent Food Security Responses: Incorporating Right to Food into Global and Regional Food Security Initiatives.
In addition to the three traditional separations of powers (the National People’s Congress/Parliament, Executive and Justice), the National Congress of the Communist Party of China ( the overall mid to long term strategies and orientation) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (China's top advisory body) all participate in the design of national strategies and priorities. This structure facilitates wide reflection of issues, in particular food insecurity at national and sub-national levels and mobilization of the political will of the top leaders to truly take action for hunger reduction and improved nutrition. Furthermore, many government agencies have opened official blogs to announce new draft polices for discussion and collect emerging issues from the general public.
Guarantee of national food security has been integrated into the national strategy by the Seventeenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China. The ongoing Eighteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) calls for continuity of the progress toward the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects set at the Sixteenth Congress, and continuing to work hard to ensure its attainment by 2020. In this Congress, it is the first time to set the target of doubling per capita GDP as well as per capita disposable income in 2020 in comparison of that in 2010, which will benefits the poor and help better guarantee of national food security in China
The FAO has given the Agricola Medals to two Chinese statesmen: the first time was to the former President Jiang Zemin; the second time is to the current Premier Wen Jiabao. These medals are strong incentives for mobilizing the political will of the top Chinese leaders as well as the top leaders in other countries to integrate food security more closely into new national strategies and plans.
The findings of emerging issues, solutions on food insecurity in the world through the efforts by the FSN Forum will also make contributions to mobilizing the political will of the top national leaders in the world to truly take action for hunger reduction and improved nutrition.
This is the first time for me to send my personal views. I used my penname to facilitate discussion.
Victoria Zi from China
The FSN Forum is supported by the project Coherent food security responses: incorporating right to food into global and regional food security initiatives.