Let us be honest. Food and nutrition issues get little policy attention from decision-makers. The lack of action is not due to a lack of knowledge by the latter. Other gaps are at the root - gaps that denote a deliberate choice of not attending to food and nutrition matters. It is ultimately power relations that affect policy choices. Policy processes can only be fully understood if analyzed politically. Consciousness raising and social mobilization are indispensable to influence policy processes. Research organizations have hardly engaged in this consciousness raising; most of them are rather conservative; they think that if decision-makers have more and better knowledge they will indeed take urgently needed decisions. But decision makers never go against their own interests. What is missing is to focus on what to do about the need for structural changes that address the basic causes of preventable hunger and malnutrition by organizing pressure from below; thus the importance of empowering claim holders.
I think that from economic growth to food security it is important to apply a new concept: eco-bio-economy. Eco-bio-economy can be considered an attempt for a new shared vision of eco-economic and bio-economic development, which brings together integrated disciplines: economy, ecology, biodiversity, eco-economy and the bio-economy and focuses on developing smart integrated sustainable world. In all these areas, eco-bio-economy ideas allow valuable contribution of social economy, the economic welfare of solidarity, social responsibility and corporate governance, as applied to future elements that could be used practically integrated in a multipolar world for a healthy and environmentally enhancing and promoting intelligent, creative and innovative, sustainable economic development. The high-level political decision and modern diplomatic instruments are expected catalyst and need an equation eco-bio-political and global economic success. According ecobioeconomice paradigm, a sustainable economy respects the "offer" of ecosystems is dependent upon all its resources, such as fisheries, forest resources, pastures and hayfields, arable land, etc.. As long as demand does not exceed sustainable yields can be sustained accepted limits of natural systems.
Savings based on wrong signals received from the markets on demand, will lead to irrational decisions increase the supply of products (mainly agricultural) decisions are "recipe" best for the destruction of natural systems. Under these conditions the modern economy should be based on fundamental rules of natural and artificial ecosystems (anthropogenic or anthropogenic).
All the best,
Dr. Ipate Iudith
Dear moderator and fellow contributors, your comments has been very interesting and insightful thus far on the present discussion. We would like to make our contributions to 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?
As you all know food security is a major issue in our world today which has brought about an increase in demands for agricultural products. As a result, the Caribbean has brought about the initiative to grow more food in Guyana so as to satisfy these expanded markets for traditional and non-traditional agricultural products. Hence the Grow More Food Campagin was launched so as to meet these requirements. Below are two of the projects under this initiative:
1)The Ministry of Agriculture implemented the Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Development Project (READ) in 2009 of which it is still ongoing. This project contains an agricultural diversification strategy for both traditional products (rice and sugar) and nontraditional products (fruits, vegetables, spices) intended for the poor rural households. These products represent an opportunity for growth in Guyana and as such it promotes Guyana export capacity. READ falls under the ‘Grow More Food Campaign’ seeks at increasing the provision of food in Guyana. The small farmers(both men and women) gained by the improved technologies in production, improved rural income, availability of support and assistance to resource the small farmers, and the development of linkages between rural producers and distributors (wholesalers and retailers). The benefits that the small farmers acquire led to a greater yield and as such an improved quality of the produce of their fruits and vegetables. The Rural Enterprise and Agricultural Development project focuses on training the farmers in areas of rural enterprise (business ventures for farmers) and market development. The training and techniques famers gained will strengthen the human and social capital in the rural areas which will increase the self reliance when addressing challenges they may faced.
2)Also in 2009, The Ministry of Agriculture initiated the Rice and Beans Project for the Hinterland communities. This project support rural development through increasing the cultivation of rice and beans (such as black eye beans) in Moco Moco. At the first harvest, more than 2000 bags of rice paddy and 4200 pounds of beans were produced. Accessibility to affordable food was provided and the development of dietary supplements in the Amerindian communities increases the nutritional intake of the residents. The expansion of these two food groups gives a direct attainment of food security since these areas are relatively food insecure. The Rice and Beans project is feasible and as such it was expanded to other Amerindian communities to become food secure. By utilizing the savannah lands and dealing with legumes, a bond was constructed for storing equipments, machines and chemicals. Human capital in the Hinterland communities was acquired through the support of The National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) by training the Amerindians modern agriculture methods. Significantly, the Rice and Beans project secured employment opportunities for the people.
On the important subject of food security and nutrition I have to say that we as development professionals, funders, governments, etc. have miserably failed jointly in providing adequate quantities of food to the poorest sections. While there are huge disparities with regard to food production and availability of food, there remain grave concerns on the point of ensuring nutrition security among communities. Childhood malnutrition and food defficiency among the poorest (often land insecure) communities remain major problems even as we approach the MDG target of 2015.
On the issue of food security and better nutrition I have two points to make...
i) Governments worldwide, including in India have not really done enough on these points and many a times they have left the job half done. Though numerous agriculture development measures and public distribution system and other food distribution programmes are operational in India they have suffered from huge leakages and programme innovation, thus failing in meeting the desired objectives. For the past couple of years there has been discussion regarding the promulgation of a Food Security Bill which promises a lot but falls short of explaining how it will achive the stated objectives in the current scenario.
ii) While most of the programme interventions have pointed towards addressing malnutrition and nutrition security through "external supplementation" there has been little effort for promotion of home based food production through kitchen garden or nutrition garden. I strongly believe that large scale and long term nutrition garden programmes designed for the poorest could be beneficial in achieving better household nutrition security. I have seen with minimal monetary inputs but with close facilitation poor families having even small plots of land have been able to grow a variety of vegetables, greens, tubers and fruit trees to feed to the family food basket. There is a need of proper packaging of the existent government programmes such as the seed mini kit, backyard plantation programmes and such an intervention can be implemented in a wide scale.
Neverthless it still intruiges me why Governments fail to take up programmes that would directly benefit the poorest in the most simple and easy manner...
We begin our contribution to this discussion by addressing the first question posed:
1. 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?
It has been recognized that developing countries have shared experiences that regurgitate the importance of social protection and better food security governance towards the advancement of local food security and improved nutrition. It is only fair for one to remain cognizant that any mechanism implemented towards social protection will not yield immediate results, but rather reap long term benefits.
One project implemented under the Food & Nutrition Security Strategy of Guyana & facilitated by the Government of Guyana in collaboration with the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (S.A.I.C.D.) & the Guyana Rice Development Board (G.R.D.B), was the Hinterland Rice & Beans Project in Administrative Region 9-Upper Takutu/Upper Essequibo, where the Region is home to about 400 people. This programme was established with the provision of 150 acres for rice cultivation & 15.5 acres for beans cultivation in Moco Moco. In September 2010, approximately 82 acres & 11 acres of rice & beans were harvested respectively, which is equivalent to approximately 25 bags of paddy per acre & 900 pounds per acre of beans. Through the implementation of the project, indigenous communities were observed to become more self-sustaining; to generate employment within the communities instead of searching for jobs elsewhere (the city) and to improve the overall livelihoods of residents, thereby contributing to food security in the village & by extension the economy.
Additionally, Guyana undertook the “Grow More Food” campaign which aimed at increasing the level of food production in Guyana by implementing a market led approach. This is a 5 step plan that includes the Agricultural Export Diversification Programme, the Rural Enterprise & Agricultural Development Programme, & increased investment in drainage & irrigation & by extension the maintenance of rehabilitated structures. More so, the establishment of the Guyana Livestock Development Authority along with improved extension services in 2008 benefited rural farmers, agro-investors & exporters through an increase in food production & a more productive means of livelihood. In addition to the increase in export, all of the above contributed to Guyana accomplishing the UN Millennium Development Goal of eradicating hunger.
Thank you for reading.
In improving a countries food security and nutrition status one must recognize the inherent linkage they have with social protection and food governance. Below are just two occurrences in which the former led to improvements in food security and nutrition:
‘Guyana’s achievement of Food security has resulted from programmes established …. to ensure that the nation is producing enough food to feed every single household’ (Guyana’s Government Information Agency: GINA).The Ministry of Agriculture in Guyana has been spearheading the food, nutrition and security initiative which has seen the implementation of several major projects that directly address issues pertaining to food security within the context of the ‘Grow More Food Campaign’ (which was implemented to ensure that Guyanese had adequate food available for themselves and excess to export to Caribbean countries as well as other outside territories). The Agricultural Export Diversification Programme (ADP aims to increase Guyana’s export growth rate and reduce its volatility), the Agricultural Support Services Programme (ASSP aims to increase rural incomes by increasing the efficiency of agricultural production), the Rural Enterprise Development Project and the Rice and Beans Project for Hinterland Communities (this project directly targets the attainment of food security within the Amerindian Communities since these communities are the most vulnerable in this respect) are some of the major programmes. These programmes are encompassed in Guyana’s National Food and Nutrition Security Strategy (2010-2020).
Rapid economic growth has been the main vehicle by which most Asian countries have reduced poverty and enhanced food security (World Bank, 1993). Governments can do many things to improve food security at the household and individual level and most countries in Asia have programs to do so. Rural education accessible to females and the poor, family planning and child-care clinics in rural areas, nutrition education, and extension specialists helping to improve home gardens are just a few of the possibilities (Block et al. 2004). Some Asian countries were successful at improving food security among their citizens by basing their strategies on two important elements which they have some degrees of control over. These two strategies are the sectoral composition of income growth (which focused on growth that reached the poor i.e. “pro poor growth) and food prices (where government’s stabilized food prices particularly rice prices since it is the main staple food). The stabilization of food prices ensured that short term fluctuations and shocks did not make the poor even more vulnerable to inadequate food intake (Timmer 1991, 1996).
Reference: Food Security and Economic Growth: an Asian perspective
We are in total agreement with Mr. Tim Willams. Equitable and strong economic growth of a country is based in part on growth of the agricultural and rural economy of low-income communities and goes a long way in enhancing access to food and improving nutrition of the very poor. However, some of the changes made possible through economic growth take time to bear fruit and the neediest population groups often cannot take immediate advantage of the opportunities it generates. Therefore, reducing hunger requires specific attention to both small- and large-scale interventions. Hence, the Peanut CRSP Initiatives undertaken by the Society for Sustainable Operational Strategies (SSOS) and the MOE in region 9, in Guyana is advantageous.
The success of the Expansion of the Ministry of Education’s School Snack Program in the Rupununi Region (Target Region) has been impressive, this conclusion was made based on the 2010 annual report (most recent) of the School Feeding Programme. In detail, “ Between the period of January 29, 2010- December 2010 numerous strides had been made; by the end of December 2010 the program had surpassed its target, reaching 41 villages (the target was 33), Total snacks served reached 311,345, 23 SSMCs (School Snack Management Committees) received startup loans to purchase basic raw materials and pay salaries for the first two months; of these, 16 repaid their loans fully before the end of the year, Over 40 women were given full time jobs managing their respective programs, New markets for peanuts, cassava and fruits earned farmers over $8 million, and Over $22 million was injected into 41 communities, creating a multiplier effect and making a significant impact on the quality of village life.” Executive Officer, SSOS
I am giving the link and also trailing a doc just published, as it addresses most of subjects being covered by this consultation process and will also be very useful to each one of us in case you do not have access to it.
The fact is that the world produces twice the amount of food we need (most in post harvest and or storage losses) but still about half the population does not have access to nutritious food resulting in hunger and malnutrition as they do not have the money to buy. This paper does have a number of answers.
Study: Sustainable Farming Proven to Increase Yield at Zero Cost
Increasing Cropping System Diversity Balances Productivity, Profitability and Environmental Health
I`m working in Brazil for a long time ago, since 1977, with the rural credit. Recently, We`ve some importants sucess to reduce the poverty. Now, we`need advance on forms to garante polices and actions sustentable. I think weed we need to do more for the the better goverance, social participation and monitoration and avalation on publics policies.
This is a very interesting topic yet again which you have started. SOFI is very right again to note that the figures of those living in food insecurity areas are very high. But allow me to add that even when food may be available and in abundancy in many areas but can not be accessed in other many areas again.
In my humble contribution, I still feel our governments can actually play a very vital role in making sure that our people are food secure in both rural and ubarn areas. First and foremost, it is actually true that some of the best policies which can be employed by our leaders are the pro-poor growth policies. With their emphasis and target at the most vulnerable, most poor and most disadvantages, these policies can help uplift these souls from the jaws of poverty and subsequently food secure them. Unfortunately, most of our governments maybe have not seen the significance of these policies.
Secondly in my country Zambia, talking about food security is sometimes very annoying and embrassing. Zambia is one country in southern Africa which harvests most grains but again one which losses the most grains because of lack of planning by those intrusted to secure our grains. Most of the grain (maize- staple food) which has been secured using so much public funds will soon go to worst because of lack of planning from those intrusted to make sure all this maize is safe. It is very sad to note that our leaders talk on many platforms (proudly) how much grains the country has harvested and how much the government has bought from the farmers from last season. A few days later they are on the same platform inspecting huge wastage biles and biles of the same grain. Meanwhile so many of our people are going without food in many parts of the country. How can a country be food secure like this? With the onset of the rain season, it will be an every day news to see wastage maize after the government has spend so much public funds to secure all the staple food gains which were grown last season.
We are still using tents to cover and safe guard the maize and other grains bought by public funds all which can help provide food for our people. A hungry country is a dangerous country. It is here where we really need to take serious stoke of all the grains we have ande safe guard it jelously. This can only be done with better planning and commitment by our leaders at the same time implementing policies which look at the poor person and uplift him from the trap of poverty otherwise I am afraid, we will continue to be counted and add on the numbers of those who are food insecure in the world.
Zambia Catholic University