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Re: HLPE consultation on the V0 draft of the Report: Investing in smallholder agriculture for food and nutrition security

Delegation of the European Union to the Holy See, to the Order of Malta and to the UN Organisations in Rome ...
31.01.2013
FSN Forum

The EU Delegation is pleased to transmit below the comments from the European Commission on the draft HLPE report (V0) on Constraints to smallholder investment in agriculture.

We welcome the HLPE report on this important topic and the opportunity to comment on the zero draft. The report covers a broad range of issues including agricultural policy, resilience, social safety nets, nutrition, and food security. It is clearly an attempt at moderation and compromise, with some messages clearer than others. There are nevertheless some issues absent or which merit more prominence:

(1) The report states that agriculture is to be understood as comprising forestry, fisheries, pastoral and aquaculture production. This may not be possible for fisheries, pastoral and aquaculture: some issues are common but some others, major ones, are very different. These other sectors require a specific analysis.

(2) The report does not define "Sustainable farming" leaving the reader free to interpret its meaning. Providing a definition would enhance the understanding of the report.

(3) The report provides some very interesting figures on energy efficiency (para. 2.4) but does not then develop further on possible responses.

(4) Women smallholders are mentioned throughout the text but one could expect the report to recommend specific attention from governments and others alike.

(5) The authors have openly avoided mentioning the role of the state. Nonetheless, it may still be useful to mention explicitly the importance of having a smallholder agriculture-friendly fiscal policy including a transparent subsidy policy. Fiscal policy is linked with trade policy and the need to have a proper and coherent regional policy (as in cross border, subregional, regional integration) in general (this would also include joint water management, environmental issues) and trade facilitation issues in particular (trade in inputs, trade in crops, regional reserves, regional commodity markets)

(6) Public and private research are recommended but it may be useful to emphasise that part of the research needs to be anchored in usable applications and that there should be a conduit to link Researchers and smallholders

(7) CAADP is not mentioned and should be since it is a driver at the African level for the strengthening of smallholders. The CAADP has been translated into national strategies in many countries and in some cases the recommendations of the study are already being implemented.

(8) A missing policy element in the recommendations is stressing the importance of giving/facilitating access by SH/associations to communication and information tools and networks, market information systems

(9) In the recommendations, capacity building, leadership and ownership could be emphasised more. 

Thank you.

Kind regards,

Delegation of the European Union to the Holy See,

to the Order of Malta and to the UN Organisations in Rome