More than 500 million family farms manage the majority of the world's agricultural land and produce most of the world's food. We need family farms to ensure global food security, to care for and protect the natural environment and to end poverty, undernourishment and malnutrition. Goals can be thoroughly achieved if public policies support family farms to become more productive and sustainable; in other words policies must support family farms to innovate within a system that recognizes their diversity and the complexity of the challenges faced.
The State of Food and Agriculture 2014: Innovation in family farming analyses family farms and the role of innovation in ensuring global food security, poverty reduction and environmental sustainability. It argues that family farms must be supported to innovate in ways that promote sustainable intensification of production and improvements in rural livelihoods.
Synthesis Report capturing the main findings of the Studies carried out for the CFS.
On 7 August 2014 Russia announced a ban on food imports from Western countries which, in an earlier move, had imposed sanctions on Russian business interests in connection with the crisis in eastern Ukraine. The prohibition was effective immediately, and will stay in place for one year, blocking all imports of affected products from the European Union, United States, Canada, Australia and Norway. The list published by the Russian government covers bovine meat, pig meat, processed meats, poultry, fish and other seafood, milk and milk products, vegetables, fruits and nuts1. The import ban came in the wake of other import restrictions imposed by Russia on agricultural and food products earlier this year. In January 2014, Russia banned all pork imports from the EU on the grounds of recorded cases of African swine fever in wild boars in border areas of Poland and Lithuania. Other prohibitions included a ban on dairy exports from the Netherlands, quoting sanitary reasons, and on exports of meat from Ukraine, referring to an inadequate level of monitoring of meat quality standards. At the end of July 2014 bans on milk and milk products from Ukraine and fruit from Moldova were introduced, all on SPS grounds. On 1 August 2014 fruits and vegetables from Poland had already been blocked from entering the Russian market on the basis of unacceptable levels of pesticide residues and nitrates.
Although the latest bans add to a long list of import restrictions already in place, the scope of the bans, involving a large range of products from the main exporters to the Russian market raised concerns that supplies of key commodities to the Russian market would be further constrained, with negative implications for Russian consumers across all income levels, at least in the short run. This note examines the importance of the affected imports for consumption in Russia and discusses factors which will influence the dynamics of supply and demand response to the ban
Monitoring commitment and capacity to act on food insecurity and malnutrition: the Food Security Commitment and Capacity Profile methodology
There is a global consensus that strong political commitment by Governments and development partners is key to the elimination of hunger and malnutrition. It is against this background that FAO has developed a methodology to assess and track efforts of national stakeholders to act on food insecurity and malnutrition: the Food Security Commitment and Capacity Profile (FSCCP) ( http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3998e.pdf ).
The methodology provides a tool that helps stakeholders to:
1. Carry out a systematic assessment of political commitment and capacity of countries to act on food insecurity and malnutrition;
2. Engage in evidence-based policy dialogue, planning and prioritization of investments in food security and nutrition; and
3. Monitor performance over time;
The methodology has been applied since 2013 in the context of FAO’s corporate Results Framework (http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/030/mk234ea1.pdf) for planning and monitoring progress of efforts to reduce hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.
The food security commitment and capacity country profile is designed as a balanced score card which provides a concise view of countries’ commitments and institutional capacities in terms of four key dimensions of the enabling environment, namely:
i. Policies, programmes and legal frameworks: i.e. the country has comprehensive policies/ strategies and investment programmes (based on evidence, addressing underlying causes of food insecurity and adopting a twin-track approach) that are supported by a legal framework;
ii. Human and financial resources: i.e. policies/strategies, programmes and legislation that are translated into effective action through the allocation of the necessary financial and human resources and solid administrative capacity of governments;
iii. Governance, coordination mechanisms and partnerships: i.e. the government regards food security and nutrition as an interdisciplinary priority by setting up a high level inter-ministerial unit responsible for the design, implementation and coordination of food security and nutrition responses, while ensuring accountability through its support to independent human rights institutions that provide people with means to file violations of the right to food. Furthermore, a government that takes on a lead role in managing partnerships and coordinated action across a broad range of actors and sectors involved in food security and nutrition at national/decentralized levels, creating space for civil society participation;
iv. Evidenced-based decision-making: i.e. decision-making on food security and nutrition that draws on evidence generated from functional information systems that make it possible to monitor trends; track and map actions; and assess impact in a manner that is timely and comprehensive, allowing for lessons learned to be fed back into the policy process.
For each of these four dimensions, the methodology paper outlines:
1. A set of core indicators and associated qualifiers;
2. The approach to producing a score for each of the qualifiers and indicators;
3. Details on the sources of the required data and information.
4. A survey instrument and secondary data collection tools.
Apart from helping FAO to measure the outcome of its work on food security and nutrition, it is expected that the country profiles will also stimulate debate on how to improve the enabling environment for food security and nutrition and promote more systematic learning and sharing of experiences.
It would be interesting to hear from the experiences of other agencies and sectors that are monitoring political commitment.