During the 2009 G8 Summit in L’Aquila, world leaders stepped up their fight against hunger and poverty by committing USD 22 billion over three years for sustainable agriculture development and food security. One by-product of that G8 Summit was the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), a financial pass-through mechanism set up in 2010 to channel part of those pledges made. This June, the Governments of Cambodia, Liberia, Nepal and Tajikistan got a boost in their efforts to reduce the number of people living in hunger and poverty when they were awarded GAFSP grants totalling USD 160 milion. These countries join the ranks of Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Haiti, Mongolia, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Togo, which received funding in 2010 worth USD 321 million. “The ultimate objective of the GAFSP is to fill a gap between a country’s investment needs and their current access to funding,” said Garry Smith, principal advisor with the FAO Investment Centre. “The GAFSP can’t fill the whole gap, but it can fill critical parts, and it can lead to a dialogue with donors that hopefully will generate additional funds.”
To date, USD 925 million (equivalent) has been pledged to the GAFSP by Australia, Canada, the Gates Foundation, Ireland, South Korea, Spain and the United States. Efforts are also under way to bring in new members.
The FAO Investment Centre has worked closely with many countries, including a number of the grantees, to develop country investment plans and subsequent applications for GAFSP funding. “The GAFSP is leading to a more open and comprehensive process than perhaps other funding programmes require,” said Mr. Smith. “And it’s just been a catalyst to countries to think more about their long-term investment needs, which is great.”
Garry Smith tells us more about the Investment Centre and the GAFSP program: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vkAG_MYHu0 .