The announcement today by Prime Minister Gillard and her British and Canadian counterparts, to invest in the world’s poor small-scale farmers and fishers was good news for people who make up 80 per cent of the world’s poor, international aid agency Oxfam said today.
The initiative announced by Prime Minister Gillard – AgResults – is aimed at improving food production in developing countries.
Oxfam Australia Economic Justice Advocacy Coordinator Kelly Dent said Oxfam Australia welcomed AgResults’ focus on the world’s poor and hungry small-scale farmers. Women make up the majority of small-scale farmers.
“Small-scale farmers and fishers make up almost 80 per cent of the world’s hungry, and receive very little support, so we welcome Prime Minister Gillard’s attempt to buck the trend, and focus investment on this important group,” Ms Dent said.
In the coming years, AgResults will launch a series of pilot programs aimed at attracting private sector interest in addressing some of the biggest problems in global food security and agricultural development.
“If done well, the AgResults approach can provide incentives for the private sector to come up with innovative solutions for the world’s poor and hungry small farmers,” Ms Dent said.
“However, AgResults must maintain transparency of its pilot programs and engage with small-scale farmer representative organisations, specifically including women, to ensure incentives are targeted towards the needs of the poorest farmers, and not the needs of the private sector.”
Ms Dent said 500 million small-scale farms around the world were helping to put food on the plates of two billion people – or one in three people on earth.
“By supporting small-scale farmers with appropriate investment and sustainable techniques, we can help produce enough to feed a growing population, without pushing our climate further out of control,” Ms Dent said.
Oxfam calls upon Prime Minister Gillard to build on the announcement of AgResults at the G20 by addressing the most important drivers of the global hunger and skyrocketing food prices: increased demand for biofuels, financial speculation on commodities, and climate change.
“The G20 is the driving force behind the world’s economic decisions,” Ms Dent said. “Its agenda for strong, sustainable and balanced growth requires that it forge a comprehensive plan to tackle hunger.”
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