Support small scale farmers and end hunger in Africa - IFPRI and Red Cross

Published: 15 May 2012

A report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) suggests that addressing domestic policy is one of the best ways to address food insecurity. The organizations went further to say that changing policy to better support small scale farmers could be one of the most effective contributions to ending hunger in Africa.

“There is a growing belief that Africa has the ability to feed itself and to end hunger, I too believe this can be achieved, but some concrete steps must be taken now to get there” said Goli Ameri, IFRC Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Diplomacy. “Better access to finance and insurance for example - especially for women who make up the majority of small scale food producers, improved trade policies at national, regional and continental levels and sustained investment in irrigation agriculture”.

In the report, titled Reducing the risk of food and nutrition insecurity among vulnerable populations IFPRI and IFRC call for aid organizations to agree globally to earmark a per cent age of aid money and donations for resilience-building efforts and programming; improved coordination of data and early warning systems amongst humanitarian actors; scaling up safety nets and improving coordination between global donors and local actors.

IFPRI Director General Dr Shenggen Fan commented at the launch of the report that although relief initiatives and emergency appeals attract more donor attention, building resilience is key to reducing the impact and severity of shocks and ensuring the long term prospects of the community are not compromised.

“Despite some progress over the past two decades, almost one billion people world wide are undernourished. Vulnerable populations are particularly susceptible to chronic food insecurity because they lack the ability to ‘bounce back’ from a drought or from conflict” said Dr Fan. “Building the resilience of these vulnerable communities in the longer term is essential to moving away permanently from chronic food insecurity”.

The issue of food insecurity is gaining momentum globally, with the Mexican Chair of the G20 including among its five priorities during its leadership the improvement of food security and commodity price volatility. The Mexican Mission in Geneva today said that the joint study by IFPRI and IFRC contains ‘concrete recommendations that could contribute to the G20 process’.

For more information or to set up an interview with Goli Ameri or Dr Shenggen Fan contact:

Susan Chippendale: IFRC Head of Communications, Geneva: +41 799592536
Jessica Sallabank:  IFRC Senior Media Officer, Geneva:  +41 799481148