NGOs say initiative to improve food security in Africa through agribusiness has failed in Senegal; call for more support to peasants farmers esp. women

Author: Cadre de Concertation et de Coopération des Ruraux(CNCR) & others, in, Published on: 19 June 2018

"Letter addressed to the Government of Senegal, G7 members state, and the African Union"

The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN) was launched by the G8 in 2012 in response to the food price crisis that took place in 2010-2011 and severe drought affecting the Horn of Africa and local populations...ivil society and farmer movements in Senegal welcome the G7 commitments made in 2012 to support agriculture in Africa, but condemn NAFSN both for its approach and design, and how it was implemented. We call on G7 countries, African governments, and the African Union to support smallholder farmers and agroecology, as a more effective way to improve food security and nutrition in a sustainable manner, as recognized by the 2018 FAO Forum on Agroecology...

NAFSN was launched under the premise that food security and nutrition would be improved thanks to an increase in private sector investment. The experience in Senegal however demonstrates that NAFSN did not adequately target and recruit businesses to partner with NAFSN due to a rushed process imposed by G7 members...Lack of communication around NAFSN’s goals, the lack of information and preparation of NAFSN partners to act on their commitments, and the absence of any binding mechanism or framework, led to a lack of engagement by partners, civil society and farmers’ organizations. NAFSN essentially perceives smallholder farmers as potential beneficiaries of jobs and services provided by agribusiness rather than seeing smallholder farmers as economic actors in their own right. Moreover, the jobs created by agribusinesses are often fewer than expected, of poor quality, often precarious and seasonal, and without any social or medical care provisions...

We call on the G7 to recognize that:

• Food security in Africa is met by smallholder farmers and food producers and that these need to be supported by public policies to ensure a secured access to land, water and farmer-saved
• Small-scale farms are generally as productive and as efficient as larger agro-industrial farms, while providing more employment, of better quality, and producing food in a more sustainable manner;
• Women are the cornerstone of sustainable agriculture, and are pioneers of strategies that ensure food security.

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