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Civil society talks food price volatility, support to farmers

Sarah Holmberg's picture



As the Bank reported earlier this week, global food prices are rising to dangerous levels and threaten tens of millions of poor people around the world. Rising prices have pushed an estimated 44 million people into poverty since last June.

Continuing the discussion on food price volatility, civil society organizations (CSOs) met this week with Bank and donor agency representatives to share their perspectives on the impact of recent price increases on poor people, as well as initiatives undertaken to address food insecurity in developing countries.

Inger Anderson, vice president for Sustainable Development, World Bank, and Ray Offenheiser, president of Oxfam/America co-chaired the roundtable, held April 14 at Bank headquarters. CSOs attending the event included InterAction, Action Aid, and the Association of African Agriculture Professionals in the Diaspora (AAAPD).

According to Offenheiser, the food crisis should be seen as a “triple crisis”—one that encompasses food, finance and climate change.  He challenged the audience to take part in finding a solution. “Volatility is the new norm…this is not acceptable. It should be a moral challenge for us all,” he said.

David Nabarro, UN Special Representative, participated via videoconference. “Heads of government struggle to acknowledge that food needs to come first,” he said. “Investing in agriculture is important.  It’s key to solving the food crisis, key to mitigating climate change, key to the vital development and wellbeing of future society.”

Peter Jeranyama, president of AAAPD/African Diaspora, emphasized the importance of empowering women and engaging youth in farming.  “Women in agriculture need a more political voice. They need to be given a political platform,” he said, noting his mother was a farmer. He also suggested strengthening university instruction in farming and providing farmers with better tools.

Supporting smallholder farmers was among the topics discussed at today’s Open Forum on the Food Crisis, which included Tom Arnold, CEO of Concern Worldwide, and David Beckmann, president, Bread for the World.

Related

Website: Food crisis

Blog post: Put Food First--Interaction

 

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