Report Recommends Increasing Investment In Small-Scale Farms Run By Women To Achieve Hunger MDG

An ActionAid report (.pdf) released on Wednesday recommends that major aid donors increase their support of small-scale farms run by women in developing countries to maximize the chance of meeting the U.N. Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving hunger by 2015, Reuters reports.

The report notes that small farmers, most of whom are women, produce about half of the global food supply and 90 percent of the food grown in Africa. It recommended a total increase of $40 billion in aid to small-scale farmers annually (Dunmore, 4/21).

The release of the report was timed to coincide with an EU meeting in Brussels aimed at reinvigorating efforts to achieve the MDGs, VOA News reports (DeCapua, 4/21).

Just 10 percent of agricultural aid goes to women farmers, according to international donors, an ActionAid press release notes. The report outlines agricultural research focused on small farmers, extension services and rural financial services as the “most under-resourced” areas, but points out that expansion of these elements would be most helpful to women (4/21).

“Investment in agriculture, investment in land, credit and so forth are simply not available for women farmers. So, what we’re trying to insist is that it’s crucial not only that governments increase the level of spending and investment in agriculture, but that they target it towards women,” said Peter O’Driscoll, ActionAid USA’s executive director. “If you really want to address the problem of hunger, you have to invest in hungry people in helping them to grow their own food,” he said, VOA News reports. 

O’Driscoll said the report “makes pretty clear” that there are a number of ways to bolster small-scale farmers. “One is we do need to see a dramatic increase … in public investment in agriculture. And that means not only from African countries or developing countries themselves … but I think it’s clearly important for the donor community … to step up their giving,” he said, VOA News reports (4/21).

“Unless national governments and the EU substantially increase their financial commitments it will be impossible to achieve food and nutritional security,” Anne-Catherine Claude, ActionAid’s EU food rights expert, said, according to Reuters (4/21).

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