The leaders of the major United Nations organisations have urged the international financing community to invest in smallholder farms, food systems and climate-smart agri technologies to counter the crisis which has seen millions more people fall into food insecurity this year.
Investing in climate resilient agriculture and using international aid funds to build sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in developing countries, is a “win-win” way for the developed world to help end the global food crisis.
The Covid-19 pandemic, interruption in international supply chains, and the war in Ukraine have severely disrupted food, fuel, and fertiliser markets, which are interlinked, said the directors of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank Group (WBG), World Food Programme (WFP) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) in a joint media statement.
“By June 2022 the number of acute food insecure people – whose access to food in the short term has been restricted to the point that their lives and livelihoods are at risk – increased to 345 million in 82 countries according to WFP,” the statement reads.
Beyond the short term, climate change is structurally affecting agriculture productivity in many countries.
Beating the crisis sustainably
Investing in climate-resilient agriculture is one of four key areas singled out for short and long-term actions by the international community, in support of the Sustainable Development Goals. The others are:
- providing immediate support to the vulnerable,
- facilitating trade and the international supply of food, and
- boosting production.
“Supporting resilient investments in agricultural capacity and providing support to adaptation, smallholder farms, food systems, and climate-smart technologies are essential to developing a resilient climate-smart agriculture that will ensure steady production in the years to come,” the joint statement read.
The directors also urge countries to work on norms and standard-setting for food safety and on value chain infrastructure (storage facilities, cooling facilities, banking infrastructure and insurance infrastructure). This will increase access to food and reduce inequality in the long run.
Addressing country-specific needs
Previous experience has shown that it is important to support developing countries hurt by price increases and shortages to meet their urgent needs without derailing longer-term development goals, said the UN leaders.
“We call for countries to strengthen safety nets, facilitate trade, boost production, and invest in resilient agriculture. Country-specific needs should be identified and defined through a country-based process that mobilises investments from multilateral development banks to connect short-, medium- and long-term opportunities.”
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