An opinion piece by Mark Tran in the Guardian‘s Poverty Matters Blog yesterday (12 Sep 2011) argues that the G20 faces obstacles in its efforts to spread good farming practices, and that a lack of coherence among agricultural research bodies is a major obstacle.
‘Spreading good ideas and practices in farming sounds like a simple enough goal, but can be immensely complicated not just on a global level but also locally.
‘[T]he G20 meeting in Montpellier, France, on agricultural research and development, which begins on Monday, . . . underlines the importance that G20 countries are putting on agriculture, especially in the developing world. G20 agriculture ministers held their first summit in Paris in June, where they agreed an action plan to deal with volatility in food prices. . . .
‘The G20 group, consisting of the world’s leading economies—including China and South Africa—is a powerhouse of both agricultural innovation and production, with around 70% of scientific publications on agriculture and around 60% of agricultural exports. The G20 also leads in areas such as information and communication technologies, which can change the way agricultural knowledge is made available.
‘But with an alphabet soup of organisations involved in agricultural research at national and international level, developing a coherent approach, setting out priorities and fulfilling objectives is problematic. Montpellier has four specific objectives: increased co-operation and co-ordination of research policies and programmes on food security; effective and innovative research partnerships for development and better impact of research from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research; stronger capacities in agriculture technologies for poor countries and synergies between G20 agricultural research systems; and greater involvement of the G20 agricultural research systems in the second global conference on agricultural research for development (Gcard) in Uruguay in 2012. . . .
Montpellier will feed into the G20 joint finance/development meeting in September in Washington and the G20 summit in Cannes in November. Success can only be measured in tangible effects on the ground. In their discussions on food security and self-reliance, ministers should be asking themselves what impact they will have on a woman farmer in Kenya with a few acres, who is struggling to grow crops on semi-arid soil to feed her family and generate income for school revenues. . . .’
Read the whole piece by Mark Tran at the Guardian‘s Poverty Matters Blog: G20 faces obstacles in its efforts to spread good farming practices, 12 Sep 2011.