5 October 2013

A first analysis of the implementation of the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition confirms worries about this initiative

The note prepared by Eric Munoz for Oxfam on the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition created by the G8 at it summit last year, confirms unfortunately the worries that we had formulated in June [read (in French only)].

The Alliance, which aims at saving 50 million Africans from poverty in 10 years, was launched in a context of government budget shortages and strong criticisms on the ability of governments to fight against hunger [read]. It groups African and international private corporations and includes for example Syngenta, Yara and Monsanto. They have committed to invest around USD 3 billion mostly under private-public partnerships which are presented by some as the new panacea. 

The Oxfam note is based in part on a survey of three of the countries that were among the first to adopt the approach proposed by the Alliance: Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania. Its conclusions are very clear: for the Alliance to effectively contribute to the fight against hunger, it will have to change radically its approach which, for the time being, is characterised as follows:

  1. A weak process and low level of participation of producer and civil society organisations and a lack of clear and enforceable guidelines outlining roles and responsibilities for various stakeholders. In many cases, participation of producers and civil society organisations has been limited to post factum information

  2. Food and agricultural policy reforms asked from participating countries have often been in the area of land legislation (land demarcation and registration, governance rules for forest concessions and identification of high potential areas, all designed without sufficient care given to the protection of the interests of smallholders), seed legislation (to impose the recognition of intellectual property rights and limit the selection, reutilisation and sales of seeds by producers), fiscal and trade policy (reduction of taxes and of protection against imports)

  3. The nature of investments has mostly been in continuation or expansion of already existing activities. So far, 84 investments are at some stage of implementation. They involve 36 multinationals and 37 African companies. Ten of these investments are multiple partnerships involving several private companies. One third of the investments are concerned with the production of traditional tropical exports (coffee, cocoa, etc.), 25% with staple food commodities, 17% with agricultural inputs and equipment. The rest deals with horticulture, milk, meat and financial and information technology services

  4. The content of agreements signed does not envision the regular monitoring of the impact of investments made on poverty. They also do not envision any specific rules of governance of natural resources, notably land, which would protect rural communities. Neither do they have clear modalities for the participation of the rural population in the investments made or specifications on the nature of technologies used and their impact on the environment and human health. 

  5. There are no clear criteria for selecting the corporations that take part in the Alliance.

With such characteristics, it is quite unlikely that these investments will contribute to poverty reduction in participating countries. Rather, activities conducted by the Alliance, as described in the Oxfam note, appear to be designed for the benefit of the corporations and to the detriment of local people.

It will be interesting to hear the reaction of G8 members, if and when it comes.

To know more:

  1. Munoz, The New Alliance: A new direction needed - Reforming the G8’s public–private partnership on agriculture and food security, September 2013

  2. Global Policy Forum, Is the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutritions suitable for combating poverty? July 2013

  3. E. Sulle and R. Hall, Reframing the New Alliance Agenda: A Critical Assessment based on Insights from Tanzania, Future Agricultures, 2013


Last update:    October 2013

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