As I explained last week, I am representing the Rural Sociology Group in a case study summer programme organized by Can Tho University's Mekong Delta Development Research Institute. [caption id="attachment_1734" align="alignleft" width="300"]Meeting with district representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Meeting with district representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development[/caption] On Friday, August 7th, the Case Study group visited two areas in the Soc Trang province of Vietnam. The first stop was a visit to a district office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Here, students and staff were able to ask officials questions related to their selected research topics and interests. One policy initiative we learnt about was a plan to increase the number of dairy cows in rural areas as a poverty reduction strategy. This programme stems from the national Agricultural Restructuring Plan where key crops and animals were identified, dairy cows being one of them. [caption id="attachment_1735" align="alignright" width="300"]Pigs for bio gas and food Pigs for bio gas and food[/caption] From there we moved to My Xuyen district where food production is centred on upland crops. We visited two farms here. The first had cows and pigs and were producing bio gas. In this family, the husband undertook farm labour and the wife worked a government job.
In July 2008, G8[1] Leaders meeting in Hokkaido Toyako, Japan issued a Leaders Statement on Global Food Security.[2] In the statement, G8 leaders stated their ongoing commitment to pursue all possible measures to ensure global food security, noting that since January 2008, they had committed over $10 USD billion to support food measures to increase agricultural outputs in affected countries.  The Statement emphasized the urgency of short-term needs (e.g., access of small-holder farmers to fertilizers), a commitment to increase food aid and investment and recognised the coordinating role of the UN through their support for the High Level Task Force on the Global Food Crisis (HLTF).  They also encouraged countries with surplus to released food stocks and called for the removal of export restrictions (G8 2008). At the L’Aquila Summit, the following year, the G8 issues a stronger declaration highlighting the need to increase agricultural production. Twenty-six nations and fourteen international organizations launched the “L’Aquila” Food Security Initiative.  The Declaration was reinforced through the “L’Aquila” Joint Statement on Global Food Security[3] and a commitment to raise $22 billion over three years for agricultural investment and agreement on a comprehensive and coordinated approach, partnering with countries facing dramatic food insecurity to jointly implement national food security strategies. The approach is articulated around five principles:
  1. Investment in country-led plans and processes;
  2. A comprehensive approach to food security that includes support for humanitarian assistance, sustainable agriculture development and nutrition;
  3. Strategic coordination of assistance;
  4. A strong role for multilateral institutions; and,
  5. Sustained commitment of financial resources.
The L'Aquila Food Security Initaitive, chaired by the USA,  has been meeting quite regularly and just had their first meeting of 2012. A video of US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton's statement and the transcripts can be viewed here
"As the United States looks forward to our tenure as Chair of AFSI in 2012, our primary goal is to ensure not only that donor countries are living up to our own financial pledges, but also that these contributions are being allocated strategically and making a real difference in the fight against global hunger. To do this, we will expand reporting on our investments at the country level, deepen our engagement with developing country partners, track our spending on research for agricultural development, and measure the impact of our investments."
Want to know more about the AFSI? Keep on reading!