Press Release

Support small scale farmers and end hunger in Africa – IFPRI and Red Cross

May 15, 2012
United States

A report prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) suggests that addressing domestic policy is one of the best ways to tackle food insecurity. In particular, the organizations said that changing policy to better support small scale farmers could be one of the most effective contributions to ending hunger in Africa.

“There is a growing belief that Africa has the ability to feed itself and to end hunger,” said Goli Ameri, IFRC Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Diplomacy. “I, too, believe this can be achieved, but some concrete steps must be taken now to get there: Better access to finance and insurance, for example, especially for women who make up the majority of small scale food producers, along with improved trade policies at national, regional and continental levels and sustained investment in irrigation agriculture.”

In the report, titled Reducing the risk of food and nutrition insecurity among vulnerable populations, IFPRI and IFRC call for 1) aid organizations to globally earmark a percentage of aid money and donations for resilience-building efforts and programming; 2) improved coordination of data and early warning systems amongst humanitarian actors; and 3) scaling up safety nets and improving coordination between global donors and local actors.

IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan commented at the launch of the report that although relief initiatives and emergency appeals attract more donor attention, building resilience is key to reducing the impact and severity of shocks and ensuring that the long-term prospects of vulnerable communities are not compromised.

“Despite some progress over the past two decades, almost 1 billion people worldwide are undernourished,” he said. “Vulnerable populations are particularly susceptible to chronic food insecurity because they lack the ability to ‘bounce back’ from drought or conflicts. Building the resilience of these communities in the longer term is essential to eliminating chronic food insecurity.”

The issue of food insecurity is gaining momentum globally, with the Mexican Chair of the G20 including the improvement of food security and commodity price volatility among its top five priority areas. The Mexican Mission in Geneva said today that the joint study by IFPRI and IFRC contains “concrete recommendations that could contribute to the G20 process.”

Contact Information: 

For more information or to set up an interview with Goli Ameri or Shenggen Fan, contact:

Susan Chippendale: IFRC Head of Communications, Geneva: +41 799592536

Jessica Sallabank: IFRC Senior Media Officer, Geneva: +41 799481148

Sarah Immenschuh: IFPRI Media Relations, Washington, DC: +1 (202) 862-5679