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Global Launch of The Montpellier Panel Report
18 October 2010

Acknowledgements: FANRPAN acknowledges Glasshouse Partnership as the source of this article


Access the Montpellier Panel Report

On the 26th of October, Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, CEO of FANRPAN, participated as a panellist at the global launch of the Montpellier Panel Report, which makes recommendations for strengthening partnerships between Africa and Europe.

The report, entitled Africa and Europe: Partnerships for Agricultural Development, is a collaborative project that brings together development experts from both continents to address the critical role that Europe can play in boosting agricultural development in Africa.

The report suggests that while Brazil, China and India are scaling up their investments and partnerships in various sectors across Africa, and while Africa is taking the lead in boosting its own agricultural development, Europe risks being left behind.

Key recommendations given in the report are for a coordinated approach from Europe that helps sustain the momentum that Africa has built up, a sustained effort to reduce food price volatility, and interventions that deliver the environmental, social and technological solutions to address the problems of chronic hunger.

Dr Sibanda has had an article featured on the Guardian's Poverty Matters website, co-authored with Sir Gordon Conway, Professor of International Development at Imperial College, London, who contributed to and chaired the Montpellier Panel Report. The article looks at how increasing Europe's funding of African-led national and regional initiatives can help home-grown remedies, such as CAADP, AGRA and FARA, fulfil their potential.

BBC World Service interviewed Dr Sibanda on what investments are needed and how they should be implemented, which was aired on the Focus on Africa channel.

At the launch, Dr Sibanda was also interviewed by Dow Jones. The published Dow Jones article examines more closely how Europe can ensure its own food supplies, through investing in Africa.


Media Coverage of Montpellier Panel Report for 28 October 2010

  1. Financial Times' "This is Africa":
    Time right for Europe to consolidate African agriculture investment
  2. ONE Blog:
    What We're Reading
=================================
1. Financial Times' "This is Africa"
=================================


http://web.thisisafricaonline.com/2010/10/28/time-right-for-europe-to-consolidate-african-agriculture-investment/

Time right for Europe to consolidate African agriculture investment
28 October 2010
by Eleanor Whitehead


The emergence of increasingly defined national and regional African strategies and programmes are providing important opportunities for European agricultural investment, a report produced by the Montpellier Panel has said.

The European Union is now responsible for over 60 percent of the world's official development assistance, including about $800m a year to agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa. However, strong rhetoric for large scale funding is often countered by an uncoordinated approach which means that new investments are not channelled to promising projects, and end up scattered inefficiently, the report said.

"We are the largest agricultural trade partner that Africa has, but the question is whether we could do more, make more investments and have a greater impact," says Sir Gordon Conway, chair of the panel.

A unique context generated by renewed interest in agricultural investment following the 2009 L'Aquila summit; America's commitment to food security through the Feed the Future programme; and the progress of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme, under which 22 African countries have pledged to commit 10% of their national budgets to agriculture, means that the time is right to galvanise European public and private sector agricultural investment, Mr Conway says.

Europe should not be left lagging developing economies such as China, the report suggests, which have been investing across African agri-business and land. "If Europe is seen to be investing in agriculture, it will benefit from agricultural development," Mr Conway says. "We need the trade…That's what Brazil and China and India perceive, and that's what we need to be perceiving too."

Improved African national and regional strategies – including the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research, which is currently under reform and requires increased funding – offer a timely opportunity for partnership and investment. A series of global institutions, such as the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme – a new World Bank donor trust fund – also require an integrated European approach in order improve efficiency, Mr Conway believes.

"There are lots of potential partnerships, but I think the really interesting partnerships are going to be between governments; between European governments, and between Europe and the United States," Mr Conway says. "I'd love to see a partnership between the UK and the US in terms of agricultural development, with Feed the Future.

"The issue, of course is that DFID doesn't do project work in the way that Americans do, but that doesn't mean to say you have to do project work; you can do other things that match in with what the Americans do, and that's what I'd like to see." On the ground, partnerships with African universities to ensure adequate staffing are also an opportunity, he believes.

A growing African food sector can also generate private sector returns on the back of government support. The problem of scaling up small- to mid- scale projects can be tackled by public-private-partnerships, he says, citing examples of range of private seed companies created by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, which need capital investment to establish themselves, as well as agro-dealers who require both government and private sector support to establish themselves.

"We need an approach that's not just focused on the immediate perils of food security but also on the great and proven potential of African agriculture," he says. "We can continue to parachute in with sacks of grain, but it's much better to focus on making sure that seeds and fertilisers are present in the hands of the agro-dealers in the villages."

Europe should also ensure that partnerships generate a safety net to reduce the chances of another food crisis. Since Russia initiated a wheat export ban in August following forest fires and a dramatic fall in production, rising grain prices have had a knock-on effect, driving other food prices higher. Given that price increases have been generated as much by perceived shortage as actual shortfalls, Mr Conway is advocating investment in the creation of regional African reserves as a measure to mute volatility and food insecurity.

"Although there are all these [international] grain reserves...there's plenty of wheat in the world, at the same time there were all these stories appearing saying, actually we should be worried," he explains. "That triggers what's going on. And I think if countries have far more physical reserves that people can see and are there, then the reaction will be dampened."

Establishing a grain reserve for the World Food Programme could also help prevent shortfalls. "At the time of the Niger crisis this year, they just ran out of food and grain and money," he says. "If the World Food Programme had a small physical grain reserve, or maybe several physical grain reserves, it could draw on them in those kinds of emergencies." The measure is being researched by the International Food Policy Research Institute.

=================================
2. ONE Blog
=================================


http://www.one.org/blog/2010/10/27/what-were-reading-the-latest-on-the-aids-gel/

What We're Reading

A focus on food reserves: The creation of strategic grain reserves could help boost growth in food deficit nations in Africa, according to nonprofit, the Montpellier Panel, which urged key donors to shift their current strategies on aid provision. Lack of specific intervention measures on bolstering food reserves continues to expose millions to suffering despite huge fortunes pledged in aid each year, said the Panel.


Media Coverage of Montpellier Panel Report for 26 - 27 October 2010

  1. Guardian Online (UK):
    Op-ed: Poverty Matters Blog: Europe should increase aid to improve agriculture in Africa
  2. Reuters (UK):
    African agriculture coming of age-report
  3. Nature Online (UK):
    Where are promised EU funds for food security?
  4. BBC World Service:
    report
  5. BBC Focus on Africa:
    report
  6. Voice of America:
    New Drive for European Investment in African Agriculture
  7. Xinhua News Agency (China):
    Europe urged to increase agriculture aid to Africa
  8. Dow Jones:
    Africa Will Be Key To EU Food Security-Expert Panel
  9. EurActive.com:
    African agriculture 'coming of age'
  10. Agência Estado (Brazil):
    Esta UE precisa da África para garantir oferta de alimentos, dizem europeus
  11. Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report:
    Report Notes Potential For African Agriculture, European Partnerships
  12. Agencia EFE (Spain):
    Las ayudas prometidas por Europa a África no han llegado a materializarse
  13. Business Daily (Kenya):
    Group seeks increased aid for Africa agriculture
  14. CNBC Africa:
    Agricultural development between Africa and Europe
  15. News from Africa: Africa:
    EU Investments in African Agriculture Critical to Global Security and Stability
  16. Africa Science News Service:
    Europe asked to Accelerate Agriculture Aid to Africa
  17. Business Daily (Kenya):
    Group seeks increased aid for Africa agriculture
  18. Additional online pick-up
=================================
1. Guardian Online (UK)
=================================


http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2010/oct/26/europe-increase-africa-agriculture-aid

Europe should increase aid to improve agriculture in Africa
Tuesday 26 October 2010 12.30 BST
Sir Gordon Conway and Lindiwe Majele Sibanda


A new EU-Africa partnership report recommends making agriculture a priority to fight malnutrition, hunger and poverty affecting millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa

Here's a quick quiz to test your knowledge of farming and food production in sub-Saharan Africa. Which scenario best reflects the state of farming in Africa today?
  • convoys of food trucks besieged by starving masses in Niger
  • millions of smallholder farmers struggling to subsist without access to the tools and technologies they need
  • fields in Uganda plump with orange fleshed sweet potatoes rich in vitamin A growing so fast farmers can cultivate two plantings a year
  • solar powered weather stations in northern Kenya that automatically send insurance payments to farmers over mobile phones when they detect evidence of a drought
The correct answer is all of the above. Each of these situations in their own way reflects the contemporary reality in Africa. In many areas, food production remains incredibly fragile, and the result is visual and heart-wrenching in the malnutrition of millions of children. In other areas, dramatic progress is the overriding feature of the day.

These situations taken together show that African agriculture represents a huge opportunity for wealthy governments in Europe, who last year joined partners in North America at the L'Aquila G8 summit in pledging $22.5bn to fight hunger around the world. After a generation of neglect of agriculture development, they agreed to do this chiefly through agricultural development and, given the overwhelming need, largely in sub-Saharan Africa.

We recently served on a panel of agriculture development experts from Europe and Africa with decades of experience in this area. All of us are eager to see Europe take more decisive and coordinated action to boost agriculture production in Africa. We emerged from our discussions concerned that a dangerous gap is opening up between the big promise of assistance we heard last year and a new flow of investments targeting specific challenges on the ground in Africa.

We understand the difficulty in crafting a coherent, regional approach to boosting food production, particularly when the needs vary so dramatically.

But Europe can move forward quickly and effectively with a large increase in agriculture development assistance for Africa. European leaders also need to recognise that further delay is risky for Africa - and Europe. Europe risks ceding influence to emerging global powerhouses like China and Brazil, which are rapidly ramping up agriculture investments in the region.

A key problem today in sub-Saharan Africa is that deficiencies in agriculture are directly tied to long-entrenched high rates of malnutrition, especially among mothers, children, and infants. The statistics are staggering: 200 million Africans are chronically malnourished; 5 million die of hunger annually; 126 million children are underweight; and half of all children are stunted.

Think about that: every other child in Africa is stunted.

But the situation is far from hopeless, in large part because of the emergence of new, African-led national and regional efforts offering the potential for a homegrown remedy to these nutrition challenges.

For example, African governments understand well that most of their citizens are dependent on farming for food and income. Thus, the only way to make progress in nutrition improvement and poverty reduction is by making agricultural development a priority. Twenty-two countries have signed on to the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP), which commits signatories to investing 10% of national budgets for improving agricultural productivity. Already, countries are moving rapidly toward this goal, including Rwanda, where 7% of its total spending was in agriculture in 2010, up from 3% in 2005.

Also, in only a few years of operation, the new Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has steadily pursued efforts focused on tangible accomplishments, like better access to improved seeds and fertilisers in high potential "breadbasket" regions. Maize productivity in western Kenya alone increased 115% last year. In Tanzania, better access to seeds and fertilizers has allowed farmers to produce a surplus even in the midst of drought.

But threats large and small could ruin the exciting potential of these nascent movements. The status quo is not enough because climate change is threatening yields, soil fertility is decreasing, and many fear another rapid rise in food prices. The sudden spike in commodities prices that roiled world markets in 2007 and 2008 added millions more Africans to the ranks of the chronically hungry. Our report urges European governments to use their influence and deep understanding of agriculture markets to create a system of grain reserves, some of which could be established in African countries, to protect against price volatility. These reserves would not be intended for price stabilization but as an emergency mechanism that could counter a price spike before it quite literally kills people.

We also believe European leaders could scale up effective initiatives, such as those implemented by AGRA, already underway in Africa.

Ultimately, the overall situation today provides considerable reason for optimism. Europe and its G8 partners are offering unprecedented levels of support. African nations are better prepared to make use of agriculture investments than ever before. We need a sense of urgency now to seize the moment before it slips away.
  • The Montpellier Panel Report will be launched today at the parliament. It provides an overview of the state of European investment in African agriculture as well as a set of recommendations for improving food security and strengthening EU-Africa partnerships in the sector.
=================================
2. Reuters (UK)
=================================


http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFLDE69P1V120101026

African agriculture coming of age-report
  • Local funding given new impetus by 2008 crisis
  • Potential for trebling cereal yields
LONDON, Oct 26 (Reuters) - A growing African food sector can yield private sector returns on the back of government support, said a report on Tuesday, which also said that a global grain reserve may be needed to protect consumers from price spikes.

Local initiatives aiming for an African equivalent of the Green Revolution, which swept developing countries in the 1970s and 1980s, needed coordination, the report added.

For example an African Union (AU) strategy aimed to drive economic development through investment in agriculture at a tenth of national budgets, given new impetus by a 2008 food crisis which prompted $20 billion aid for agriculture.

"It's a focus on the great and proven potential of African agriculture," said Imperial College London's Gordon Conway, chair of a panel of authors of the report titled "Africa and Europe: Partnerships for Agricultural Development".

"We can continue to parachute in sacks of grain, but it's much better to focus on making sure the seeds and fertilisers are present in the hands of the dealers in the villages."

"We are in a period of optimism about the prospects for Africa and African agriculture," the report concluded.

The Green Revolution in Mexico, India and elsewhere met large increases in yields through steps such as investment in irrigation, fertilisers and high yielding crops.

In Africa cereal yields were as little as one third those in developed countries, said Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, another author, but she pointed to successes for example in Nigerian cassava and of the adoption of higher yielding rice varieties.

"Africa is now organised and ready for business," she said.

The AU initiative aimed to achieve 6 percent annual growth in farm output by 2015 compared with 3 percent annually over the past decade. Tuesday's report cited estimates that the sector may be worth $800 billion by 2030 compared with $280 billion now.

It intended to galvanise European private and public sector investment, following similar investment in African farmland and businesses by large emerging economies including China.

Private sector investment would not over-turn problems of malnutrition, however, where 200 million Africans are under-fed and 5 million die annually from hunger. That required public support, possibly including a global grain reserve to ease food price spikes which hurt the poor more, the report said.

"Food price spikes, particularly the one in 2007-08, had a devastating impact on African consumers. Speculators drive these spikes higher than they would otherwise be," said Conway.

"These spikes need some form of physical grain reserve to moderate them," he added, saying that he was not advocating a government takeover of commodity markets.

Online pick-up:

Reuters Alertnet (UK)
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LDE69P1V1.htm

=================================
3. Nature Online (UK)
=================================


http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2010/10/where_are_promised_eu_funds_fo.html

Where are promised EU funds for food security?
27 October 2010

Europe needs to make good on its pledge to donate $3.8 billion to increase food security in the developing world, says a new report published yesterday.

Eight of the world's richest nations pledged $22.5bn to help combat hunger at a summit in L'Aquila, Italy, last year. But some nations, including those in Europe, have been slow to put their money where their mouth is.

"To date not all of the pledges have been realised," says the report, launched at a meeting in the House of Commons.

The Montpellier Panel Report was chaired by Gordon Conway, professor of international development at Imperial College London, and former chief scientist at the UK's Department for International Development (DFID).

Some of the pledged funds have been received, including a total of $900 million from the US, Canada, Spain, Ireland, the Republic of Korea and the Bill and Melinda gates Foundation.

But Conway told the meeting, "It's not clear where the money is from the EU nations".

The report urges European donors to up their game, in particular to "commit more resources, and work more closely together to align and coordinate their actions".

It calls on Europe to follow the US approach and invest in priorities identified by African governments, including regional research programmes, rather than focusing on EU priorities.

African countries have made good progress in developing national agricultural strategies and investing in infrastructure, including research, to secure their future food production, the report adds.

"Africa is organised and ready for business," says Lindiwe Sibanda, chief executive of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and one of the report's authors.

Responding to the findings, a representative from DFID to the meeting that the department plans told allocate £1.1bn over the next three years to the cause, and by March next year will know which initiatives it will invest the money in.

Posted by Natasha Gilbert on October 27, 2010

=================================
4. BBC World Service
=================================


London Panel Launch World Briefing

=================================
5. BBC "Focus on Africa"
=================================


http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/audioconsole/?stream=focusonafrica1700

Listen at 23:54.

=================================
6. Voice of America
=================================


http://www.voanews.com/english/news/New-Drive-for-European-Investment-in-African-Agriculture--105881003.html

New Drive for European Investment in African Agriculture
London, 27 October 2010
Selah Hennessy


A British report says Europe needs to do more to invest in African agriculture. It says a gap exists between bold rhetoric that pledges billions to aid African agriculture and a reality in which money has not materialized.

The panel of experts from Africa and Europe said European donors need to pay more attention to immediate threats of food insecurity in Africa and also to support African-led initiatives to improve agricultural productivity on the continent.

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa President Namanga Ngongi was on the panel of experts and says agriculture in Africa is improving. "I have seen for myself. You go into the field seeing farms where people were producing one ton per hectare before, they are now producing three, four, five tons per hectare - in some cases 6-metric tons per hectare. So now they have these possible surpluses that need to be market," Ngongi said.

He says regional bodies in Africa are increasingly making agriculture a major focus, introducing new crop breeding programs and providing start up capital for new enterprises.

And he says governments are spending more of their national budget on agricultural development.

Those efforts, he says, are paying off. For example, Nigeria has surpassed Brazil as the world's largest producer of cassava, which is a major source of calories in Africa.

Panel chairman Gordon Conway says the improvements within the agricultural sector in Africa are making it a better environment for European investment. "There is a great opportunity for the private sector to work in Africa to help increase production, both of staple crops and of crops for export. So I think it is looking optimistic," he said.

In 2009 wealthy governments in Europe and the United States pledged $22.5 billion to improve food security worldwide. Agricultural development in Africa was set to be a focus. But the panel says it is important that cash is channeled in the right way.

Child malnutrition, it says, has to be a major focus. It also says global and national food reserves need to be created to counter major volatility in global markets for staple crops.

Conway says food security in Africa is crucial for global security. "Global security is important for all of us," he says, "Every single family in Europe depends on global security. And that global security consists of a number of components, one of which is food security, another one is protection from climate change. If you do not have those two you will get political, economic instability and unrest and that is a real threat to Europe."

The report was produced by the Montpellier Panel, which was made up of 10 experts from across the agriculture, development, trade, and policy sectors.

=================================
7. Xinhua News Agency (China)
=================================


http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90855/7179559.html

Europe urged to increase agriculture aid to Africa

Leading experts say time is ripe for Europe to accelerate agriculture aid to Africa or miss a rare opportunity to help transform food security across the continent.

According to a new report released late Wednesday by a panel of European and African development experts, EU donors were also challenged to match rhetoric with action as Africa focuses on the farm sector and investors outside of Europe take notice "Today, European aid to Africa can be especially productive because it can support emerging strategies already owned, operated and driven by Africans, which is a relatively novel situation in the history of European-African relations," said Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, Chief Executive and Head of Diplomatic Mission, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) .

The report says a dangerous gap between Europe's bold rhetoric pledging billions to aid African agriculture and a reality that has failed to channel new investments to promising projects, risks squandering a rare opportunity to transform food production across the continent.

The analysis from the Montpellier Panel notes that the commitment at a 2009 G8 summit to dramatically escalate the fight against malnutrition in Africa has yet to bring critically needed support for a "rich diversity" of activities already underway that "could achieve food and nutrition security through agricultural development." "If we do not bridge the gap there is risk that new investments will dissipate into more small scale activity and we will not see transformational change that is needed," the report says.

The panel is particularly concerned that European donors have not used their influence and abilities to create a safety net.

A system of grain reserves, for example, could prevent another round of price shocks to commodities markets from spreading malnutrition to millions more Africans, as they did in 2007 and 2008. "We want to see European donors paying closer attention to immediate threats to food security, while simultaneously increasing support for African-led efforts that for the first time in generations show that African governments are determined to literally grow their way towards health and prosperity," said Sir Gordon Conway of Imperial College London, who chaired the panel.

The report, Africa and Europe: Partnerships for Agricultural Development, The Montpellier Panel, is focused on the follow- through, and lack thereof, from the 2009 L'Aquila G8 summit in which wealthy governments in Europe and the United States pledged 22.5 billion U. S. dollars to seek food security worldwide, with much of the funds to be spent on agriculture development in sub- Saharan Africa.

The analysis presents a situation in Africa in which investments are needed to address the extreme perils and exploit the extraordinary opportunities that today exist side by side.

On one hand, the nutrition challenges are profound. Some 337 million Africans consume less than 2,100 calories a day, and 200 million are chronically malnourished.

An astounding 50 percent of children are stunted and in Sub- Saharan Africa, nearly half of all pregnant women in the region and 40 percent of women of child-bearing age suffer from anemia.

Every minute, 12 Africans die from poor nutrition. On the other hand, 22 African governments have signed on to the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program (CAADP), which commits signatories to investing 10 percent of national budgets toward improved food production.

And they increasingly have the means to do so. GDP is now rising in 27 of Africa's 30 largest countries.

Ghana, Ethiopia, Mali, Malawi, Burkina Faso and Senegal are among the countries where agriculture spending already has a reached or exceeded the 10 percent threshold.

Meanwhile, on the ground, an array of new national and regional initiatives -- many of them innovative public-private partnerships- - are successfully boosting food production and building a self- sustaining agriculture infrastructure.

Nigeria has surpassed Brazil as the world's largest producer of cassava, which is now Africa's second most important source of calories.

The introduction of new rice varieties for Africa (NERICAs) is boosting harvests and nutrition for 20 million rice farmers, most of whom are women and the families and communities they serve.

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has funded 60 crop breeding programs, introduced 125 new crop varieties into the field, and provided start-up capital for 35 African seed enterprises that are producing 15,000 metric tons of certified seed.

AGRA also has enlisted 9,200 agro-dealers who have provided smallholder farmers with 45 million dollars worth of seed and farm inputs. "While Europe has always been a strong supporter of African agriculture, its investments today are not coordinated or aligned fully with the opportunities available," said Namanga Ngongi, AGRA' s president and a member of the Montpellier Panel. "Where we are directly supporting the smallholder farmers, we are seeing increased yields and profitable farms; we are seeing this success in pockets all across Africa. What is critical now is for focused investments so we can replicate this success on a large scale and truly revolutionize African agriculture."

For example, the report points to estimates that Africa has the potential to increase the value of its annual agribusiness output from 280 billion dollars today to around 800 billion dollars by 2030.

And the benefits could be broadly distributed. The experience with agricultural development in Asia shows that for each 1 percent acceleration in agricultural growth there is about 1.5 percent acceleration in non-agricultural growth.

Outside of Europe, a growing number of emerging economic powerhouses are waking up to the potential for food production in Africa to soar.

In particular, the so-called BRIC nations - Brazil, Russia, India, and China - are increasingly visible in Africa's agriculture sector.

But the Montpellier Panel believes Europe is especially well- positioned to be Africa's most important partner in developing its agricultural bread-baskets.

European Union (EU) countries already are collectively the largest agriculture development donor in Africa.

They have been early supporters of the CAADP process and the largest donor to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), whose crop improvement work in Africa is essential to improving nutrition on the continent.

The panel calls for deepening Europe's commitment to Africa's agriculture development efforts through increased support that brings more focus and coordination to the activities already underway and shifts attention from short-term humanitarian aid to long-term capacity building.

In addition, the panel seeks immediate action from Europe to counter the danger that another spike in commodities prices along the lines of what occurred in 2007 and 2008 could reverse hard- fought progress to address nutrition problems through agriculture development.

The report proposes establishing regulatory processes, along with global and national grain reserves, that could be employed to reduce extreme price volatility in global markets for cereals and staple crops, which have their greatest impact on poor countries. "Intensifying its engagement with Africa is in Europe's interest because if we don't seize on this opportunity, the costs will be felt both at home and abroad," said Lord.

=================================
8. Dow Jones
=================================


http://news.reportlinker.com/n04007659/DJ-Africa-Will-Be-Key-To-EU-Food-Security-Expert-Panel.html

Africa Will Be Key To EU Food Security-Expert Panel
26 October 2010
By Caroline Henshaw


LONDON, Oct 26, 2010 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- Boosting agricultural production from Africa's farmers will be key to securing Europe's food supplies in the future, a new report launched by a cross-party U.K. government group said Tuesday.

As concerns mount over increasing volatility in food markets, Europe risks being left behind as a key partner to tap the huge potential of African agriculture, a report launched by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food Development found.

Increasing economic growth in Africa (gross domestic product is now rising in 27 out of 30 of the region's largest economies), a raft of new investment frameworks, and the commitment of more than $22.5 billion to combat world hunger at the 2009 L'Aquila summit are all creating a fertile climate for investment.

"Security in this country depends on global security and global security depends on food security," said Gordon Conway, Professor of International Development at Imperial College London who chaired the panel.

Already Africa's largest trade partner, increased investment from the European Union will be key to increasing the region's agricultural output, the report found. The EU is responsible for over 60% of overseas development aid worldwide, including around EUR800 million per year to agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa.

"Europe should grasp the opportunity to achieve food and nutritional security through agricultural development in Africa," said Lindiwe Sibanda, the head of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network.

She pointed to the success of the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme, or CAADP, at increasing local government spending on the sector from an average of 4% to at least 10% of national budgets within the next five years.

The findings come at a time when many food importers are scaling up their investments in Africa's agricultural sector in a bid to secure food supplies. A report from the World Bank found that international investors bought 45 million hectares of agricultural land in 2009 alone, compared with an average expansion rate of four million hectares a year in the decade leading up to 2008.

"If Europe is seen to be investing in Africa we are going to benefit from the agricultural and economic development of Africa," said Conway at the launch of the report by the Montpellier Panel.

"That's what Brazil and China and India already perceive."

The report, entitled Africa and Europe: Partnerships for Agricultural Development, launched in the U.K. Parliament today, called for new mechanisms to reduce volatility in food markets, including improving regulation of commodity markets and building up stocks to buffer against future supply shocks.

"It is now evident that food markets must not be excluded from the appropriate regulation of the banking and financial system as the staple food and feed markets are now closely connected to the speculative activities in financial markets," the report said.

=================================
9. EurActiv.com
=================================


http://www.euractiv.com/en/cap/african-agriculture-coming-age-news-499229

African agriculture 'coming of age'
Published: 27 October 2010
EurActiv with Reuters


A growing African food sector can yield private sector returns on the back of government support, said a report on Tuesday (26 October), which also said that a global grain reserve may be needed to protect consumers from price spikes.

Local initiatives aiming for an African equivalent of the Green Revolution, which swept developing countries in the 1970s and 1980s, needed coordination, the report added.

For example an African Union (AU) strategy aimed to drive economic development through investment in agriculture at a tenth of national budgets, given new impetus by a 2008 food crisis which prompted $20 billion aid for agriculture.

"It's a focus on the great and proven potential of African agriculture," said Imperial College London's Gordon Conway, chair of a panel of authors of the report, titled 'Africa and Europe: Partnerships for Agricultural Development'.

"We can continue to parachute in sacks of grain, but it's much better to focus on making sure the seeds and fertilisers are present in the hands of the dealers in the villages."

"We are in a period of optimism about the prospects for Africa and African agriculture," the report concluded.

The Green Revolution in Mexico, India and elsewhere met large increases in yields through steps such as investment in irrigation, fertilisers and high yielding crops.

In Africa cereal yields were as little as one third those in developed countries, said Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, another author, but she pointed to successes for example in Nigerian cassava and of the adoption of higher yielding rice varieties.

"Africa is now organised and ready for business," she said.

The AU initiative aimed to achieve 6% annual growth in farm output by 2015 compared with 3% annually over the past decade. Tuesday's report cited estimates that the sector may be worth $800 billion by 2030 compared with $280 billion now.

It intended to galvanise European private and public sector investment, following similar investment in African farmland and businesses by large emerging economies including China.

Private sector investment would not over-turn problems of malnutrition, however, where 200 million Africans are under-fed and five million die annually from hunger. That required public support, possibly including a global grain reserve to ease food price spikes which hurt the poor more, the report said.

"Food price spikes, particularly the one in 2007-08, had a devastating impact on African consumers. Speculators drive these spikes higher than they would otherwise be," said Conway.

"These spikes need some form of physical grain reserve to moderate them," he added, saying that he was not advocating a government takeover of commodity markets.

=================================
10. Agência Estado (Brazil)
=================================


http://www.canalrural.com.br/canalrural/jsp/default.jsp?uf=2§ion=Canal%20Rural&id=3088064&action=noticias

UE precisa da África para garantir oferta de alimentos, dizem europeus
Mundo | 26/10/2010 | 16h55min

Relatório destaca preocupação dos europeus com a crescente volatilidade de preços nos mercados agrícolas

A Europa vai precisar da produção agrícola da África para garantir a oferta de alimentos para sua própria população, segundo o All Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food Development, um grupo multipartidário de representantes governamentais do Reino Unido, especializado em alimentação e agricultura.

Relatório divulgado pelo grupo nesta terça, dia 26, destaca a preocupação dos europeus com a crescente volatilidade de preços nos mercados agrícolas e o risco de a Europa ficar para trás como parceiro fundamental para explorar o grande potencial da agricultura africana. O crescimento econômico do continente (o PIB está aumentando em 27 das 30 maiores economias locais), novos recursos financeiros e o compromisso das nações desenvolvidas de fornecer US$ 22,5 bilhões para combater a fome mundial, firmado em 2009 na cidade italiana de L'Aquila, estão criando um ambiente fértil para investimentos no setor.

– A segurança neste país (Reino Unido) depende da segurança global, e a segurança global depende da segurança alimentar – disse Gordon Conway, professor de Desenvolvimento Internacional no Colégio Imperial de Londres.

A União Europeia já é o maior parceiro comercial da África e agora quer ser o maior parceiro agrícola.

– A Europa deve agarrar a oportunidade para assegurar a oferta de alimentos por meio do desenvolvimento da agricultura na África – disse Lindiwe Sibanda, chefe da Rede de Análise de Políticas de Alimentos, Agricultura e Recursos Naturais.

Ela lembrou do sucesso do Programa de Desenvolvimento Agrícola Africano (CAADP), que tem o objetivo de aumentar os gastos dos governos locais no setor de 4% para pelo menos 10% dos orçamentos nacionais nos próximos cinco anos.

Outros países estão de olho no potencial agrícola da África. Um relatório do Banco Mundial informou que investidores estrangeiros compraram 45 milhões de hectares de terras agrícolas no continente apenas em 2009. Entre 1999 e 2008, as aquisições de terras ali foram de quatro milhões de hectares por ano, em média.

– Se a Europa investir na África, nos beneficiaremos do desenvolvimento agrícola e econômico daquele continente", disse Conway durante almoço para o lançamento do relatório, em Londres.

– É o que Brasil e China já perceberam.

O relatório, intitulado África e Europa: pareceria para o desenvolvimento agrícola e lançado no Parlamento britânico hoje, pede que sejam criados novos mecanismos para reduzir a volatilidade nos mercados de alimentos, incluindo a melhora na regulação dos mercados de commodities e a formação de estoques de segurança para lidar com futuros choques de oferta. "É evidente que os mercados de alimentos não podem ser excluídos da regulação necessária já que eles estão muito conectados às atividades especulativas nos mercados financeiros", diz o relatório. As informações são da Dow Jones.

=================================
11. Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report
=================================


http://globalhealth.kff.org/Daily-Reports/2010/October/27/GH-102710-Food-Security.aspx

Report Notes Potential For African Agriculture, European Partnerships
Wednesday,2010 October 27

A new report (.pdf) highlights concerns about donors, especially from Europe, following through on funding pledges for the G8's $22 billion global food security fund, Business Daily reports (Odhiambo, 10/27).

"The analysis from the [African and European development experts on the] Montpellier Panel, convened with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, notes that the commitment at a 2009 G8 summit to dramatically escalate the fight against malnutrition in Africa has yet to bring critically needed support for a 'rich diversity' of activities already underway that 'could achieve food and nutrition security through agricultural development,'" according to an Imperial College London press release.

"If we do not bridge the gap there is risk that new investments will dissipate into more small scale activity and we will not see transformational change that is needed," the report cautions. "The panel is particularly concerned that European donors have not used their influence and abilities to create a safety net," the press release notes (10/26). The report also highlighted the opportunity for partnership: "For the first time in two generations, Africa has a real opportunity to achieve food and nutrition security through agricultural development." It adds that Europe should "play a unique and significant role, as a partner with African nations, in attaining this goal," according to the report's executive summary (.pdf) (10/26).

"The panel said a system of grain reserves, for example, could prevent another round of price shocks to commodities markets from spreading malnutrition to millions more Africans, as they did in 2007 and 2008," Business Daily writes (10/27). This grain reserve system is an example of the public support that is required to prevent major price rises and address malnutrition in Africa, the report said, according to Reuters (10/26). According to the report, "[s]ome 337 million Africans consume less than 2,100 calories a day, and 200 million are chronically malnourished. An astounding 50 percent of children are stunted and in Sub-Saharan Africa, nearly half of all pregnant women in the region and 40 percent of women of child-bearing age suffer from anemia," the press release notes (10/26).

The panel also "lauded action by the 22 African governments including Kenya that have signed the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme, or CAADP, which commits signatories to investing 10 percent of national budgets toward improved food production," Business Daily writes (10/27). The release points out that GDP is "rising in 27 of Africa's 30 largest countries" and notes that already Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Malawi and Senegal have reached or passed the 10 percent threshold for agricultural investment (10/26).

"Today, European aid to Africa can be especially productive because it can support emerging strategies already owned, operated and driven by Africans, which is a relatively novel situation in the history of European-African relations," Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, head of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network, said, according to Business Daily (10/27).

=================================
12. Agencia EFE (Spain)
=================================


http://noticias.terra.com.ar/sociedad/las-ayudas-prometidas-por-europa-a-africa-no-han-llegado-a-materializarse,daf16910115eb210VgnVCM10000098f154d0RCRD.html

Las ayudas prometidas por Europa a África no han llegado a materializarse
26 de octubre de 2010 • 05:20

Las ayudas económicas prometidas por los países europeos para la agricultura de África han quedado en simple retórica, lo que ha impedido la realización de proyectos que iban a impulsar la producción de alimentos en el continente.

Esto es lo que denuncia el último informe anual del grupo de expertos europeos y africanos conocido como el Panel de Montpellier y elaborado con el apoyo de la Fundación Bill & Melinda Gates.

Según el informe, el compromiso adquirido en la cumbre del G-8 el año pasado en L'Aquila (Italia) de luchar contra la malnutrición en África se ha reducido a "un montón de acciones todavía pendientes de ponerse en marcha".

En aquella reunión los gobiernos europeos y el estadounidense, que conforman el G-8, se comprometieron a donar 22.500 millones de dólares (16.000 millones de euros) para lograr la seguridad alimentaria en todo el mundo.

La mayor parte de estos fondos se destinarían a proyectos agrícolas en el África Subsahariana, una de las regiones del mundo más azotadas por las hambrunas y la desnutrición.

"Hay que cerrar la brecha que lleva 'del dicho al hecho' y garantizar la seguridad alimentaria mediante el desarrollo de la agricultura", explican los expertos del Panel de Montpellier.

Los expertos se muestran especialmente preocupados por el hecho de que los donantes europeos no usan sus influencias para crear una "red de seguridad" como, por ejemplo, un sistema de reservas de cereales que podría evitar una nueva oleada de malnutrición por reducción de las cosechas, como la que tuvieron lugar en 2007 y 2008.

"Queremos ver cómo los donantes europeos prestan especial atención a las amenazas inmediatas a la seguridad alimentaria, mientras aumentan simultáneamente su apoyo a los esfuerzos de las autoridades africanas encaminados a alcanzar la prosperidad en esos países", indica Gordon Conway, presidente del panel de expertos.

Conway precisa que las ayudas europeas son especialmente productivas en estos momentos porque son la financiación que necesitan varios proyectos de desarrollo puestos en marcha por primera vez por los propios africanos.

El informe advierte de que alrededor de 337 millones de africanos consumen menos de 2.100 calorías al día y unos 200 millones sufren malnutrición crónica, lo que implica que cada minuto mueren por desnutrición doce africanos.

En el caso del África subsahariana, la mitad de los niños están raquíticos y cerca del 50 por ciento de las embarazadas y del 40 por ciento de las mujeres que amamantan a sus hijos sufren anemia.

Lo único positivo es que 22 países del continente han suscrito el Programa Africano de Desarrollo Agrícola (CAADP), que obliga a los firmantes a invertir el 10 por ciento de sus presupuestos nacionales en mejorar la producción alimentaria.

Países como Ghana, Etiopía, Mali, Malaui, Burkina Faso y Senegal han superado ese porcentaje de inversión y el Producto Interior Bruto de 27 de las 30 mayores economías del continente crece en los últimos años.

Online pick-up:

El Mundo (Spain)
http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2010/10/26/solidaridad/1288083023.html

MSN.com Latino
http://noticias.latino.msn.com/internacionales/articulos.aspx?cp-documentid=26090852

Yahoo! Noticias
http://mx.news.yahoo.com/s/26102010/38/n-world-ayudas-prometidas-europa-frica-han.html

=================================
13. Business Daily (Kenya)
=================================


http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Corporate%20News/Group%20seeks%20increased%20aid%20for%20Africa%20agriculture/-/539550/1040886/-/ctvpgs/-/

Group seeks increased aid for Africa agriculture
Posted Wednesday, October 27 2010 at 00:00
by Allan Odhiambo


The creation of strategic grain reserves could help boost growth in food deficit nations in Africa, a group of experts said on Tuesday, and urged key donors such as Europe to shift their current strategies on aid provision.

The experts, under an international group known as the Montpellier panel and supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, claimed that lack of specific intervention measures on bolstering food reserves continued to expose millions of people in Africa to suffering despite huge fortunes pledged in aid each year.

Panel chair

"We want to see European donors to pay closer attention to immediate threats to food security, while simultaneously increasing support for African-led efforts that for the first time in generations show that the governments are determined to literally grow their way towards health and prosperity," Sir Gordon Conway of Imperial College London, who chaired the panel, said.

The panel claimed that the commitment at a 2009 G8 summit to dramatically step up the fight against malnutrition in Africa was yet to bring change.

At the summit in L'Aquila, Europe and the US pledged $22.5 billion to seek food security worldwide, with most of the money to be spent on agriculture development in sub-Saharan Africa.

"If we do not bridge the gap there is risk that new investments will dissipate into more small scale activity and we will not see transformational change that is needed," the panel said in a report titled: Africa and Europe: Partnerships for Agricultural Development, The Montpellier Panel.

The report released in London on Tuesday is focused on a following up on the L' Aquila pledges.

The panel said a system of grain reserves, for example, could prevent another round of price shocks to commodities markets from spreading malnutrition to millions more Africans, as they did in 2007 and 2008.

"Today, European aid to Africa can be especially productive because it can support emerging strategies already owned, operated and driven by Africans, which is a relatively novel situation in the history of European-African relations," Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, CEO and head of diplomatic mission, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) said.

The panel claimed that close to half of children in Africa were stunted due to poor nutrition while nearly half of all pregnant women in the region and 40 per cent of women of child-bearing age suffered from anaemia.

"While Europe has always been a strong supporter of African agriculture, its investments today are not coordinated or aligned fully with the opportunities available," said Namanga Ngongi, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (Agra) and a member of the Montpellier Panel said.

"Where we are directly supporting the smallholder farmers, we are seeing increased yields and profitable farms; we are seeing this success in pockets all across Africa. What is critical now is for focused investments so we can replicate this success on a large scale and truly revolutionise African agriculture".

But the panel lauded action by the 22 African governments including Kenya that have signed the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme, or CAADP, which commits signatories to investing 10 per cent of national budgets toward improved food production.

Ghana, Ethiopia, Mali, Malawi, Burkina Faso, and Senegal are among the countries where agriculture spending has already reached or exceeded the 10 per cent threshold.

The panel said urgent contributions by donors such Europe towards the creation of food reserves could greatly help in countering the danger that another spike in commodities prices such as those witnessed in 2007 and 2008.

"Intensifying its engagement with Africa is in Europe's interest because if we don't seize on this opportunity, the costs will be felt both at home and abroad," Lord Cameron of Dillington, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Agriculture and Food for Development said when he presided over the launch of the report.

=================================
14. CNBC Africa
=================================


Video: http://www.abndigital.com/multimedia/video/featured-interviews/868961.htm

Agricultural development between Africa and Europe

The Montpellier Panel on Agricultural Cooperation between Africa and Europe was released in Kenya.

Joining ABN from Nairobi on Europe and Africa's partnership for agricultural development is Dr Namanga Ngongi, President of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

=================================
15. News from Africa
=================================


http://www.newsfromafrica.org/newsfromafrica/articles/art_12066.html

Africa: EU Investments in African Agriculture Critical to Global Security and Stability
Nairobi, Kenya | Wednesday 27 October 2010
By Shadrack Kavilu


The panel is particularly concerned that European donors have not used their influence and abilities to create a safety net.

Nairobi, Kenya-A dangerous gap between Europe's bold rhetoric pledging billions to aid African agriculture, and a reality that has failed to channel new investments to promising projects, risks squandering a rare opportunity to transform food production across the continent, according to a new report released by a panel of European and African development experts.

The analysis from the Montpellier Panel, convened with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, notes that the commitment at a 2009 G8 summit to dramatically escalate the fight against malnutrition in Africa has yet to bring critically needed support for a "rich diversity" of activities already underway that "could achieve food and nutrition security through agricultural development."

"If we do not bridge the gap there is risk that new investments will dissipate into more small scale activity and we will not see transformational change that is needed," the report concludes.

The panel is particularly concerned that European donors have not used their influence and abilities to create a safety net. A system of grain reserves, for example, could prevent another round of price shocks to commodities markets from spreading malnutrition to millions more Africans, as they did in 2007 and 2008.

"We want to see European donors paying closer attention to immediate threats to food security, while simultaneously increasing support for African-led efforts that for the first time in generations show that African governments are determined to literally grow their way towards health and prosperity," said Sir Gordon Conway of Imperial College London, who chaired the panel.

"Today, European aid to Africa can be especially productive because it can support emerging strategies already owned, operated and driven by Africans, which is a relatively novel situation in the history of European-African relations," said Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, Chief Executive and Head of Diplomatic Mission, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN).

The report titled, Africa and Europe: Partnerships for Agricultural Development, The Montpellier Panel, is focused on the follow-through, and lack thereof, from the 2009 L'Aquila G8 summit in which wealthy governments in Europe and the United States pledged US$22.5 billion to seek food security worldwide, with much of the funds to be spent on agriculture development in sub-Saharan Africa.

The analysis presents a situation in Africa in which investments are needed to address the extreme perils and exploit the extraordinary opportunities that today exist side by side.

On one hand, the nutrition challenges are profound. Some 337 million Africans consume less than 2100 calories a day, and 200 million are chronically malnourished.

An astounding 50 percent of children are stunted and in Sub-Saharan Africa, nearly half of all pregnant women in the region and 40 percent of women of child-bearing age suffer from anaemia. Every minute, 12 Africans die from poor nutrition.

On the other hand, 22 African governments have signed on to the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme, or CAADP, which commits signatories to investing 10 percent of national budgets toward improved food production.

And they increasingly have the means to do so. GDP is now rising in 27 of Africa's 30 largest countries. Ghana, Ethiopia, Mali, Malawi, Burkina Faso, and Senegal are among the countries where agriculture spending already has a reached or exceeded the 10 percent threshold.

Meanwhile, on the ground, an array of new national and regional initiatives many of them innovative public-private partnerships are successfully boosting food production and building a self-sustaining agriculture infrastructure.

Nigeria has surpassed Brazil as the world's largest producer of cassava, which is now Africa's second most important source of calories. The introduction of new rice varieties for Africa (NERICAs) is boosting harvests and nutrition for 20 million rice farmers, most of whom are women and the families and communities they serve.

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has funded 60 crops breeding programmes, introduced 125 new crop varieties into the field, and provided start-up capital for 35 African seed enterprises that are producing 15,000 metric tons of certified seed.

AGRA also has enlisted 9200 agro-dealers who have provided smallholder farmers with US$45 million worth of seed and farm inputs.

"While Europe has always been a strong supporter of African agriculture, its investments today are not coordinated or aligned fully with the opportunities available," said Namanga Ngongi, AGRA's president and a member of the Montpellier Panel.

"Where we are directly supporting the smallholder farmers, we are seeing increased yields and profitable farms; we are seeing this success in pockets all across Africa. What is critical now is for focused investments so we can replicate this success on a large scale and truly revolutionize African agriculture," he said.

For example, the report points to estimates that Africa has the potential to increase the value of its annual agribusiness output from US$280 billion today to around US$800 billion by 2030. And the benefits could be broadly distributed.

The experience with agricultural development in Asia shows that for each 1 percent acceleration in agricultural growth there is about 1.5 percent acceleration in non-agricultural growth.

The report observes that outside of Europe, a growing number of emerging economic powerhouses are waking up to the potential for food production in Africa to soar. In particular, the so-called BRIC nations—Brazil, Russia, India, and China are increasingly visible in Africa's agriculture sector.

But the Montpellier Panel believes Europe is especially well-positioned to be Africa's most important partner in developing its agricultural bread-baskets.

European Union (EU) countries already are collectively the largest agriculture development donor in Africa. They have been early supporters of the CAADP process and the largest donor to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), whose crop improvement work in Africa is essential to improving nutrition on the continent.

The panel calls for deepening Europe's commitment to Africa's agriculture development efforts through increased support that brings more focus and coordination to the activities already underway and shifts attention from short-term humanitarian aid to long-term capacity building.

In addition, the panel seeks immediate action from Europe to counter the danger that another spike in commodities prices along the lines of what occurred in 2007 and 2008 could reverse hard-fought progress to address nutrition problems through agriculture development.

The report proposes establishing regulatory processes, along with global and national grain reserves, that could be employed to reduce extreme price volatility in global markets for cereals and staple crops, which have their greatest impact on poor countries.

"Intensifying its engagement with Africa is in Europe's interest because if we don't seize on this opportunity, the costs will be felt both at home and abroad," said Lord Cameron of Dillington, who hosted the report's release as co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Agriculture and Food for Development.

He warned that failure to increase agricultural investment in Africa could see greater poverty, an increase in social unrest, a deterioration of diplomatic and economic relations and the diversion of investments in long-term programmes to pay for repetitive emergency humanitarian aid.

=================================
16. Africa Science News Service
=================================


Europe asked to Accelerate Agriculture Aid to Africa
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
by Henry Neondo

An expert panel convened with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has challenged the European Union (EU) donors to match rhetoric with action as Africa focuses on farm sector. Investors outside of Europe are taking note.

A dangerous gap between Europe's bold rhetoric pledging billions to aid African agriculture, and a reality that has failed to channel new investments to promising projects, risks squandering a rare opportunity to transform food production across the continent, according to a new report released today from a panel of European and African development experts.

The analysis from the Montpellier Panel notes that the commitment at a 2009 G8 summit to dramatically escalate the fight against malnutrition in Africa has yet to bring critically needed support for a "rich diversity" of activities already underway that "could achieve food and nutrition security through agricultural development."

"If we do not bridge the gap there is risk that new investments will dissipate into more small scale activity and we will not see transformational change that is needed," the report concludes.

The panel is particularly concerned that European donors have not used their influence and abilities to create a safety net. A system of grain reserves, for example, could prevent another round of price shocks to commodities markets from spreading malnutrition to millions more Africans, as they did in 2007 and 2008.

"We want to see European donors paying closer attention to immediate threats to food security, while simultaneously increasing support for African-led efforts that for the first time in generations show that African governments are determined to literally grow their way towards health and prosperity," said Sir Gordon Conway of Imperial College London, who chaired the panel.

"Today, European aid to Africa can be especially productive because it can support emerging strategies already owned, operated and driven by Africans, which is a relatively novel situation in the history of European-African relations," said Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, Chief Executive and Head of Diplomatic Mission, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN).

The report, Africa and Europe: Partnerships for Agricultural Development, The Montpellier Panel, is focused on the follow-through, and lack thereof, from the 2009 L'Aquila G8 summit in which wealthy governments in Europe and the United States pledged US$22.5 billion to seek food security worldwide, with much of the funds to be spent on agriculture development in sub-Saharan Africa. The analysis presents a situation in Africa in which investments are needed to address the extreme perils and exploit the extraordinary opportunities that today exist side by side.

On one hand, the nutrition challenges are profound. Some 337 million Africans consume less than 2100 calories a day, and 200 million are chronically malnourished. An astounding 50 percent of children are stunted and in Sub-Saharan Africa, nearly half of all pregnant women in the region and 40 percent of women of child-bearing age suffer from anemia. Every minute, 12 Africans die from poor nutrition.

On the other hand, 22 African governments have signed on to the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme, or CAADP, which commits signatories to investing 10 percent of national budgets toward improved food production. And they increasingly have the means to do so. GDP is now rising in 27 of Africa's 30 largest countries. Ghana, Ethiopia, Mali, Malawi, Burkina Faso, and Senegal are among the countries where agriculture spending already has a reached or exceeded the 10 percent threshold.

Meanwhile, on the ground, an array of new national and regional initiatives‹many of them innovative public-private partnerships‹are successfully boosting food production and building a self-sustaining agriculture infrastructure. Nigeria has surpassed Brazil as the world's largest producer of cassava, which is now Africa's second most important source of calories. The introduction of new rice varieties for Africa (NERICAs) is boosting harvests and nutrition for 20 million rice farmers, most of whom are women, and the families and communities they serve.

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has funded 60 crop breeding programs, introduced 125 new crop varieties into the field, and provided start-up capital for 35 African seed enterprises that are producing 15,000 metric tons of certified seed. AGRA also has enlisted 9200 agro-dealers who have provided smallholder farmers with US$45 million worth of seed and farm inputs.

"While Europe has always been a strong supporter of African agriculture, its investments today are not coordinated or aligned fully with the opportunities available," said Namanga Ngongi, AGRA's president and a member of the Montpellier Panel. "Where we are directly supporting the smallholder farmers, we are seeing increased yields and profitable farms; we are seeing this success in pockets all across Africa. What is critical now is for focused investments so we can replicate this success on a large scale and truly revolutionize African agriculture."

For example, the report points to estimates that Africa has the potential to increase the value of its annual agribusiness output from US$280 billion today to around US$800 billion by 2030. And the benefits could be broadly distributed. The experience with agricultural development in Asia shows that for each 1 percent acceleration in agricultural growth there is about a 1.5 percent acceleration in non-agricultural growth.

Outside of Europe, a growing number of emerging economic powerhouses are waking up to the potential for food production in Africa to soar. In particular, the so-called BRIC nations‹Brazil, Russia, India, and China‹are increasingly visible in Africa's agriculture sector. But the Montpellier Panel believes Europe is especially well-positioned to be Africa's most important partner in developing its agricultural bread-baskets.

European Union (EU) countries already are collectively the largest agriculture development donor in Africa. They have been early supporters of the CAADP process and the largest donor to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), whose crop improvement work in Africa is essential to improving nutrition on the continent. The panel calls for deepening Europe's commitment to Africa's agriculture development efforts through increased support that brings more focus and coordination to the activities already underway and shifts attention from short-term humanitarian aid to long-term capacity building.

In addition, the panel seeks immediate action from Europe to counter the danger that another spike in commodities prices along the lines of what occurred in 2007 and 2008 could reverse hard-fought progress to address nutrition problems through agriculture development. The report proposes establishing regulatory processes, along with global and national grain reserves, that could be employed to reduce extreme price volatility in global markets for cereals and staple crops, which have their greatest impact on poor countries.

"Intensifying its engagement with Africa is in Europe's interest because if we don't seize on this opportunity, the costs will be felt both at home and abroad," said Lord Cameron of Dillington, who hosted the report's release as co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Agriculture and Food for Development. "We could see greater poverty, an increase in social unrest, a deterioration of diplomatic and economic relations and the diversion of investments in long-term programs to pay for repetitive emergency humanitarian aid."

=================================
17. Business Daily (Kenya)
=================================


http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Corporate%20News/Group%20seeks%20increased%20aid%20for%20Africa%20agriculture/-/539550/1040886/-/ctvpgs/-/

Group seeks increased aid for Africa agriculture
Posted Wednesday, October 27 2010 at 00:00
By Allan Odhiambo


The creation of strategic grain reserves could help boost growth in food deficit nations in Africa, a group of experts said on Tuesday, and urged key donors such as Europe to shift their current strategies on aid provision.

The experts, under an international group known as the Montpellier panel and supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, claimed that lack of specific intervention measures on bolstering food reserves continued to expose millions of people in Africa to suffering despite huge fortunes pledged in aid each year.

Panel chair

"We want to see European donors to pay closer attention to immediate threats to food security, while simultaneously increasing support for African-led efforts that for the first time in generations show that the governments are determined to literally grow their way towards health and prosperity," Sir Gordon Conway of Imperial College London, who chaired the panel, said.

The panel claimed that the commitment at a 2009 G8 summit to dramatically step up the fight against malnutrition in Africa was yet to bring change.

At the summit in L'Aquila, Europe and the US pledged $22.5 billion to seek food security worldwide, with most of the money to be spent on agriculture development in sub-Saharan Africa.

"If we do not bridge the gap there is risk that new investments will dissipate into more small scale activity and we will not see transformational change that is needed," the panel said in a report titled: Africa and Europe: Partnerships for Agricultural Development, The Montpellier Panel.

The report released in London on Tuesday is focused on a following up on the L' Aquila pledges.

The panel said a system of grain reserves, for example, could prevent another round of price shocks to commodities markets from spreading malnutrition to millions more Africans, as they did in 2007 and 2008.

"Today, European aid to Africa can be especially productive because it can support emerging strategies already owned, operated and driven by Africans, which is a relatively novel situation in the history of European-African relations," Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, CEO and head of diplomatic mission, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) said.

The panel claimed that close to half of children in Africa were stunted due to poor nutrition while nearly half of all pregnant women in the region and 40 per cent of women of child-bearing age suffered from anaemia.

"While Europe has always been a strong supporter of African agriculture, its investments today are not coordinated or aligned fully with the opportunities available," said Namanga Ngongi, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (Agra) and a member of the Montpellier Panel said.

"Where we are directly supporting the smallholder farmers, we are seeing increased yields and profitable farms; we are seeing this success in pockets all across Africa. What is critical now is for focused investments so we can replicate this success on a large scale and truly revolutionise African agriculture".

But the panel lauded action by the 22 African governments including Kenya that have signed the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme, or CAADP, which commits signatories to investing 10 per cent of national budgets toward improved food production.

Ghana, Ethiopia, Mali, Malawi, Burkina Faso, and Senegal are among the countries where agriculture spending has already reached or exceeded the 10 per cent threshold.

The panel said urgent contributions by donors such Europe towards the creation of food reserves could greatly help in countering the danger that another spike in commodities prices such as those witnessed in 2007 and 2008.

"Intensifying its engagement with Africa is in Europe's interest because if we don't seize on this opportunity, the costs will be felt both at home and abroad," Lord Cameron of Dillington, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Agriculture and Food for Development said when he presided over the launch of the report.

=================================
18. Additional online pick-up
=================================


Africa-Investor
http://www.africa-investor.com/article.asp?id=7890

Stabroek News (Guyana) - Print

Jornal de Angola - Print

Relief Web
http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/JDUN-8AM5LF?OpenDocument&RSS20&RSS20=FS

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