Christian Development Agencies criticize G8’s plan for African food security

Vatica Radio(Vatican Radio) A new report issued this week criticizes the G8’s “Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa” saying it ignores human rights and the root causes of hunger. Entitled “Whose Alliance?”, the report is published by CIDSE, an international alliance of Catholic development agencies and the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance. The report accuses the G8’s New Alliance of focusing too much on the role of markets as a food security strategy. CIDSE Secretary General Bernd Nilles spoke to Susy Hodges about their main objections to the G8’s plan.

Referring to the upcoming G8 leader’s summit, Nilles says whilst they welcome that the issue of “food security is high on the agenda” at this meeting, they are not so pleased that the G8 leaders are focusing “mainly on the private sector”. He sees this emphasis by governments on the role of big corporations “as a cheap excuse not to pay for development aid they promised a couple of years ago.”

Nilles says instead of focusing like the G8 leaders on the amount of food produced in Africa, CIDSE and other development organisations focus more on “access to food and the distribution of food.” He reminds us of the crucial role played by small holder food producers in ensuring food security. “Small-scale farmers are the ones who produce 80 percent of Africa’s food and we must help them to flourish.” Nilles goes on to explain: “One of the root causes of hunger (in Africa) is that small and poor farmers are excluded from markets, are discriminated against and don’t get the support (they need) from their governments.”

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