More and Better: Sign on to the letter about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and agriculture

o the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and all governments in the world

More support for small-scale agroecological and other forms of sustainable agriculture is the key to reach many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The organizations which have signed on to this letter urge all governments, the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), other UN- and financial institutions to increase the support for agroecology and other forms of sustainable agriculture for small-scale farmers, and to underline the importance of such support to be able to reach several of the SDGs.

Increased support to small-scale sustainable farming is a key to reach:
SDG 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
SDG 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
SDG 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

The World Bank World Development Report 2008, Agriculture for Development, states that “…GDP growth originating in agriculture is at least twice as effective in reducing poverty as GDP growth originating outside agriculture… For China, aggregate growth originating in agriculture is estimated to have been 3.5 times more effective in reducing poverty than growth outside agriculture – and for Latin-America 2.7 times more.”
FAO also states the importance and efficiency of investments in agriculture: “Agriculture plays a vital role for economic growth and sustainable development. The evidence suggests that agriculture gross domestic product (GDP) growth in developing countries is on average 2.9 times more effective in reducing poverty relative to non-agriculture GDP growth…”

Support for small-scale sustainable agriculture is also a key to eradicate hunger, create jobs, improve the situation of women, to reduce climate change, and to make agriculture sustainable. Despite this, support for sustainable agriculture in developing countries has a low priority both in most developing countries and in development support from the OECD countries.
In 2003, Heads of State and Government of the members of the African Union (AU) agreed on the Maputo Declaration to adopt sound policies for agricultural and rural development, and committed themselves to allocating at least 10% of national budgetary resources for their implementation within five years. However, ten years later, only nine countries had reached to goal of 10%. 45 countries had not. In 2014, the members of the African Union re-committed to the 10% in the Malabo Declaration.
Support for agriculture is also low in the Official Development Assistance (ODA) from the OECD countries; only about 7,5% of the total ODA goes to agriculture.

The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition, in its report Investing in Smallholder Agriculture for Food Security (2013), stated that “Public investments in and for agriculture have fallen considerably since the 1980s. It is now widely recognized that agriculture has been neglected at both the national and international levels. Many agricultural banks (mostly linked to, and supported by, the state) have disappeared, and extension services, applied research and investment in infrastructure projects have declined since the mid-1980s.”

The small-scale farmers are the most important investors in their own farms, but they do not have sufficient access to the finances they need. Less than a quarter of the financial needs of small-scale farmers in developing countries are met, leaving an annual financing gap of more than US$ 150 billion according to Blending4AG – an initiative by CTA Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation which is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU).

A paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems

In The state of Food and Agriculture (2016), FAO underline the need for “a profound transformation of food and agriculture systems worldwide.” The report from the International panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES) has some of the same message, and it points out a way forward. One of the key messages in the report is:

“What is required is a fundamentally different model of agriculture based on diversifying farms and farming landscapes, replacing chemical inputs, optimizing biodiversity and stimulating interactions between different species, as part of holistic strategies to build long-term fertility, healthy agro-ecosystems and secure livelihoods, i.e. ‘diversified agroecological systems’.”

We, the organizations that have signed on to this letter, agree on the need for a paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems. Such a shift combined with drastically increase of the support to small-scale agroecological and other forms of sustainable agriculture are necessary to reach many of the SDGs. We ask the governments in all countries to spend at least 10% of the national budgets for support of sustainable agriculture, primarily for small-scale farmers.

June/July 2017

To sign on the letter, please write us at [email protected]
The letter is available in English, Spanish and French.

Signatory Organizations (updated on 13th June 2017)

1. More and Better Network, Cameroun/International
2. Food Tank, USA / Global
3. Centre for Agroecology Water and Resilience at Coventry University, UK
4. Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum (KESSFF), Kenya
5. Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment (SWAGEN) Uganda
6. La Fédération Nationale pour l’Agriculture Biologique (FENAB), Sénégal
7. L’Association Sénégalaise pour la Promotion de l’Agriculture Biologique (ASPAB)
8. IFOAM Organic International
9. Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly, Nigeria ( EBAFOSA)
10. Manavodaya, Institute of Participatory Development, India
11. Voice of Wilderness Developmental Organization, Ethiopia
12. Church Aid Inc. Church Aid, Liberia
13. North East Chilli Producers Association, Uganda
14. Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First, USA / Global
15. Maendeleo Endelevu Action Program (MEAP)
16. S-PTA (Agroecology and Family Farming), Brazil
17. ANA (National Agroecological Network), Brazil
18. Local Matters, USA
19. Pesticide Action Network, International
20. Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA).
21. School and Colleges Permaculture Programme (SCOPE) Kenya
22. Le Centre d’Actions pour la Sécurité Alimentaire et le Développement Durable (CASAD) Bénin
23. SIANI, Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative
24. North East Chilli Producers Association (NECPA) LTD , Uganda
25. Société coopérative multifonctionnelle Alternatives de Développement Pour la Vie sur Terre, Mali
26. NGO SOL, Alternative agroecologiques et solidaires
27. ActionAid International
28. Kikandwa Environmental Association, Uganda
29. Asociación de Instituciones de Promoción y Educación, AIPE, red de ONG, Bolivia
30. USC Canada
31. The Oakland Institute, USA
32. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), USA / Global

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Addressing the Challenges of Food Insecurity and Environmental Degradation in Zambia

Title Addressing the Challenges of Food Insecurity and Environmental Degradation in Zambia
Contributor Oakland Institute
Author Oakland Institute
Content Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) has helped people address the challenges of food insecurity and environmental degradation while conserving wildlife and other natural resources. COMACO is one of the few programs that operate at the scale of an entire ecosystem—contributing to increased wildlife numbers, better protected habitats, improved food security, and better incomes.

This case study was produced by the Oakland Institute. It is copublished by the Oakland Institute and the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa AFSA). A full set of case studies can be found at www.oaklandinstitute.org and www.afsafrica.org

Type of initiative Case Studies
Year Published
Language English
Africa ZAMBIA
Link http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/addressing-environmental-degradation

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Title Building, defending and strengthening agroecology
Contributor Center for Agroecology Water & Resilience, ILEIA
Author Colin Anderson, Csilla Kiss, Michel Pimbert
Content This publication is based on a research conducted on the meaning and politics of agroecology from social movement perspectives.
It is associated with this video
Type of initiative Article
Year Published
Language English
Link http://www.agroecologynow.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Farming_Matters_Special.pdf

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Watch the video below.

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Title Climate Resilience Sustainable Agriculture Experiences
Contributor ActionAid
Author
Content This document summarises case studies from ten countries through ActionAid’s approach to climate resilient sustainable agriculture, which incorporates agroecology in a human rights framework. Based on these experiences ActionAid recommends to increase investment in agroecology, as part of a comprehensive human rights based approach:

  • In particular in ensuring public agriculture research works with nature, taking cognisance of the natural ecological functioning;
  • That public agriculture scientists are encouraged to work with farmers to define their research priorities, disaggregating the priorities of male and female farmers;
  • That extension agents are trained on sustainable agronomic practices and farm management, which can have significant benefits in terms of building resilience, adapting to climate change, and improving production and food security;
  • Of course, all this needs to be underpinned by support for smallholder farmers’ organisations, including women farmers’ unions, to both engage effectively with markets and with government to influence public policy in their favour.
Type of initiative Case Studies
Year Published 2014
Language English
Asia AFGHANISTAN, BANGLADESH, CAMBODIA, CHINA, MYANMAR, NEPAL
Africa MOZAMBIQUE, RWANDA
South America BRAZIL, Nicaragua
Link http://ag-transition.org/wp-content/pdf/2014-CRSA_Experiences-September_2014_SMALL.compressed.pdf

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Title Nourishing the World Sustainably: Scaling Up Agroecology
Contributor Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance
Content The cases, the research and the studies to which this Report refers clearly show that in Africa, Asia and Latin America there are many Ngos and farmer-led initiatives promoting agroecological production that have demonstrated a positive impact on the livelihoods of millions of people living in small farming communities.  Agroecology has consistently proven capable of sustainably increasing productivity and has far greater potential for fighting hunger, particularly during economic and climatically uncertain times that in many areas are becoming the norm.
Successfully scaling up agroecology depends heavily on enhancing human capital and empowering communities through training and participatory methods that seriously take into account the needs, aspirations and circumstances of smallholders. At the same time major reforms must be made in policies, institutions, and research and development agendas.
Year Published 2013
Language English
Link http://tinyurl.com/lhh8pjn

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Title Farmers in Focus: Advocate for sovereign seed systems
Contributor AgriculturesNetwork
Author Holly Whitesides
Content Holly Whitesides and her husband are trying to go “against the grain” of industrial agriculture in the United States. They use their family farm and their work on saving seed to convince other farmers and groups of the importance of a sovereign seed stock.
Type of initiative Interview
Year Published
Language English
North America U.S.
Link http://www.agriculturesnetwork.org/magazines/global/family-farming/farmers-in-focus

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La Durette, a pilot agroecological farm

Title La Durette, a pilot agroecological farm
Contributor GRAB (Groupe de Recherche en Agriculture Biologique)
Author François Warlop
Content La Durette is a pilot farm in agroecology located in Avignon, France. Its aim is to set up innovative mediterranean agricultural systems, mixing crops under agroforestry in various designs – mainly fruits and vegetables, and integrating animals into the systems. 

The 5-hectares farm will be managed by 2 farmers from 2015 on, in order to see if such innovative complex systems are easy to manage, and still competitive.

Type of initiative Research
Year Published
Language Français
Europe FRANCE
Link http://www.grab.fr/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/dossier-Durette-oct-13.pdf

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Title Food as a commons: reframing the narrative of the food system
Contributor Universite Catholique de Louvain
Content In this working paper by Jose Luis Vivero*, the very nature of food as a pure private good is contested and subsequently reversed in order to provide a sound foundation for the transition towards sustainable food systems.The proposal is a re-conceptualisation of food as a common good, a necessary narrative for the redesign of the dominating agro-industrial food system that merely sees food as a tradable commodity. This aspirational transition shall lead us to a more sustainable, fairer and farmer-centred food system.

The idea of the commons is applied to food, deconstructing food as a pure private good and reconstructing it as an impure commons that can be better produced and distributed by a hybrid tri-centric governance system compounded by market rules, public regulations and collective actions.

1. A brief explanatory text can be found in the UN University website
2. The powerpoint on the tricentric mode of governance can be found here

 

* PhD research fellow at the Catholic University of Louvain,

Author/s Jose Luis Vivero
Year Published 2013
Language English
Link http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2255447

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