The New Alliance sidelines the diverse and sustainable food systems of small-scale farmers which offer the real potential for food security and nutrition in Africa. Instead, it promotes environmentally damaging approaches to agriculture that entrench corporate power.
More than two years after the launch of the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, what we have seen of its ‘progress’ does not change our assessment that the New Alliance actually undermines food security, nutrition and the progressive realization of the right to food in Africa. First on-the-ground research suggests a dramatic gap between development rhetoric and impacts. There is no sign that the New Alliance is lifting African people out of poverty, but the promise to “unleash the power of the private sector” is very visibly being fulfilled. Although the New Alliance rhetorically refers to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), we clearly see that the processes and components of CAADP targeted to the benefits small-scale food producers are sidelined.
When the New Alliance was inaugurated in the US in Camp David in 2012, it immediately became obvious that this initiative essentially served to enable private corporations to influence agricultural policy to advance their own interests. It is pressuring African governments to adopt domestic policy reforms that will facilitate large corporations’ investments in agriculture and discriminate against those who actually make the bulk of the investments, namely small-scale producers themselves.
Such profound legislative and policy changes threaten small-scale farmers’ control over land and seeds, marginalize local markets and cause loss of biodiversity and soil fertility, to the detriment of the livelihoods of local communities. They will exacerbate future climate and economic shocks for small-scale farmers, instead of building their resilience to cope with such shocks. They are being made without national debate, thereby undermining democratic structures.
Lack of transparency in the New Alliance – where donor and corporate commitments and implementation are, as in the Progress Report 2013-14, only reported at summary level – makes it extremely difficult for civil society to get a full picture of the New Alliance implementation. However, first concrete cases indicate that the New Alliance is far from serving as an effective tool to support small-scale farmers. For instance:
In Burkina Faso the commitment to develop and rehabilitate irrigated land in the Bagré Growth Pole Project is mostly reserved for large-scale agribusiness investors, with only 22% (2790ha) of the land available for small-scale farming. Usually these farmers are only granted 1 to 4 ha of land with hardly any opportunity to scale up.
In Malawi, the enlargement of tobacco investments by multinational companies is presented as a contribution to food security and the commitment to improve access to land has been implemented by making 200.000 ha of land available to agribusiness; meanwhile the need to adopt the Tenancy Labour Bill as a core instrument to ensure minimum tenant’s and worker’s rights have been ignored in the cooperation framework agreement.
In Tanzania and Mozambique, new seed laws are going to be introduced that will criminalize farmer-to-farmer seed exchange in the future. In other countries, such as Ghana and Malawi, similar processes are under way.
This evidence supports our analysis that the New Alliance sidelines the diverse and sustainable food systems of small-scale farmers which offer the real potential for food security and nutrition in Africa. Instead, it promotes environmentally damaging approaches to agriculture that entrench corporate power.
We therefore urge you to review your engagement in the New Alliance, and take the following steps:
1. Stop any legal and policy changes that facilitate large-scale land investments and that impede small-scale farmers ability to save, exchange and sell their seeds.
2. Stop any further expansion of the New Alliance. No further cooperation framework agreements should be developed.
3. Review existing projects and policy reform indicators with the meaningful involvement of the populations most affected, and withdraw from those that fail to promote the right to food and the legitimate tenure rights of women and communities, or that prioritize business interests over vulnerable people and the environment.
4. Make the letters of intent of the companies participating in the New Alliance public immediately in order to enable a legitimate public debate about likely impacts and assessment of the New Alliance.
5. Support small-scale producers’ own investments as advised by the Committee on World Food Security, by putting women, small-scale farmers and other marginalised groups at the center of any future strategy and project for food security and nutrition in Africa; making sure that human rights and environmental impact assessments are carried out to ensure that projects only move forward if they are found not to have negative impacts on human rights and the environment.
6. Support adoption of agroecological practices by small-scale farmers to build resilience through: participatory research in agroecology; dissemination of ecological farming knowledge via farmer-to-farmer networks; and capacity-building of extension services to advise farmers on how to practice ecological farming.
September 19, 2014
Pesticide Action Network
Global Policy Forum
Seeds Action Network
German NGO Forum Environment & Development
Brot für die Welt – Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst
UK Food Group
The permaculture association
World Development Movement
Find Your Feet
Farms Not Factories
War on Want
FIAN group UK
Pesticide Action Network
Send a Cow
FIRAB (Fondazione Italiana per la RIcerca in Agricoltura Biologica e Biodinamica)
SOLIDARIETA’ E COOPERAZIONE CIPSI.
Comitato Italiano per la Sovranità Alimentare
La Gabbianella Coordinamento per il Sostegno a distanza onlus
CEFA – Il seme della solidarietà
SOLIDAUNIA ONLUS-LA DAUNIA PER IL MONDO
Centro Mondialità Sviluppo Reciproco (CMSR)
Forum Permanente delle Associazioni di sostegno a distanza (ForumSad)
ACU-Associazione Consumatori Utenti
Rete Cibopertutti -Kumida
COCIS – Coordinamento delle Organizzazioni non governative per la Cooperazione Internazionale allo Sviluppo
Fondazione Slow Food per la Biodiversità Onlus
FORUM DEL TERZO SETTORE DEL LAZIO E RETE DELLE FATTORIE SOCIALI
Action contre la faim France
Peuples Solidaires – Action Aid France
Avocats et vétérinaires sans frontières (AVSF)
Collectif pour la défense des terres malgaches – TANY
Artisans du monde – France
Centre de Recherches et d’Appui pour les Alternatives de Developpement – Ocean Indien
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
The Second Chance Fd
Global Policy Forum
National Farmers Union
Africa Japan Forum
No to land grab
Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC)
Mura-Machi Net”, Network between Village and Town”
Corporate Europe Observatory
Africa Europe Faith & Justice Network
Entraide et Fraternité
FEC – Fundação Fé e Cooperação
AIDGLOBAL – Action and Integration for Global Development
FUNDAÇÃO GONÇALO DA SILVEIRA
 Feed the Future, 2012: Five Questions about the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, http://feedthefuture.gov/article/five-questions-about-new-alliance-food-security-and-nutrition
 Cameron, David, 2012: „A G8 Meeting that goes back to first principles, http://tinyurl.com/oj8vtqh
 Oxfam 2014, For Whose Benefit? The G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Burkina Faso. http://tinyurl.com/o3g5vlm
 See for instance: Tanzanian Civil Society Statement on Farmer’s Rights 22 March 2013, http://tinyurl.com/qddvtoz; see also: African Center for Biosafety, 2013, Slavishly following UPOV 1991. A critique of Mozambique’s Plant Variety Protection Law, http://www.acbio.org.za/index.php/publications/seedfood-sovereignty/459-slavishly-following-upov-1991