G20 AgResults Initiative and NGO Response

Reuters, courtesy the Thomson Reuters Foundation – AlertNet

At a press conference on Monday, June 18, British Prime Minister David Cameron, along with the Australian and Canadian prime ministers, announced the launch of a new $100 million AgResults prize fund to stimulate technological agriculture innovations. The program, agreed to at the Toronto G20 in 2010, will be administered by the World Bank. The first round of funding will aim to improve maize production.

While NGOs met the announcement with generally positive statements, they also expressed concerns about the limited focus on nutrition, the lack of focus on investment in women smallholder farmers and the lack of focus on food price volatility. Statements by ActionAid, World Vision and ONE are below.  

 

The key elements, as described in their press statement, included:

  • A fund of up to $100 million, administered by the World Bank.
  • Support by Australia, Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 
  • AgResults will use a pull mechanism to encourage innovation through prizes that are paid when objectives or milestones are met.
  • AgResults plans to launch a series of pilots to address significant problems in global food security and agricultural development.
  • The pilots will represent a mix of agriculture and food security issues, testing different types of pull mechanisms in different regions globally. The initial set of pilots, focusing on maize production in sub-Saharan Africa, include:
  1. Incentivizing the adoption of on-farm storage technology for smallholder farmers;
  2. Encouraging innovative distribution of a breakthrough technology to reduce aflatoxin contamination; and
  3. Building a market for new vitamin A-enhanced varieties of maize.

 

NGO reaction statements:

World Vision

"We welcome the focus and attention these countries are giving to hidden hunger and the global scandal of 170 million stunted children whose futures are threatened, however these children must become a greater priority of Ag-Results.

"The first round of funding is aimed at increasing maize production, which has one element on improving nutrition, with further nutrition focused funding to follow in coming years. Although we want to see production increases we believe there is no need or rationale for delaying the bulk of the nutrition programs in this project and the production targets should include other key global staples like wheat and rice."  

– Adam Taylor, VP Advocacy, World Vision


ActionAid USA

"We commend the involved governments for placing food security for smallholders at the heart of the G20 summit with this initiative."

"But beyond this, the G20 need to scale up public investment in women smallholder farmers. G20 leaders should also launch a concerted effort to tame food price volatility by committing to drop damaging biofuels subsidies and mandates."

– Neil Watkins, Director of Policy and Campaigns, ActionAid USA 

ONE

"Too many G20 pledges have fallen by the wayside, so it is welcome that today an initiative announced in Toronto in 2010 has come to fruition.

“The AgResults initiative will help drive private sector investment into innovative agricultural solutions. It will help fund technological solutions to problems that are too often ignored.  Canada, the UK, and Australia have shown important leadership to get this initiative underway.  But this must be the start, not the end, of what the Los Cabos summit delivers on food security.”

– Joe Powell, Policy and Advocacy Manager, ONE