On Thursday, April 22, the US Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, announced the launch of a “global program on agriculture and food security”, intended to fight the chronic malnutrition facing over a billion people today. While the program follows up on the promises made by the G8 in 2009 in L’Aquila (Italy), it’s not surprising that the announcement was made in the offices of the US administration, which has always made agriculture and food a key part of its strategic plans.
Placed under the supervision of the World Bank, the program is currently being backed by four countries (the United States, Canada, Spain and South Korea), which have promised to earmark 880 million dollars for this purpose. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will also participate in the program, contributing both expertise (the charity has also devoted 1.5 billion dollars to agricultural development), and funding (the Foundation will contribute 30 million dollars to the program).
According to the founder of Microsoft, who considers food security as the world’s most urgent concern after health, the program will be principally aimed at small producers, on whom the livelihood of half of the world’s population directly depends. The setting up of this fund and the missions assigned to it are good news for the international community in the fight against hunger in the world. Let’s hope this program proves to be effective and gives the international community new direction for its actions in the area, which up to now have been concentrated on farmers with the greatest potential, that is to say those who already have a certain level of productivity1.
1 See momagri article “La communauté internationale se trompe de cible dans la lutte contre la faim” (“The international community sets the wrong target in the fight against hunger,”), May 3, 2010