A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
A look at the news

Quel rôle pour quel type de secteur privé pour l’agriculture et la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle ?

Concord, Rapport, 30 Novembre 2017

4 Décembre 2017

Concord, la confédération européenne des ONG de secours et de développement à laquelle participe notamment Handicap International et Oxfam, vient de produire un rapport
1 très critique sur la stratégie et les politiques de l’Union Européenne en matière de développement des pays pauvres. Alors que les phénomènes migratoires touchant l’Europe s’intensifient, cette analyse dont nous reproduisons un extrait ci-après, tombe à point nommé.

Selon Concord, l’UE ne cible pas assez son aide sur les petits producteurs locaux mais privilégie trop les grandes entreprises. Elle alimenterait ainsi « l’immigration involontaire des pays sub-saharien vers l’Europe dont les causes structurelles trouvent leurs racines dans des décennies de négligence vis-à-vis des économies rurales et des sociétés basées sur l’agriculture familiales, qui ont miné les perspectives des jeunes populations à vivre dans la dignité sur leur territoire d’origine. »

Parmi les moyens mis en avant par l’UE, la confédération critique notamment la logique des Partenariat-Public-Privé (PPP), les accords de libre-échange et les recommandations quant au recours aux outils de gestion des risques dans l’agriculture. De là à penser que derrière la politique de développement se cache surtout la volonté de s’ouvrir ou de créer de nouveaux marchés il n’y a qu’un pas. De manière plus générale, les auteurs soulèvent que la politique de l’UE « traite la nourriture et l’agriculture comme n’importe quel produit à échanger ». Ce constat sans concession et les perspectives démographiques du continent africain devraient amener l’UE à changer d’orientations. Quoiqu’il en soit, alors que la PAC continue de vider les campagnes européennes, on ne peut pas reprocher à l’UE d’être dans l’incohérence entre sa politique de développement et sa politique agricole. Jusqu’à quand ?

La Rédaction Momagri

The EU has progressively intensified its engagement with the ‘private sector’ in its development cooperation policies over the past decade, which has resulted in the introduction of incoherencies between the policy objectives and the means proposed to attain them. The EU Policy Framework to Assist Developing Countries in Addressing Food Security Challenges, adopted in 2010 in the wake of the 2007-2008 food price crisis, focused on enhancing the incomes of small-scale producers and the resilience of vulnerable communities by promoting coherent public food policies at national, regional and global levels within a Right to Food optic. CONCORD has repeatedly stressed its support for this policy framework. In 2011, the EU ‘Agenda for Change’ paved the way for private sector engagement in development, stating that “Crucial to developing countries’ success is attracting and retaining substantial private domestic and foreign investment and improving infrastructure…”. “The EU,” it suggested, “should develop new ways of engaging with the private sector, notably with a view to leveraging private sector activity and resources for delivering public goods. It should explore up-front grant funding and risk-sharing mechanisms to catalyse public-private partnerships and private investment”.

The private sector category referred to here was clearly that of agribusinesses, not small-scale producers. Nonetheless, the Agenda for Change stipulated that “In agriculture, the EU should support sustainable practices, including the safeguarding of ecosystem services, giving priority to locally developed practices and focusing on smallholder agriculture and rural livelihoods, formation of producer groups, the supply and marketing chain, and government efforts to facilitate responsible private investment.” In a subsequent Communication, ‘A stronger role of the private sector in achieving inclusive and sustainable growth in developing countries’ (2014), the Commission announced its intention to promote private sector engagement in sustainable agriculture and agribusiness through such actions as linking farmers to markets through market-driven models; building the capacity of agri-business SMEs and smallholder farmers and enhancing their access to finance, market information and technologies; accelerating sustainable local and global trade in agricultural commodities; developing risk management instruments; and supporting inclusive Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and business models.

The Commission also pledged to develop “innovative” financial mechanisms and blending opportunities encouraging PPPs. An important reference for DG Trade in this regard is the Trade for All strategy (2015) which formulates as its point of departure ‘a trade and investment policy which is based on values and which minimizes any negative impact on LDCs and other countries most in need.’ It explicitly commits to promote sustainable development, human rights and good governance around the world. Yet, in concrete terms, the trade and investment policy does not take into account the pivotal importance of the agriculture sector for pro-poor rural development in developing countries. The policy treats food and agriculture as any other product to be traded. Nor does it include any reference to the need to promote and protect short food supply chains and the many initiatives connecting directly farmers and consumers in European countries, or territorial food systems in the Global South. The EU’s determination to negotiate the Economic Partnership Agreements in the face of strong opposition by African small-scale producers’ organizations and European civil society is a prime example of the risk of incoherence among EU policies relevant to agriculture and food and nutrition security, particularly where trade and engagement with European agri-business are concerned. The latest Commission Communication on A balanced and progressive trade policy to harness globalization (September 2017), like its predecessors, includes no reference to power imbalances between Europe and developing countries. The Commission announces its intention to fight the use of public procurements to favour domestic actors, which can be a powerful tool to support local small-scale farmers as has been successfully done in Brazil. In a related direction, DG AGRI has developed a strong emphasis on export-led agricultural growth in recent years, to compensate for the tight market situation in Europe and its neighborhood, including by exporting its subsidized agricultural production to new markets in developing countries where it competes with the local production. Although this approach is billed as contributing to inclusive agricultural development and food security in Africa, in fact the models of production and distribution it promotes are in contrast with the smallholder and right to food focus of the EU Food Security Policy Framework. DG DEVCO is seeking to apply the 2014 private sector Communication to the realm of agriculture and food security by promoting value chains involving PPPs, and is also developing analytical tools to assess their effectiveness. At the same time, in collaboration with the European Investment Bank and other development finance institutions, it has taken important steps to develop blending mechanisms that draw on public development aid funds to encourage private investment in developing countries. This trend has been reinforced by efforts to address the phenomenon of Europe-bound involuntary migration from sub-Saharan countries whose structural causes are rooted in decades of neglect of family farming and rural economies and societies, which has undermined young people’s prospects for dignified livelihoods in their territories of origin. The EU Partnership Framework on Migration adopted in 2016 states that ‘to address the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement will require giving a much greater role to private investors looking for new investment opportunities in emerging markets.’ The Partnership Framework is accompanied by the European External Investment Plan (EIP) which foresees using 3.35 billion euro from EU budget and EDF to leverage an estimated 44 billion euro from private investors, supported by policy dialogue to improve policy environment for private sector investment and technical assistance to formulate bankable projects. Agriculture is one of the five windows of the EIP but it is yet unclear what kind of agriculture it aims to promote. The documentation available concerns only the financial mechanisms and governance of the EIP, in which no participation by the ‘ultimate beneficiaries’ is foreseen.

The EIP is not an isolated initiative since it is connected to other recent initiatives targeting the private sector, such as the extension of the External Lending Mandate of the EIB outside of Europe, the German-led Marshall Plan for Africa or the G20 Compact for Africa. As the EU starts discussing its next cycle of funding through its multi-financial framework (MFF), it is showing signs that they want blending to be a significant part of its development funding, given that its overall budget will have to be cut following the UK leaving. This means potentially more and more of the EU programmes will be designed within the EIP thinking. The New EU Consensus on Development, adopted in 2017, mainstreams private sector cooperation into the EU’s development cooperation policy, following the direction set by the Agenda 2030 which foresees an important role for the private sector in achieving the SDGs.

While the Consensus commits to continue giving centrality to smallholders, including family farmers and pastoralists, as well as women and young people, it explicitly highlights the importance of supporting agribusiness models: “The EU and its Member States will aim to develop agricultural markets and value chains in partner countries which benefit the poor and encourage the agro-industry to generate jobs and added value.” (Consensus, par. 55). At the same time, however, it emphasizes that “Investments in sustainable agriculture and in the agri-food sector are needed to diversify local and regional production systems”.

1 https://concordeurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/CONCORD_PrivateSector_Agriculture_2017_online.pdf?1fdb40&1fdb40

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Paris, 26 June 2019