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.
Personal account

The global state of food and agriculture



SOFA Report 2013,

FAO


At a time when the various issues and aspects of food security––agricultural development, the environment, economic, social, political and geopolitical stability of nations, trade flows and market financialization––have never been so interrelated, the implementation of a genuine global agricultural and food governance system has never been so crucial.

To do this, the availability of data and indicators to facilitate the local and international decision-making process is vital, as emphasized in the latest FAO report on the global State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA), whose excerpts we are publishing below1.

In fact, designing transparent and adequate assessment indicators and tools represents a crucial input to long-lasting food security and the development of global governance in issues of agriculture and food security. Yet, the major problem lies in the ability of indicators to jointly assess the economic effectiveness and the optimization of food security, two elements that are closely interrelated. With this in mind, the think tank momagri has established a rating agency––the momagri Agency. One of its objectives is providing decision-makers and the various parties involved in agriculture with indicators that can address the issues at the heart of international concerns.

momagri Editorial Board




Better data for better policy-making

Effective policy-making, accountability and advocacy depend on a correct assessment of the nutrition situation. This report showed that in many countries there is a lack of basic data and indicators with which to evaluate and monitor the nutrition landscape. This is also a reflection of the limited research carried out on the linkages between the food system and nutrition, research that is needed to design efficient data collection and help develop cost-effective indicators. The absence of adequate data proved a challenge in Colombia when preparing the Food and nutrition improvement Plan of Antioquia (Garrett and natalicchio, 2011). In Ethiopia, a 2005 survey showed that malnutrition was highest in the regions with highest agricultural productivity. This counter-intuitive situation might not have been recognized without such survey data.

Accurate and timely nutrition data also contribute to the effectiveness of advocacy initiatives (ids, 2012). Collecting outcome data at regular intervals is important for building consensus, coordination and allocation of funds. As such, the demand for information must also be managed across sectors. Effective monitoring is an important part of nutrition governance.


Effective coordination is essential

Because malnutrition has multiple causes – poor diets, unclean water, poor sanitation, illness and poor child care – multisectoral interventions are therefore required and these need to be coordinated. the experience of un Joint Programmes, in particular the programme area “Children, Food security and nutrition” of the mdG Achievement Fund, shows the importance of coordination among all involved stakeholders, particularly local governments and civil society (mdG Achievement Fund, 2013). Effective horizontal coordination is one of the key features of the success of Fome Zero and other, albeit less ambitious, programmes. In brazil, formulation, adoption and implementation of nutrition policies is coordinated by the national system of Food security and nutrition (sisAn). This system consists of 17 ministries and is led by the President. Also in Brazil, the Congress has contributed to intersectoral collaboration through legitimizing policy initiatives and facilitating communication among different stakeholders such as ministries, state and municipal governments and civil society (Acosta, 2011a). Civil society has also played an important part through the national Council on Food security (Conselho nacional de segurança Alimentar e nutricional – ConseA) which consists of two-thirds civil society members and one-third government representatives. ConseA provides support, monitoring and policy advice in the formulation of food and nutrition policies and programmes.

In Peru, success in reducing malnutrition was in part due to economic growth, but more due to improved national coordination structures and mechanisms, more public and private spending on nutrition programmes and the alignment of social programmes with the national nutrition strategy (Acosta, 2011b). An important role in fostering dialogue and coordination was played by the roundtable for Poverty reduction (mesa de Concertación para la Lucha Contra la Pobreza – mCLCP). Since the 1980s, there have been many attempts to establish similar bodies in Latin America and the Caribbean but many had a limited impact because of mixed coordination and dialogue functions, the lack of adequate funding and resources and a lack of political will. The examples of ConseA and mCLCP demonstrate which factors facilitate the successful implementation of mechanisms and bodies that improve the governance of food and nutrition security. There are differences, but the main lessons are common to both:
    • The process must be country-driven.
    • Separate bodies are needed for internal government coordination and for dialogue on policies, participation and coordination of stakeholders’ efforts.
    • Institutional arrangements must have adequate resources.
    • Decentralized bodies must be established to enable these mechanisms to work at national and subnational levels.
The incentives from greater intersectoral cooperation and improved vertical cooperation come in part through the particular funding modalities. For example, Bolsa Família, in Brazil, tied payments to poorer families to school attendance and regular health checks, so creating an incentive for coordination between the Health and education ministries.

Similarly, the school lunch programme was tied to food purchases from local producers. The brazilian government also provided additional support to poorer municipalities to implement the Bolsa Família programme (Acosta, 2011a). In general, transparency in budget allocation is a critical factor for continued intersectoral collaboration. Introduction of new seed types or food products requires legislation and regulation that deal with, for example, environmental and health issues. Here again, cross-sectoral collaboration plays an important role. For example, in burkina Faso and mali the ministries of the environment play a leading role in biosafety regulation, but the ministry of Health also is an important actor, as is the ministry of Agriculture.

At the same time, farmer organizations, rural women’s organizations, consumer organizations, nGos and the food industry are directly involved and each will try to influence the process in its interest (birner et al., 2007). Legislation and regulation are also relevant to the challenge of supply chain governance, which grows more complex with the food system transformation.

Agencies must have the capacity to coordinate, plan, implement, monitor and evaluate. In Zambia, increasing the number of qualified nutritionists in the main coordinating body may improve coordination (taylor, 2012b). Staff training in nutrition is important also to help develop a common language amongst actors in different sectors. In senegal, qualified nGos and training allowed the nutrition enhancement Program to work well at the local level (Garrett and natalicchio, 2011).

Better governance of food systems at all levels, facilitated by high-level political support, is needed to build a common vision, to support evidence based policies, and to promote effective coordination and collaboration through integrated, multisectoral action.


1 The full report is available from FAO’s website http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3300e/i3300e.pdf
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Paris, 22 March 2017