Food Security and Safety Nets
For most of the world’s poor, food security and farming are key to their livelihood. We have provided technical assistance on most aspects of food security, agriculture, animal husbandry and fishery management to address these challenges. We have advised on donor food security strategies and safety net programmes through to strategies to combat animal diseases, such as Avian ‘flu in countries of Asia, and Foot and Mouth Disease in the UK.
The first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, with the target of reducing by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger. Food security is the ability to access sufficient food at an affordable price. The term applies at all levels – from individuals within a household through households, communities, nations to regions. Improving food security is a cross-cutting issue, and critical in achieving the seven remaining MDGs through its impact on health, education, maternal and child mortality, gender equality and disease.
Progress in eradicating hunger and improving food security has been slow. The UN’s own MDG progress report in 2009 found that 74 countries with more than one third of the world’s population are not on track to meet the target. However, the recent food price hikes of 2007 and 2008 have refocused attention onto the issue of food security, and the global linkages between policy, livelihoods and vulnerability. For example, the FAO estimates that the 2008 spike in food prices resulted in 110 million additional people in hunger, with permanent damage to more than 40 million children. At the same time, the increasingly apparent impacts of climate change have highlighted the need for adaptation and mitigation strategies if hunger is to be eliminated.
There are many cross-cutting challenges to achieving food security, which include:
HTSPE takes these challenges seriously and our experience in addressing them has been broad. We have worked at all levels from national policy to the household, and the linkages between the two. Our work has included formulating donor support strategies, programme design and programme evaluation as well as implementation.
The scope of our work has included developing indicators and vulnerability assessment methodologies; writing policy briefs; assessing the impact of climate change on food security; evaluating social protection measures; and the development of agricultural technology and agricultural extension services.
This extensive range of experience has given us a unique understanding of the approaches taken by different donors and UN organisations to food security, as well as of the geographically varied challenges facing food security across the developing world. We also have good working relationships with the different bodies involved in addressing food security having facilitated major food security workshops.
Bangladesh: Market Volatility, Vulnerability And Food Security
Evidence in Bangladesh and the region shows increases in food prices in real terms and likely further increases. To support evidence-based policy and programming responses by the Government of Bangladesh and its development partners, a range of policy briefings and communication events to promote policy dialogue were commissioned by DFID.
The objectives were to:
- analyse the underlying causes of the food situation as well as the actual and likely impacts on different social groups and in different aspects (school attendance; nutrition, diet and access to food; agricultural productivity and food markets; and implications for cross-border regional relationships);
- review the effectiveness of its past and proposed responses, recommending modifications, and taking into account the political economy realities;
- feed into the proposed government’s High Level Policy Committee on Soaring Food Prices and its Technical Secretariat; and
- highlight scenarios, options and trade-offs in relation to joint DFID/government programmes, as well as the Government of Bangladesh’s broader effort.
Five policy briefs were commissioned:
- Implications for Human Development – impacts of food price volatility on nutrition and schooling;
- Price support, domestic procurement programme and public stock management;
- Rice technologies: strategic choices and policy options;
- Input prices, subsidies and farmers’ incentives; and
- Rethinking food security strategy: self-sufficiency or self-reliance.
Worldwide: Towards a Food Security Strategy Paper
The purpose of this assignment was to provide support to the Food Security Unit in DFID by preparing a Food Security Strategy Paper. This provided an essential ‘road map’ for dialogue within DFID and between DFID and other agencies.
Discussions were held with 37 members of selected major international agencies in food security policy and action (FAO, IFAD, WFP, EC, World Bank, IFPRI, USAID, USDA and Oxfam (UK)). The key outputs of the study were:
- a review document containing identification of international food security strategies/policy statements/ action plans of key development agencies;
- institutional mandates and mechanisms which provide insights into conceptualisation of food security objectives;
- selected case study food security programmes and interventions;
- selected case study food security research and training programmes;
- key contacts and human resources; and
- an initial establishment of a food security documentation centre.
The study covered a range of issues such as malnutrition, household (or individual) food security, vulnerability, national food security, food entitlement and food availability. The study sought to give a summary overview of issues and suggestions on possible elements of a Food Security Strategy.
Sudan: Study of the Sustainable Development of Semi-Mechanised Rainfed Farming
This study deals with semi-mechanised farming in specified areas in six states of central Sudan, together with the interrelations and conflicts between this farming system and other land use forms of traditional agriculture, pastoralism and forestry. Declining yields have forced the semi-mechanised farming community to expand into new areas with the consequential devastating effect on the natural resources in these areas.
The objective of the study is to provide information on the status of semi-mechanised farming areas, practical recommendations for its sustained future development, and proposals for implementation together with estimated costs that will enable the Government of National Unity to formulate policy and institutional options for Northern Sudan.
More specifically the study aims, inter alia, to design future land policies, natural resources and land management strategies, and institutional arrangements that will ensure the long term sustainable use of one of Sudan’s major natural resources. In addition, it will also contribute to establishing policies related to equitable allocation of land and water between the semi-mechanised, and traditional small holder farming and pastoralist systems.
Mozambique: Technical Support for Addressing Food Insecurity in 10th EDF Programmes
A complex project addressing the following factors affecting food security:
- Governance and institutional development: political economy analysis of the social and productive sectors and an analysis of the local decision making fora.
- Social safeguards/social safety nets: up-to-date analysis of the "demand" for social protection as a result of the combined effects of HIV and rising food and fuel prices.
The HTSPE team provided support to the EC delegation and enhanced the Delegation’s capacity for policy dialogue on social protection. The services provided could be broadly divided into three categories:
- methodological and analytical support to the EC Delegation in the areas identified above;
- operational support to the Delegation to enable it to become a knowledgeable partner in the policy dialogue in the different coordination platforms or working groups related to social governance and social protection; and
- on an ad hoc basis, elaboration and dissemination of information, targeting staff from partner countries' governmental and non governmental organisations, EU Member States, other stakeholders and the wider public.
Nepal: Support Food Facility to the EC Delegation in Nepal
The EC financed a joint FAO/WFP Food Facility to mitigate the effect of soaring food prices for the most vulnerable households in selected food deficient districts of Nepal. Activities included:
- supporting the implementation of productive safety nets (food for work) aiming at improving and maintaining agricultural infrastructure;
- agricultural productivity activities to facilitate a medium term supply response through provision of inputs and extension services; and
- support to national government to establish food security monitoring systems.
HTSPE provided support to the EC Delegation in Nepal with the launch, management and monitoring of activities financed under the Food Facility. Tasks included technical analysis and advice, such as following up on policy dialogue, and negotiating in the field of food security with the Government of Nepal’s agencies, NGOs, and other donor agencies.
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