Joint statement by IFAD and France on the Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission (FARM) initiative

Photo Credits: IFAD website

Photo Credits: IFAD website

Yaoundé 27 July – In the current context of emergency, France and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) yesterday reaffirmed their joint commitment to averting a global food crisis and investing in more resilient and sustainable agriculture. The COVID-19 pandemic and, more recently, the war in Ukraine have worsened the state of food security and nutrition. Already in 2020, more than 800 million people were chronically food insecure according to the United Nations; the situation is particularly worrying in Africa, where more than one in five people have faced hunger.

This joint mobilisation is part of the European initiative FARM (Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission). Launched during the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the FARM initiative is structured around three pillars dedicated respectively to the fluidity of trade, solidarity with the countries most exposed to the consequences of the crisis and support for sustainable production in developing countries. IFAD has officially agreed to take over the secretariat of the third pillar of the FARM initiative. This “sustainable production” pillar will promote sustainable agricultural practices that ensure food security and nutrition, while combating climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation.

Four priority areas for action have been identified: increasing local production capacity, supporting the consumption of safe and quality local products, developing domestic markets and integrating regional markets, and combating food loss and waste. This roadmap will require the mobilisation of all food system actors, states and relevant regional and political organisations, international financial institutions, bilateral development agencies, but also farmers' organisations, research, local authorities and civil society. With IFAD's technical expertise, the third pillar of FARM will increase synergies between all stakeholders, strengthen the action of key actors such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP), and federate donors around high-impact projects for food security and nutrition, particularly on the African continent.

The success of this ambition through FARM will rely in particular on the commitment of developing countries to transform their food systems, and of donors to support the initiative with an ambitious financing plan. It will also rely on strong coordination, within the framework of the efforts of the UN Global Crisis Response Group and the G7 Global Alliance for Food Security (GAFS) initiative, of which actions through FARM will be an important component.

As reaffirmed by the President of the French Republic and the President of IFAD during a visit to the Cameroonian capital Yaoundé yesterday, the role of the private sector will also be decisive in anchoring these partnerships in the long term, and it will be necessary to mobilise the appropriate financing tools to integrate companies into FARM's roadmap.

Finally, the production pillar of FARM will expend on existing initiatives to build more sustainable and resilient agriculture and food systems, including, for Africa, the Great Green Wall, the African Union's Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, and Team Europe's commitment to a transition to sustainable food systems, embodied in particular by the plant protein initiative launched at the African Union-European Union Summit on 18 February of this year.

France will support IFAD by fully funding for the first year of a secretariat dedicated to the initiative, for an amount of USD 3.2 million, and by providing technical support, with a particular focus on impact assessment. Furthermore, through a memorandum of understanding signed yesterday, the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and IFAD are strengthening their collaboration and committing to maximizing synergies between the programs they support. As a first concrete and joint contribution to Pillar 3 of the FARM initiative, AFD has expressed its interest in engaging in a joint dialogue with the authorities in Cameroon and with IFAD around a five million euro financial contribution to the Agricultural Value Chain Development Support Project. This project demonstrates the potential for acceleration that the production pillar of FARM should allow.

This article was originally published by IFAD.