Climate may have dominated proceedings at the G8 summit in Italy but leaders have also pledged to boost agricultural investment in the world’s poorest countries.
The major industrialised nations agreed to commit around 10 billion euros over three years to tackle food insecurity. The money aims to ensure food supplies and stimulate long-term agricultural productivity in the developing world. Staffan de Misura from the World Food Programme said: “Food speaks. Either the bag of wheat is reaching the farmer who is trying to develop food for agriculture or food for stability or food for work or food for a school, or it doesn’t reach there, so it’s very easy to check and we can check too. The secret is to be creative about that, in other words how to maximise that bag of wheat or that amount of money to make sure that it is going beyond that.” It remains unclear whether the funding commitment is new money, however leaders said long-term underinvestment in agriculture, price trends and the economic crisis had led to increased poverty and hunger in developing countries. According to the United Nations, the number of people now going malnourished has reached a new record of more than a billion – one sixth of the world’s population.