Global institutions news – Post date: August 5th, 2020.

IFPRI: New publication – COVID-19 and global food security

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has just published an open-access e-book, “COVID-19 and global food security”, edited by Johan Swinnen and John McDermott. The book brings together a series of IFPRI blog posts looking at the impacts of COVID-19 and the policy responses. Particularly relevant contributions include chapters:

15. COVID-19 border policies create problems for African trade and economic pain for communities

17. How COVID-19 may disrupt food supply chains in developing countries

18. Impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on vegetable value chains in Ethiopia

29. COVID-19 and the promise of food system innovation

30. COVID-19 and resilience innovations in food supply chains


ITC launches “SheTrades Outlook”

The International Trade Centre and UK Aid have produced a new online tool, “SheTrades Outlook”, which aims “to make trade possible for women by promoting a more inclusive policy ecosystem”. SheTrades Outlook helps track how laws, policies and practices in different countries affect women’s participation in business and trade, covering 83 indicators across six policy areas. From trade policy to the business environment, and from skills development to access to finance, policymakers and other stakeholders can use the tool to understand where countries are doing well and where there is room for improvement. SheTrades Outlook currently covers 25 countries, with a view to expanding globally.

Investing in digital agriculture can help Africa beat the pandemic

An opinion piece by Ban Ki-moon and Patrick Verkooijen of the Global Center on Adaptation (Thomson Reuters Foundation, 1 July) describes how we need to bridge Africa’s data gap to strengthen food, health and economic security, and overcome a predicted continent-wide recession – “there are two ways in which the world can help right now: with data and with investments that strengthen Africa’s food security”.

Data travels on digital networks, which are mostly privately-owned on the continent, and the spread of digital technology has been one of the most striking African success stories over the past 15 years. Last month, more than half a billion Africans accessed the internet. During the current pandemic, mobile money services have been a lifesaver – allowing street vendors and the self-employed to remain in business and transactions to take place without the risk of contagion from handling cash. Right now, Africa is making full use of its digital communications networks to collect information on the pandemic and to push out health and hygiene messages. For example, in Ghana the start-up Farmerline is sharing vital COVID-19 updates with farming communities through a voice messaging service. Start-ups and NGOs are also working to deliver timely information to farmers. This takes many forms: market prices for agricultural commodities delivered to farmers’ mobile phones, climate forecasts and tips on how to deal with livestock disease or pest outbreaks. All allow farmers to make more informed decisions on when to plant and when to sell, a potential lifesaver for the 60% of Africans whose income is dependent on the land.

“Everyone has a key role to play in building out the continent’s digital networks, in expanding lifesaving data services and investing in agribusiness. This is the moment to think of critical projects that can be scaled up to deliver greater health, food and economic security for Africa.”

Read the full opinion piece here.

IFAD and AFD: promoting resilient sustainable agriculture in Angola

The International Fund for Agricultural Development of the United Nations (IFAD) has announced support for a new project to boost agricultural productivity, improve food and nutrition security, and build the resilience of at least 218,000 rural families in Angola who are vulnerable to climate shocks (Africa Agribusiness, 16 July). The $150 million Smallholder Resilience Enhancement Project (SREP) will target young people and women who are vulnerable to climate shocks. The project will promote sustainable practices such as the introduction of drought-tolerant crop varieties, adaptation of cropping calendars and rainwater harvesting. It will invest in small-scale irrigation, increased access to water and climate-resilient farming practices. SREP will be implemented in seven provinces in arid, semi-arid and sub-humid agroecological zones – Bengo, Zaire, Uige and Cuanza Norte in the north and Benguela, Cunene and Namibe in the south. It will also strengthen the national private sector’s capacity to improve delivery of advisory and climate information services tailored to family farmers’ needs. Funding includes a $29.8 million loan from IFAD, as well as cofinancing from the French Development Agency (AFD) ($42 million) and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa ($40 million). The Government of Angola is providing $10 million, with a further $6.5 million contributed by stakeholders. The financing gap of $21.7 million will come from IFAD resources or from other development partners identified during implementation.

OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2020–2029

The recently published Agricultural Outlook 2020–2029 is a collaborative effort of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agricultura Organization (FAO), prepared with input from the experts of their member governments and from specialist commodity organisations. It provides a consensus assessment of the ten-year prospects for agricultural and fish commodity markets at national, regional and global levels. The baseline projections highlight fundamental economic and social trends driving the global food sector. Part 11, related to “Other products”, provides market situation and projections for banana, mango, mangosteen and guava, pineapple, avocado and papaya.

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