Erle Frayne D. Argonza

‘Food security’ as a theme has been reverberating the planet for over two (2) decades now. I still recall, upon my return to graduate school in 1997 to take up development studies (w/ global political economy foundation), that food security was already a wave in terms of advocacy clamors.

Since 1998, I was involved in couples of projects about food production, which includes a 550-hectare farm systems development for a sugarworkers’ cooperative (they wished to shift to diverse crops) and a public policy project on fair trade and food security. That, on top of earlier efforts on food enterprise development and financing (1980s).

The most shocking truth about food production is when you, as specialist and expert, would find out first hand that the food producers you deal with are themselves malnourished, low-income earning, and could nil afford to send their kids to school. That is, the food producers themselves are the most food insecure, which is a paradox of capitalist development.

After long engagement on the food sector (among other sectors I got involved in), I am very highly convinced that interventions in the value chain are key to boosting productivity, increasing income, and improving the quality of life of food producers. Value chain should mean up to downstream industrial processing of food to make them more elastic.

Let us take a glimpse at the efforts of the international organization UNIDO in regard to enabling country stakeholders take the road from food production to agro-industries. The efforts do dovetail into interventions on the value-chain.

[Philippines, 14 July 2011]
Source: http://www.unido,org,
Africa’s Agro-industry and Agribusiness Development Initiative (3ADI)

Our goal
The goal of the 3ADI is to have an agriculture sector in Africa which, by the year 2020, is made up of highly productive and profitable agricultural value chains. The initiative aims at accelerating the development of agribusiness and agro-industries sectors that ensure value-addition to Africa’s agricultural products.

The leading agencies: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), join forces to support a well-coordinated effort to enhance development impacts. The cooperation builds on sharing knowledge and harmonizing programmes in ways that capture synergies, avoid fragmented efforts, and enhance developmental impacts.

For the 3ADI concept note: click here
Our vision
Food security in developing countries begins with better, more humane and more honest governance; with fair access to land for the most vulnerable populations; with small farmers association, provided with real bargaining power; with technological development for a more productive agricultural sector, that are also in environmentally friendly.
The solution can be found in collective action and resources undertaken by a variety of actors otherwise independent. For the past three years, UNIDO, FAO and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have been working on the ground in least developed countries to promote the expansion of local and international value chains that benefit the small producers and entrepreneurs, who create jobs and income, and who gradually transform the rural world to turn it into an attractive career proposition to the eyes of the youth in search of a better future.
The resources exist, the will is evident; the question is how to catalyze the convergence of the value chain components in a situation that provides attractive returns to all stakeholders, while addressing at the same time the most necessary of the Millennium Development Goals, reducing poverty and hunger worldwide.
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