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Nepal's policy on Agriculture development and food security PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Gyan Chandra Acharya, Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations   
Tuesday, 25 October 2011 06:23

New York- Agriculture is the foundation of the people’s livelihood and socio-economic development in the least developed countries, as more than 70 per cent of our people still depend upon it.

Statement by His Excellency Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya, Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations, on behalf of the Least Developed Countries, at the Second Committee, 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly under agenda item 25: Agriculture development and food security (New York, 24 October 2011)

Mr. Chairman,

I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Least Developed Countries. I associate it with the statement made by the Republic of Argentina on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. I thank the Secretary-General for the presentation of reports under this agenda item.

Agriculture is the foundation of the people’s livelihood and socio-economic development in the least developed countries, as more than 70 per cent of our people still depend upon it. However, the LDCs face multiple challenges in agricultural development and food security due to unavailability of adequate financial resources, under-investment in physical infrastructures, and lack of technology, scientific research and agricultural extension services. Their challenges are compounded by the prevalence of subsistence farming methods and high dependence on primary commodities along with lack of industrialization and weak economic base. Likewise, unavailability and high price of improved seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, lack of appropriate institutions and integrated farm management system have further constrained the efforts of the common farmers, especially those who live in the rural and remote areas. The LDCs have also a higher degree of dependence on commodity exports, and food and fuel imports.

The current global economic and financial crisis, energy crisis and volatility of food prices and adverse impacts of climate change have gravely affected the efforts of LDCs in agricultural development and food and nutrition security undermining their attempts to meet all the internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs that also include eradication of poverty and hunger.  The economic capacity constraints of LDCs have made their agriculture highly dependent upon natural rainwater and traditional methods.

The report of the Secretary-General A/66/277 states, and I quote, “More than 38 Million people were displaced by sudden-onset of climate-related disasters in 2010, undermining their livelihoods and food security. Trends indicated that less predictable, extreme climate events are becoming the norm. By 2050, as many as 20 per cent more people could be at risk of hunger owing to climate-related losses in productivity,” quote ends. So, there is a critical need to focus on adaptation, mitigation and sustainable management of water, land, soil and other natural resources, including the conservation of biodiversity. We are hopeful that the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012 will give due emphasis on sustainable agricultural development and food security, especially in the LDCs.

Mr. Chairman,

If we look at the scale and intensity of impacts of recent volatility in food prices and growing hunger, we find that LDCs are hit hard and disproportionately affected than any other group.  Desertification and drought, salinization, degradation of lands in mountain regions and coastal areas across the LDCs from Sub-Saharan Africa to Asia pacific regions and in Latin America is our daily reality. A majority of people in LDCs presently do not have sufficient food to meet their daily basic nutritional needs. Access to food and their affordability have, therefore, become a major challenge.

The world is unable to ensure basic human right, the right to food to all in the twenty first century, despite the fact that the global food supply is enough to meet the demands of us all. This is a serious challenge to our common conscience. How we can ensure this fundamental right to survival is our common international responsibility.

Eradication of poverty requires promoting agricultural and rural development; building physical infrastructure; enhancing food  and nutritional security supported by adequate investment in long-term agricultural productivity and the provisions of energy, high-yielding and climate resilient seed varieties and other critical agricultural inputs such as fertilizer; generating sufficient productive jobs both in rural and urban areas; and promoting economic diversification. Access to nutritious food is as important as food production.

It is, therefore, highly imperative for LDCs to attain increased agricultural productivity and combat food security challenges, as they have a direct link to sustainable economic growth, poverty alleviation, and peace and security in the society. This requires an enhanced level of international support to LDCs along with appropriate support for building institutional capacities at national and global levels, for governance of food security, for preserving and enhancing food and nutrition security and increasing the productivity of farming systems, increasing resilience in the face of climate risk and developing capacity to withstand agro-ecological and socio-economic shocks. The institutional arrangements for global food security should be further built upon at UN organizations and international financial institutions in a more coherent and sustainable manner ensuring their optimal use, coordination and effectiveness on the livelihood and long-term survival of the people.

Mr. Chairman,

It is disheartening to note that the share of ODA in agriculture has declined sharply over the past decades along with under-investment in this area. The report of the secretary-General states that total public investment in developing country agriculture would need to increase to $120 billion per year to reduce hunger by half by 2015 and eliminate hunger completely by 2025, and that if ODA to agriculture continued to increase in proportion to domestic government expenditures, it would rise to $20 billion per year. It is, therefore, urgent that the international community, especially the development partners, should reverse the declining trend of ODA in agricultural sector and upscale it in a substantial manner.

We also call for the early fulfillment of the commitments made in July 2009 in G-8 Summit as L’Aquila Food Security Initiative to invest $ 20 billion in set-time frame to encourage the targeted rural development of poor countries. We appreciate the work of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme which has agreed to fund national programs in many LDCs. We would like to see it further scaled up and made comprehensive.

The LDCs require an enhanced level of short-, medium-, and long-term investment in sustainable agricultural and rural development for generating maximum employment opportunities for rural poor and ensuring long-term agricultural productivity and food security.

The transfer and use of appropriate, affordable, sustainable and climate resilient agricultural technology that combine local knowledge as well as supportive international trade rules are vital for LDCs. The LDCs require technical and financial support from the developed countries for developing rural infrastructures, knowledge enhancement of farmers, especially the small farm-holders, active participation and involvement of women, easy access to extension services and for the creation of agricultural institutions, availability of finances and better access to markets.

We stress a strong need to fulfill the 2005 pledge by the members of the WTO to ensure the parallel elimination in agriculture of all forms of export subsidies and disciplines on all export measures with equivalent effect to be completed by the end of 2013, as agreed in the Istanbul Programme of Action for the LDCs. The policy measures should be in place to reduce price volatility, including improved information systems for stocks and production, greater transparency in commodity markets, and free movement of food supplies.

Mr. Chairman,

The Istanbul Programme of Action aims at making substantial progress towards eradicating hunger by 2020; substantially increasing investment in rural infrastructure; and ensuring access to safe and nutritious food and emergency food assistance in all LDCs. These goals and objectives are attainable and should be attained. To make these policy measures a reality, LDCs are committed to make their best efforts. In line with so many international commitments, they should be provided with enhanced financial and technical support from all our partners for the development of the agricultural sector and eradication of hunger and insecurity in these countries. An enhanced level of South-south cooperation can play an important complementary role in this regard as well.

I thank you.

-Gyan Chandra Acharya

Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations

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