The government presented Fighting Poverty through Agriculture, its new Plan of Action for Agricultural Development in Development Policy, on May 18. Under the plan, assistance to agricultural development will be scaled up considerably. The plan sets out 50 measures for promoting agricultural development in developing countries.
“Three-quarters of the world’s poor live in rural areas, and most of them have farming as their livelihood. Thus improving conditions in this sector is a central tool in the fight against poverty. Norwegian assistance to the agricultural sector is now 3.9% of its total development assistance. This is much too low. The government’s goal is therefore to increase support for agricultural development considerably in the next few years,” said Minister of International Development Hilde F. Johnson.
The plan of action has a holistic approach in which agricultural development is part of a broader strategy for private sector development that considers the entire production chain from field to table. Support for increasing productivity will mainly be directed at small and medium-sized farms, since improvements here will have the greatest impact on rural poverty. One of the plan of action’s priorities is to improve food security; long-term food security cannot be achieved without sustainable agricultural development. The sustainable utilization of natural resources is a priority in Norway’s efforts in all areas and through all channels.
The government will identify two or three pilot countries for the planned increase in support for agriculture. Potential candidates are Zambia, Malawi, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique and Madagascar. The assistance will be in line with the countries’ own poverty reduction strategies, and the specific measures to be employed will be chosen in close co-operation with the partner countries’ governments and other donors, so that a broad range of measures is implemented that will cover the entire production chain and the relevant framework conditions. These include competence-building, education, health care, land use and property rights, infrastructure and organizational structures.
Research and education are essential for effective agriculture. Norway will therefore seek to ensure that agricultural development is based on up-to-date knowledge.
Norway will enhance the developing countries’ own capacity to benefit from the multilateral trading system by improving their negotiating capacity and their ability to participate in regional and international trade. Ensuring formal access to international markets for developing countries is important but not sufficient in this connection. They also need considerable technical and financial assistance to develop production methods and products that meet Western quality and safety standards. (M2 PressWIRE)