G7 food security initiative criticized by African farmers

Food insecurity seriously affects many people on the African continent. According to the United Nations, in 2022, 281.6 million people on the continent were undernourished. Climate change is a significant part of this, creating significant instability in the growth of staple crops.

The G7 Apuila Food Systems​ aims to combat food insecurity. It plans to mobilize finance for agricultural adoption and mitigation, using food insurance schemes, debt-for-food swaps, increased investment from development banks and helping countries to include food and agriculture in their national climate plans.

The initiative, supported by the Italian presidency of the G7, will focus particularly on Africa.

However, some key players in Africa’s farming communities have criticized the initiative, saying it fails to take into account farmers themselves. Previous G7 initiatives, they suggest, have failed, and many of the same problems threaten to undermine this one’s goals.

What is the objective of this initiative?

The initiative aims to combat food insecurity in countries where it is prevalent, particularly on the African continent.

It aims to alleviate stunting and childhood wasting due to malnutrition which, according to the United Nations (UN), “prevents children from reaching their physical and cognitive potential”.

Unnatural debt

Part of the G7 plans is to further develop “debt swaps”. Debt-for-nature swaps are already an established form of debt relief.

Debt-for-nature swaps are deals to reduce a country’s debt in exchange for protecting vital ecosystems. Considered for the first time by a New York Times Reported in 1982, they help, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), developing countries free up financial resources so they can focus on climate initiatives and other development projects without fiscal risk.

For example, the world’s largest debt-for-nature swap last year, reported by Reuters, saw bank Credit Suisse help Ecuador pay off $1.6 billion in debt for $644 million. In exchange, Ecuador agreed to invest $18 million per year for 20 years in the conservation of the Galapagos.

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