Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Second International Dakar Agricultural Forum


At the Second AfricaRice Dakar International Agriculture Forum (18–19 April), the Director General presented strategic inputs to the discussion on the role of agricultural innovation in the context of food security, and AfricaRice scientists participated in a debate on global agricultural regulations and governance in the context of the high and volatile agricultural commodity prices of 2007–2008 and 2010–2011.

The event was organized in Dakar under the aegis of the President of Senegal in collaboration with the French Movement for a World Agricultural Organization (MOMAGRI). Participants included heads of state, vice presidents, prime ministers and agricultural ministers from 40 countries, and representatives from the donor community, R&D organizations and farmers’ associations.

The main purpose of this high-level meeting was to discuss issues relating to the following questions:

·         Under which principles can we regulate agricultural markets to prevent food crises and avoid repeated agricultural crises?
·         What instruments and international cooperation should be put to use to improve food security and fight poverty?

AfricaRice proposed that — as part of the drive for food security for their populations — developing countries should strive to produce at least 80% of their basic foodstuffs. Developing countries should also develop more integrated regional markets that encompass neighboring countries and should consider regional instead of national self-sufficiency as a goal for many of the key food staples, to make the costs of food imports more manageable, even when there are price shocks.

The recommendations of the Second Dakar Forum included the following:

·         Consideration of agriculture and food as global public goods
·         Better regulation of agricultural markets, particularly through the establishment of a central pricing regime, with fluctuation margins for major agricultural commodities
·         Establishment of international and sub-regional food reserves or buffer stocks.

These recommendations were shared with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union, and G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors.

The Presidents of Senegal and Sierra Leone, together with the Prime Minister of Senegal, visited the AfricaRice booth at the Forum and interacted with the Director General.