piebalgsEuropean Commissioner Andris Piebalgs presented to the APPG on Agriculture and Food for Development on Monday morning (10th June 2013).

The Commissioner discussed his “agenda for change on sustainable agriculture as well as on food and nutrition security”.

He mentioned that agriculture is now seen as a priority issue in Sub-Saharan Africa and in fragile states.

Of the 3 EC funding envelopes for development: country envelopes now have around 40/50% of their budget dedicated to agriculture, as well as money allocated through thematic and regional envelopes.

Commissioner Piebalgs noted that, “Higher investment in agriculture leads to higher economic growth. It makes good business sense.”

Members of the APPG questioned the Commissioner on the challenges facing agriculture in Africa. It was noted that “investment in Africa in infrastructure is incredibly low and a lot of capital is needed from donors and African governments themselves to invest in rural infrastructure which will benefit agriculture.”

Mr Piebalgs repeatedly stated that, “Irrigation is chronically underinvested in and this is an area which must be invested in” to successfully achieve the potential of agriculture to help farmers grow out of poverty.

Fundamentally the Commissioner agreed with our sentiments that “farmer centred initiatives are necessary and no one should forget that this is smallholder’s and women's agenda.”