Panelists on Role for Agricultural Policies for a Sustainable Development at the 16th GDN conference discussed how agricultural policies were not limited to production issues alone and in order to achieve food security, it should be a part of the international trade.
They advocated that a host factors such as consumption, distribution, trade, food security and natural resources drive agricultural policies in the developing world. It was highlighted that in most production systems, increased food supply did not lead to sustainable outcomes, especially in Asia, where non-sustainable intensive agriculture led to deterioration of soils, inefficient use of water and low incomes of farmers.
The panelists, while advocating an increase in public and private investments in R&D, also called for a review of the R&D international system (CGIAR) focus: from small farming to food security and sustainable production systems; increase in technical assistance to developing countries by adopting a participative approach versus a technology transfer approach.
It was also highlighted that food security agenda should be a part of the international trade and investment focus by including food security issues in multilateral trade negotiations; disciplines and rules towards the elimination of trade barriers: balanced agreement on export and import barriers (taxes and NTB) within WTO.
Panelists also suggested that an increase in international financing for infrastructure in developing countries would go a long way in facilitating better agricultural policies.
On the domestic policy side, it was agreed that increase in infrastructure investment to reduce post-harvest loses; coupled with domestic support to promote good agricultural practices instead of input use and eliminating domestic trade barriers to promote production and exports were the most important policy measures to give a fillip to agriculture in developing world.