France seeks international support for its FARM initiative

They came to Rome to seek the support of international agencies on agriculture and food: a delegation from France and the European Commission met, on Tuesday, April 12, with representatives of the World Food Program (WFP), the United Nations for Food and Agriculture (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The objective of these meetings: to link these institutions to the French initiative FARM (Agricultural and Food Resilience Mission), aimed at preventing a global food crisis after the war in Ukraine. Unable to formalize a partnership, the UN agencies have expressed interest, with WFP lending itself to a joint press conference with France and the European Commission.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia, two major exporters of grains and oilseeds, by disrupting world markets, threatens the ability to feed populations already weakened by two years of the Covid-19 pandemic. “It’s a perfect storm on top of a perfect storm”summarized the director of the WFP, David Beasley, while food insecurity has been increasing for several years, under the combined effect of conflicts and global warming. “Faced with this crisis within the crisis, we must think outside the box, which is why I am glad to see France and the European Union taking the lead”Mr. Beasley continued.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers Why the war in Ukraine threatens global food security

Announced by Emmanuel Macron on March 24, the FARM initiative is still being defined. Supported by the European Union, with a favorable echo from the G7, it is based on three pillars: a commercial axis to improve transparency on stocks and curb speculative phenomena that push prices to record levels; a section of solidarity with vulnerable populations affected by the paralysis of grain exports from Ukraine; and a third long-term pillar, aid for the development of agricultural sectors in countries that are currently importers, particularly in the Mediterranean and Africa.

Other instances addressed

If the initiative is piloted directly by the Elysee, it is the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and of Agriculture, Julien Denormandie, who have been sent to Rome. “Our goal is to achieve a coordination mechanism before the end of June and the French presidency of the European Union”Mr. Le Drian said. “Each one of the agencies has certified their agreement to support the initiativeassures M. Denormandie. The FAO to support transparency in stocks, the IFAD to invest in countries that could have difficulties and finally the WFP, strongly committed to preventing a food crisis, for the solidarity component. »

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