Public Policy Overview
The Foodgrains Bank public policy department supports the mission of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank by seeking to change the way that governments (in Canada and other countries) and international institutions act when dealing with food insecure people in developing countries. As a small department, we choose carefully which issues we tackle. We consider the importance of the issue for food insecure people as well as our ability to influence the outcome. We are currently working on the following topics:
- Canadian Aid to Smallholder Farmers in Developing Countries – Canada has recently made Food Security one of three aid priorities after two decades of declining efforts. The Foodgrains Bank works with CIDA and other Canadian aid organizations to make this aid as effective as possible for smallholder farmers.
- The International Food Assistance System – Canada is a major food assistance donor noted for its ‘no strings attached’ approach to helping people facing immediate hunger. The Foodgrains Bank continues to work with Canadian aid officials to ensure that all Canadian food aid is as effective as possible. We also work with aid organizations from Canada, the US and Europe to improve and strengthen international agreements about food aid including policies towards developing food reserves.
- Climate Change and Smallholder Farmers – local partners in Asia and Africa tell us that small-holder farmers are facing new challenges in adapting to more flooding, more droughts and more storms. There is an urgent need to help these farmers adapt to climate change and to create aid and other policies that empower small farmers in these efforts.
- The Human Right to Food – one of the most effective ways that marginalized hungry people can ensure that their governments consider their food needs is by calling on their governments to implement their human right to food commitments. We are working to build constructive relationships between marginalized people and their governments, which will make a major contribution to ending hunger.
- International Food Price Volatility -- During the 2007-8 Food Price Crisis the Foodgrains Bank realized that not only high food prices but rapidly changing food prices were having a very negative effect on food security in developing countries. Uncertainty about international food prices was increasing the risk facing smallholder farmers and net food importing countries, driving up costs for both groups. The Foodgrains Bank seeks to promote discussion of a wide range of policy responses to a problem which seems likely to stay with us and continue to demand an effective policy response.