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 12 April, representatives of the World Food Program (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The objective of these meetings: to rally these institutions to the French initiative FARM (for Food and Agricultural Resilience Mission), aimed at preventing a global food crisis following the war in Ukraine. Failing to formalize a partnership, the UN agencies have expressed their interest, the WFP lending itself to a joint press conference with France and the European Commission.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia, two major exporters of cereals and oilseeds, by disrupting world markets, threatens the ability to feed populations already weakened by two years of pandemic due to Covid-19. “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 framework, which is why I am happy to see France and the European Union taking the lead”continued Mr. Beasley.

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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 the speculative phenomena that push prices to record levels; a section of solidarity with vulnerable populations affected by the halt in grain exports from Ukraine; and a third long-term pillar, aid for the development of agricultural sectors in countries that are currently importers, particularly around the Mediterranean and in Africa.

Other instances approached

If the initiative is directly piloted by the Elysée, it is the ministers of foreign affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and agriculture, Julien Denormandie, who have been dispatched to Rome. “Our objective is to achieve a coordination mechanism before the end of June and the French presidency of the European Union”explained Mr. Le Drian. “Each of the agencies has certified us of its agreement to support the initiativeassures Mr. Denormandie. The FAO to support transparency on 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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