From summit resolutions to farmers’ fields: Climate change, food security and smallholder agriculture

On 17 February 2010, during the thirty-third session of IFAD's Governing Council, CNN anchor Jim Clancy moderated a high-level panel discussion "From summit resolutions to farmers' fields: Climate change, food security and smallholder agriculture" with Honourable Mizengo Peter Pinda, (MP) Prime Minister of United Republic of Tanzania, Sir Gordon Conway, Professor of International Development; Dr Nahed Mohammed Taher, CEO of Gulf One Investment Bank and one of Forbes magazine's 100 most powerful women; Mr Ajay Vashee, President of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP); Ms Haydee Castillo Flores, Coordinator of the Womens' Forum for Central American Integration; and Kevin Cleaver,  Associate Vice-President, Programmes at IFAD.

Part one: Setting the scene

Beginning with a short video, the panel examines the state of global food security and some of the events that have led to the recent revival in agricultural development.

Part two: A risky business



In part two panellists look at some of the statistics that underline the reality for smallholder farmers on the ground in developing countries

Part three: Strengh in numbers

In part three the discussion revolves around what can happen when farmers have strong economic and social institutions to support them. 

Part four: Getting in right

Part four begins with a success story and the discussion that follows explores what smallholder farmers are capable of with proper investment and government support.


Recent estimates indicate that, as a result of the global food and economic crises of the last two years, more than 100 million people joined the ranks of the hungry. The number of people suffering from hunger and poverty now exceeds 1 billion, while 2 billion people live on less than US$2 a day. The contraction of food supplies experienced during 2007 and 2008 and the subsequent food price spikes threatened the availability and affordability of basic staples for millions of people in countries dependent on food imports. And riots in more than 40 countries provided a stark demonstration that food security is an integral part of overall security, both national and global.

The panel discussed with IFAD's 165 Member States gathered in Rome how to transform summit declarations into reality, by addressing the following challenges:

  • how to create better market conditions to promote private investment in smallholder agriculture;
  • how can governments create policies that support smallholder farmers;
  • how can smallholder farmers compete for scarce agricultural resources such as land and water.

About the panel

Haydee Castillo Flores
Coordinator of the Womens' Forum for Central American Integration, Haydee Castillo Flores is an expert on food security issues. She is an active promoter of rural development programmes in Nicaragua and in Central America.

Jim Clancy
Jim Clancy brings more than three decades of experience covering events that have shaped history. Clancy has hosted several panels featuring some of the world's most prominent figures. On 17 February 2010, he will  bring his international expertise and clarity to today's most pressing issues to the IFAD-hosted panel on "From summit resolutions to farmers' fields: Climate change, food security and smallholder agriculture".

Kevin Cleaver
Kevin Cleaver is Associate Vice-President, Programmes at IFAD. Before joining IFAD in 2006, he held several key positions at the World Bank. He spent several years working and studying in Sub-Saharan and North Africa and has published many books and articles  on agricultural development.

Sir Gordon Conway
Sir Conway is the Professor of International Development at the Centre for Environmental Policy of Imperial College of London. He was a pioneer of sustainable agriculture, also served as President of the Rockefeller Foundation and as Chief Scientific Adviser to DFID.

Dr Nahed Mohammed Taher
Dr Taher is founder and the first female CEO of Gulf One Investment Bank. She has been ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world. She was also head of the Economics Department at King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Ajay Vashee
Ajay Vashee is President of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP), which represents farmers at the world level. Elected in June 2008, he is the first President from a developing country in IFAP's 62-year history. A dairy and crop farmer in Zambia, Vashee has been involved in organized agriculture for over 23 years. He served as President of the Zambia National Farmers Union, where he united diverse national farming interests for the first time in the history of the nation.