Our new policy brief outlines how funding for agroecology can be improved.
There are growing calls to transform the current food system in response to hunger, malnutrition, climate change and biodiversity loss. Financial institutions and donors and other actors have tended to focus on increasing productivity and developing global value chains, which has caused great harm to the environment while failing to end hunger, poverty, and inequalities.
This is where agroecology comes in: an alternative vision that reflects a more fundamental and systemic transformation towards fair and sustainable food systems. In an enabling policy context, agroecology has proven to achieve robust gains in poverty reduction, food and nutrition security, women and youth empowerment and biodiversity and climate resilience.
This new brief outlines how agroecology is distinct from other approaches such as climate-smart agriculture, sustainable intensification or nature-based solutions.
This policy brief offers a series of considerations and recommendations to increase the quantity and quality of funding for agroecology:
• Funding for agroecology should be underpinned by a principle of co-governance where donors are accountable to the most affected. Donors should consider long-term multi-phased support for building agroecology in territories.
• For financial support to be effective in supporting agroecology, a large portion of it needs to be comprised of small to mid-scale grants through food producer organizations and civil society organizations who are close to the ground.
• Currently, agroecology is often marginally, or not at all, included in agricultural funding programs. Donors should closely evaluate their funding programs and shift towards agroecology explicitly as a target of funding.
• Agroecology transitions are complex social and participatory processes that require adaptability in how plans are developed and implemented. In this context, it is vital that funders allow for flexibility in spending, activities and in monitoring and evaluation.
• Donors must engage in an in-depth and ongoing dialogue with food producer organizations to examine and increase the quantity and effectiveness of funds that are allocated towards agroecology, and to improve the quality of delivery.
Published by: ActionAid in collaboration with the University of Vermont and Cultivate!
Authors: Colin R Anderson (University of Vermont) and Janneke Bruil (Cultivate!)
Contributors: Tristan Quinn-Thibodeau and Julie Middleton
Coordination: Alberta Guerra
Copy Editor: Brandon Wu
Date published: November 2021
Number of pages: 25