With the number of under-nourished people on the African continent still rising, the G8’s recent New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN) initiative is attracting more and more African states.
Bringing together governments from both the North and the South, multinational firms and international agencies, it aims to boost investment in African agriculture so as to increase food security. Improved commercial seeds, use of inorganic fertilisers, infrastructure development and land-administration reforms are among the key elements of the project, based on using public-private partnerships.
After its first year of implementation, NAFSN proponents praise its market-oriented reforms and investments in the six founding African countries. In contrast, both African and global NGOs remain sceptical, pointing to a number of negative repercussions mainly on small-holders, who have been restricted from using traditional methods of seed exchange and land access. NGOs also claim there has been limited impact on food security, since non-food investments have prevailed. Some observers see the NAFSN as primarily serving the interest of multinational corporations seeking to find new markets for commercial seeds and fertilisers, as well as tangible assets in which to invest in the era of global crisis.