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Financing agroecology towards a just food system

Financing agroecology towards a just food system

CIDSE

The radical transformation of food and agriculture systems is urgently needed to address converging social, economic, health and ecological crises, as the potential of agroecology to transform food systems and render them more resilient, sustainable, and inclusive is increasingly recognized and backed by a growing body of scientific evidence. However, only a marginal proportion of public funding is dedicated to agroecology.

To improve the financing of agroecology, CIDSE and the Centre for Agroecology, Water, and Resilience of Coventry University conducted research on how the formats and channels of financing offered to agroecological projects can support the development of a just food system.

Making money move for agroecology is a policy briefing that builds the case for reforming the way agricultural and food systems development is financed to achieve the transformations desperately needed, and puts forward agroecology as the best guide to this transformation.

In a recent CIDSE webinar on finance and agroecology that launched the policy briefing, a synthesis of the research findings was shared that drew on the collective intelligence of leading agroecologists and donors.

Twelve areas were identified through which donors can focus their methods and approach to financing to support more just and sustainable food systems and organized through five sets of recommendations:

  1. Engage in iterative reflection and examination of donor practices
  2. Transform relationships between funders and recipients
  3. Change funding modalities, methodologies and foci for delivering funding
  4. Create and adopt more appropriate measurement and evaluation tools
  5. Address the big picture issues that undermine a more just and sustainable food system, including especially shifting funding away from detrimental forms of agriculture.

Quoting from the summary of the policy briefing, the authors described the current context of financing for agroecology:

“The now widely recognized potential of agroecology as the basis for just sustainability is severely hampered by the quantity and quality of financing available for its development. The organizations, food producers and proponents that are advancing agroecology around the world have little access to public and philanthropic financing. The majority of finance for agriculture is allocated to destructive models of agriculture that undermine not only agroecology, but also food security, environmental sustainability, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement.”

“When funding does go to agroecology, it is often delivered through problematic financing mechanisms and approaches that limit the ability of agroecology to reach its potential. Yet, there are some emerging exemplary donors forging new pathways, and other donors are realizing the need to shift towards agroecology.”

This policy briefing follows CIDSE’s first publication in September 2020 that focused on the quantity of European and international institutions’ contributions to food system transformation: Finance for agroecology: More just than a dream? An assessment of European and international institutions’ contributions to food system transformation.

Making money move for agroecology: Transforming development aid to support agroecology is available for download in English, French, and Spanish.

This article is also available in French and Spanish.

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