APPG on Agriculture and Food for Development

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Agriculture and Food for Development seeks to bring together UK Parliamentarians concerned with agriculture, nutrition and wider food security in the developing world. This cross-party group aims to engender progressive and informed debate within Westminster and beyond by bridging the gap between policy makers and practitioners in the field whilst also giving a voice to the 700 million smallholder farmers worldwide.

The APPG was established by Parliamentarians in October 2008 in response to growing concerns over the heightening food crisis and a steady decline in the funding of agricultural research for international development at both bilateral and multilateral levels.TAA played an important role in initiating the APPG through its membership of the UK Forum on Agricultural Research for Development. The TAA is an official 'Supporter' of the APPG.

Co-Chaired by Lord Cameron of Dillington and Jeremy Lefroy MP,  it is a cross-party initiative drawing members from both Houses of the UK Parliament. It aims to bring together Parliamentarians concerned with both the technical and social science of agriculture. It seeks to use its cross- party membership to:

  • improve support from the British Government for farmers and other stakeholders in developing countries whilst recognising the pivotal role that increased levels of agricultural research, and their outputs, can have in eliminating global poverty.
  • support for the developmental needs of the 450 million smallholder farmers who feed 2 billion people worldwide.
  • engender progressive and informed debate within Westminster and beyond by bridging the gap between policy makers, agricultural development specialists and practitioners in the field.

Click here for further information. 

Click here for location map of House of Commons area.

Click here for summaries of presentations and Q&A discussion.

Caspar Van Vark is co-ordinator for the APPG. Caspar was formerly a freelance journalist in the food/agriculture sector (Tel: 020 7219 6079; Mob: 07803 722598).

Please contact the TAA Coordinator for APPG if you need further advice or have suggestions for future APPG meeting topics.


AQUACULTURE: an underdeveloped tool for poverty reduction

page1image11760Read the report prepared by the APPG (April 2018) on aquaculture for smallholder farmers. Aquaculture refers to the breeding, rearing and harvesting of fish in ponds, lakes and the ocean. Twenty years ago, only 10% of fish eaten globally was farmed. Today, the figure is 50%1. Wild fish stocks cannot sustainably meet growing global demand, and the aquaculture industry has grown rapidly to fill the gap in many parts of the world.


Read the report prepared by the APPG on Agriculture & Food for Development, which is being distributed to members of the UK Parliament. Dated October 2017.  


At the request of the APPG, TAA was asked to comment on DFID's Bilateral (BDev) and Multilateral (MDev) Aid Reviews. The commentary comprises three main parts: (1) the collective submission made by TAA to APPG, complied by Martin Evans; (2) Jim Elli-Jones' response and (3) the APPG questions tabled in Parliament, together with Government’s answers. Click here to read the commentary.


Twenty years after the Rwandan Genocide, Rwanda has made considerable progress in economic and social development, with the reconciliation process generally considered a great success.

Rwanda’s achievements in reducing corruption, increasing competitiveness and improving gender equality are illustrated through several social and economic indicators. Since 2011, the economy has grown at an average of 7% on average per year,1 and Rwanda’s poverty rate fell from 45% to 39% between 2011 and 2014, with 146,000 new off-farm jobs created each year.2 Rwanda now ranks as the third easiest country to do business in Africa, and 64% of its parliamentarians are women, the highest in the world. However, Rwanda is still a low income, food deficit and least developed country. It is ranked 163 (out of 188 countries) on the 2014 Human Development Index. It has one of the highest population densities in Africa, with 416 people per square kilometre. Its population increases at an annual rate of 2.6% and the total population stands at 11.2 million.

Read the APPG report, based on the field study  2-7 April 2016 .

DFID 'Conceptual framework on agriculture', 2015

At the APPG meeting ‘Responding to the impacts of climate change on food security and smallholder agriculture in Paris beyond’ (3 November 2015), the Rt Hon Desmond Swayne, Minister for International Development, introduced DFID’s‘Conceptual Framework on Agriculture’. In his words, for 20 years agriculture has been neglected but has now become ‘sexy’ again. He explained that the new framework aims at a differentiated approach to support needy subsistence farmers who are ‘hanging-in’, to help farmers ‘step-up’  through technology and market links, and to facilitate farmers to ‘step-out’ into non-farming sectors. Key elements remain as livelihoods, jobs, prosperity, resilience to climate change and sustainability. Feedback is welcome via the APPG, through the coordinator, Naomi Hirst. 

"From Subsistence to Successful Businesses” 2015

A recent APPG Agriculture & Food for Development report, entitled "From Subsistence to Successful Businesses: enabling smallholder agribusiness in sub-Saharan Africa” explores how to support and scale up smallholder agribusiness development in sub-Saharan Africa. The APPG supports the argument that smallholder agriculture offers new opportunities for growth and economic transformation. Improving agricultural performance and linking farmers to markets is the most powerful tool to end global poverty and hunger and boost shared prosperity. Read more ........

International Development Committee (IDC) Sept 2015

The APPG on Agriculture & Food for Development submission to the IDC inquiry on the Sustainable Development Goals can be read here.

The APPG  also participated in the IDCs report on Jobs and Livelihoods. Click here to read the recommendations to DFID and full responses

 Reports on Recent Briefings (2015)

1. Building resilience to climate extremes chaired by Jonathan Dimbleby, and nutrition and Neglected Tropical Diseases, chaired by Jeremy Lefroy MP.

2. Jo Cox MP chaired a distinguished panel discussing gender, nutrition and agriculture.

3. The evidence gathering phase of the APPG's current inquiry concluded with a roundtable focused on meeting the finance needs of smallholder farmers.

4. In his wide-ranging address Bill Gates talked about the importance of smallholder agriculture and nutrition in the work of the Gates Foundation. 

5. Concluding events for the summer, the APPG hosted Dr. Robert Bertram, Chief Scientist in the USAID Bureau of Food Security.     

Parliamentarians highlight potential of ICTs to boost smallholder agriculture

November 2014

The APPG on Agriculture and Food for Development launched their report, "Harnessing the Potential: ICTs and knowledge sharing in agriculture", November 2014. The report advocates that ICTs have the potential to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in developing countries, offering great opportunities to increase their productivity, incomes and resilience.

Whilst less than 10% of farmers in Africa and South America have access to the internet, almost 90% have access to basic mobile technology, including SMS. This rapid increase in mobile communication enables farmers in even the most remote locations to receive timely and targeted agricultural advice bridging the information gap that conventional public extension services cannot span. In India only 6.8% of farmers get support from traditional extension services, and in Africa the average farmer to extension ratio is 4000:1. In this context, ICTs have the potential to be powerful tools in agriculture.

Through a series of seminars, the APPG heard that ICTs are already playing a critical role and are being utilised across the agricultural value chain offering access to information about inputs, agronomic practices, weather forecasts, pest control and the market as well as facilitating farmer-to-farmer knowledge exchange. ICT applications are providing access to financial services, mobile banking, micro-credit and micro-insurance.

'ICTs are powerful tools with benefits that go beyond delivering and collecting information. However, ICTs are not a panacea. Significantly, the challenge of fulfilling the opportunities offered by ICTs includes realising them in an inclusive way. ICT4Agriculture is an area that is active, diverse and has the potential to deliver increasingly positive impacts for the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers.'


APPG 'Missing Food' Report (July 2014)

Parliamentarians call for urgent scale-up of efforts to reduce food waste in the Parliamentary Report entitled, ‘Missing Food’.  Parliamentarians of the APPG on Agriculture and Food for Development are calling on all governments and donors to urgently scale up and better coordinate efforts to reduce post-harvest losses and food waste.

"Food losses along the postharvest chain have an impact on food and nutritional security, farmer livelihoods, natural resource consumption and agricultural sustainability. It is abundantly clear that measures must be taken at all levels and by all actors if the amount of food lost between field and fork is to be reduced.”

A third of food produced for human consumption globally is lost. At the same time the world will need about 50% more food by 2030. In Africa smallholder farmers produce more than 80% of food, but at the same time account for 50% of the food insecure. In developing countries losses of weight and quality accumulate along the postharvest chain, due in part to poor infrastructure. It is estimated that 14% of grains and a considerably higher percentage of fruit and vegetables are lost. Grain losses in sub-Saharan Africa alone translate into over $4 billion lost per year. Developed countries have much higher losses at the consumption level, where retailers and consumers waste food.

Through a series of seminars, the APPG heard that a multipronged approach is essential to reduce postharvest losses. The report stresses the crucial importance of building the capacity of smallholder farmers in postharvest management so that crops are collected at the appropriate time, produce is not contaminated with soil, crops are dried correctly to reduce moisture for safe storage and measures are taken to reduce susceptibility to pests.

The report’s recommendations come at a time when governments are considering the Sustainable Development Goals and the successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals. The ‘Missing Food’ Report highlights that scale of the problem requires more effective global political leadership and commitment. Equally, strengthening the data and means of measuring progress will be critical for understanding the tangible impact of any goals on reducing losses or waste of food.

Lord Cameron of Dillington, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food for Development, stated that, "The amount of hunger and malnutrition in Sub Saharan Africa could be seriously reduced if politicians and all involved in the food chain focused equally on wasting less as much as on growing more.”

The Department for International Development has a number of agricultural research programmes, which have components or sub-projects looking at postharvest losses. However, the APPG emphasises that the scale of the problem demands a more substantial and coherent approach from all donors and governments.



October 2013

The report of a visit by APPG members to Bihar included consideration of DFID’s change in relationship with India, from grant aid to technical assistance. It was suggested by Indian Ministers, both at State and Federal levels, that this was a sensible approach to take. There are already many subsidies that state governments provide but there is a lack of expertise and capacity – an area in which DFID can provide significant support. DFID has a £10 million technical assistance programme prepared to support the "Bihar Agricultural Roadmap”, it will be crucial to ensure that this support focuses on market access, marketing of produce and capacity building – topics were told repeatedly emphasised.Click to read the full report



Parliamentarians urge government to increase investment in agriculture to end global hunger

"It is abundantly clear that sustained long-term investment in agriculture for development is crucial to rural livelihoods. It can have truly transformational impacts both in terms of the rural economy and in terms of poverty and hunger alleviation.”

All-Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food for Development

Parliamentarians of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food for Development* are calling on the UK Government, and specifically the Department for International Development, to invest in agriculture to combat the hunger that 925 million people around the world are undernourished face every day - in a Parliamentary Report, on "Home Grown Nutrition”.

The report’s recommendations come ahead of a high level meeting that will be co-hosted by the UK government on 8 June. ‘The Nutrition for Growth: Beating Hunger through Business and Science’ meeting will be held in the build-up tothe G8 summit in Northern Ireland and bring together business leaders, scientists, governments and civil society to make the ambitious commitments needed to tackle nutrition in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Building on the issues raised by the Hunger Summit held in London last summer, which highlighted the devastating consequences of undernutrition on children, it is expected that as a result of this next meeting the UK will make financial pledges to support work on nutrition.

Lord Cameron of Dillington, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food for Development, stated that, "Agriculture is the basis of many, if not all, pathways to improved nutrition. All development goals and interventions are strengthened by a productive agricultural sector.”

Agriculture as a development theme has been chronically underfunded by the Department of International Development in the past and the APPG of Agriculture and Food for Development urge the government to make sure agriculture is no longer overlooked. Investments in agriculture must be seen as a long term project, putting smallholder farmers at the centre of such programmes.

Professor Andrew Westby said, "The Natural Resources Institute** welcomes this timely report, we believe that smallholder farmers are crucial to addressing the challenges of global hunger, and more sustained support for them would be a positive step towards greater food and nutrition security worldwide.”

"Home Grown Nutrition” Report can be found by clicking here.