Crowd Sourcing Financial Solutions to Hunger: What Will the Policy Outcome Be?

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By Ioulia Fenton

A recent FAO online forum invited suggestions and ideas on improving agricultural development. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

Over the last few weeks, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) held the 81st online Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition. Drawing on 4,000 members from 170 countries and territories, the platform claims to allow “stakeholders such as academics, researchers, development practitioners, governments, and the civil society to actively participate in [key debates].”

The latest discussion, “Innovative financing for agriculture, food security and nutrition,” invited participants to comment on different Innovative Financing Mechanisms (IFMs) that have been suggested to complement Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) efforts in developing nations and come up with novel ideas of their own.

IFMs are mechanisms that lie outside traditional channels of funding (like ODA and private sector investment) that aim to reach under-serviced rural and poor populations. According to the FAO, they are needed now more than ever because, due to population growth and lifestyle change, the world’s food requirements are expanding at a time when ODA destined for agriculture is declining and private investment is found to be wildly lacking or even, at times, non-existent.