By Samuel Hinneh

The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, Jos? Graziano da Silva, says Africa has the economic, natural and human resources it needs to promote food security and sustainability in the continent.

?With political will, comprehensive programs bridging agricultural production and social protection, adequate funding, and by tapping into the potential of its youth, we can get there. We are in this together,? he said.

Today, more than half of the African population is under 25 years old, which makes it the youngest region in the world. Approximately 11 million young Africans will join the labour market every year for the next decade.

Creating decent employment opportunities for this young labour force ? in a transformed, dynamic and vibrant agricultural sector – will be crucial if Africa is to reap this demographic dividend, Graziano da Silva emphasised.

The United Nations has declared 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming and the African Union also celebrates its year for Agriculture and Food Security.

?Let?s seize this opportunity to focus our attention, our policies and our advocacy in promoting agriculture and the farmers, fishers, pastoralists, forest collectors and traditional and indigenous communities that contribute so much for food security while, many times, receiving so little support,? the director-general said.

With more than one in five people estimated to be undernourished, Africa remains the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment in the world. Africa has seen success in the fight against hunger and in increasing food production, but is still faced with significant food security challenges.

The success stories range from rolling out of improved banana varieties in central Africa to the introduction of high-yielding varieties of maize in east and southern Africa. Productivity gains in cassava in western Africa have been immense, while cotton production in the Sahel region has been impressive. East Africa has stamped its authority on tea and floriculture production and is now the preferred choice of major markets in the world.

On the other hand, the recurrent food security crises in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel are stark evidence of the need to build resilience in the region and to cope with recurrent droughts that become more frequent and extreme with climate change. The combined effects of drought, high food prices, conflict, displacement and chronic poverty has caused untold suffering to millions across the continent.

Africa has the possibility to change this and build on its success stories to advance food security and sustainable development in the region. The launch of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Plan (CAADP) in 2003 has helped spur food production and food security. African governments have shown their commitment to achieve food security, identifying their individual pathways under this regional framework.

Currently, nearly 20 African countries have already achieved, or are on track to achieve, the first Millennium Development Goal of halving the prevalence of hunger by 2015.

So far, 40 countries have signed CAADP Compacts and 28 countries have developed National Agriculture Investment Plans, the challenge is implementing them.

?Insufficient investment in agriculture and social protection are still bottlenecks for increasing food production and reduction hunger. It is thus up to national governments, in partnership with the international community, the private sector and farmers? organizations to create the conditions for sustainable rural development,? Graziano da Silva noted.

?We need innovative types of financing arrangements, diverse forms of public-private partnerships and new ways of South-South cooperation that clearly put food security and the needs of poor, small-scale farmers and pastoralists centre-stage,? he added.

 

Africa Has The Resources To Promote Food Security-Fao

By Samuel Hinneh

The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, Jos? Graziano da Silva, says Africa has the economic, natural and human resources it needs to promote food security and sustainability in the continent.

?With political will, comprehensive programs bridging agricultural production and social protection, adequate funding, and by tapping into the potential of its youth, we can get there. We are in this together,? he said.

Today, more than half of the African population is under 25 years old, which makes it the youngest region in the world. Approximately 11 million young Africans will join the labour market every year for the next decade.

Creating decent employment opportunities for this young labour force ? in a transformed, dynamic and vibrant agricultural sector – will be crucial if Africa is to reap this demographic dividend, Graziano da Silva emphasised.

The United Nations has declared 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming and the African Union also celebrates its year for Agriculture and Food Security.

?Let?s seize this opportunity to focus our attention, our policies and our advocacy in promoting agriculture and the farmers, fishers, pastoralists, forest collectors and traditional and indigenous communities that contribute so much for food security while, many times, receiving so little support,? the director-general said.

With more than one in five people estimated to be undernourished, Africa remains the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment in the world. Africa has seen success in the fight against hunger and in increasing food production, but is still faced with significant food security challenges.

The success stories range from rolling out of improved banana varieties in central Africa to the introduction of high-yielding varieties of maize in east and southern Africa. Productivity gains in cassava in western Africa have been immense, while cotton production in the Sahel region has been impressive. East Africa has stamped its authority on tea and floriculture production and is now the preferred choice of major markets in the world.

On the other hand, the recurrent food security crises in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel are stark evidence of the need to build resilience in the region and to cope with recurrent droughts that become more frequent and extreme with climate change. The combined effects of drought, high food prices, conflict, displacement and chronic poverty has caused untold suffering to millions across the continent.

Africa has the possibility to change this and build on its success stories to advance food security and sustainable development in the region. The launch of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Plan (CAADP) in 2003 has helped spur food production and food security. African governments have shown their commitment to achieve food security, identifying their individual pathways under this regional framework.

Currently, nearly 20 African countries have already achieved, or are on track to achieve, the first Millennium Development Goal of halving the prevalence of hunger by 2015.

So far, 40 countries have signed CAADP Compacts and 28 countries have developed National Agriculture Investment Plans, the challenge is implementing them.

?Insufficient investment in agriculture and social protection are still bottlenecks for increasing food production and reduction hunger. It is thus up to national governments, in partnership with the international community, the private sector and farmers? organizations to create the conditions for sustainable rural development,? Graziano da Silva noted.

?We need innovative types of financing arrangements, diverse forms of public-private partnerships and new ways of South-South cooperation that clearly put food security and the needs of poor, small-scale farmers and pastoralists centre-stage,? he added.

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.