By John Ikani
The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame says political will is key to ensuring food security in Africa as the continent battles challenges linked to climate change, distorted value chains, pressure on arable land and low technology uptake.
Kagame made the assertion while speaking at the ongoing African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2021 Summit being held in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
The Rwandan president who said the continent cannot afford business as usual when it comes to food systems and the livelihoods that depend on food production, added that success in ensuring continental food security boils down to implementing broad ideas and not just discussing them.
He also stressed the need for Africa to leverage African Continental Free Trade Area AFCTA, robust financing, policy realignment, enhanced market linkages and farmers’ training in order to boost agricultural productivity as well as enable a level playing field for all.
What the Rwandan President said:
“Food systems are key to achieving SDGs. Seventy percent of Africans work in Agriculture and Agric businesses. If they are not doing well then Africa is not doing well.
“More than 35 percent of the world’s hungry are in Africa. Clearly, we need a transformation in how our food systems are organized. We must also ensure that everyone has access to the food they need on an equitable and affordable basis.
“For Africa, this means importing grains food because we are capable of growing more of what we consume here on our continent. We must take advantage of the African continental free trade area to trade the products with one another. That’s a big business opportunity for all of us.
“We also need to be frank that a fairer global trade regime for food products is necessary. There needs to be a level playing field.
What You Should Know
Food security remains an important development issue for Africa, with many countries facing high food costs and periodic food shortages due to climate change, humanitarian crises, conflict, displaced populations, poor agricultural practices and a high dependency on imported foodstuffs.
The African Union has set a target to “eliminate hunger and food insecurity by 2025.” Both Agenda 2063 and the African Union Summit decision on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation have reaffirmed this commitment (African Union, 2014, 2015). Unfortunately, Africa is not currently on track to meet these targets. Immediate, mutually reinforcing interventions are required to bring the continent closer to eliminating hunger and food insecurity.
It is important that sustainable food security should be seen as a survival imperative and policymakers should focus on financing and strengthening infrastructure networks that facilitate regional and international trade, and establishing food security corridors.
About The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2021 Summit
The ongoing 2021 AGRF themed “Pathways to Recovery and Resilient Food Systems” is being hosted by Kenya from Sept. 7-10.
It is a four-day hybrid summit that has brought together political leaders, policymakers, donors, investors and innovators to discuss novel ways to transform Africa’s food production system amid challenges posed by the pandemic, climate change, diseases and pests.
The continental forum which is a precursor to the UN Food Systems Summit slated for Sept. 23 in New York will chart a new beginning in efforts to eradicate hunger, malnutrition and rural poverty in the continent.