African Countries Should Allocate 10 Percent of their Budget to Achieve Food Sovereignty: AU Official

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Addis Ababa (ENA) February 20/2023 African countries need to allocate at least 10 percent of their national budgetary resources to achieve food sovereignty, AU Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment Commissioner, Ambassador Josefa Leonel Sacko said.

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It is indicated that agriculture is the main lifeline in the continent in addition to its major contribution for employment and strengthen the overall economic development.

Despite the fact that African countries have immense natural resources vital for agricultural development currently some 38 countries in the continent are net importers of food.

As 30 percent of Africa’s food imports came from Russia-Ukraine, the war has affected Africa’s food security, AU commissioner for agriculture, rural development, blue economy, and sustainable environment commissioner told ENA.

Africa must achieve food sovereignty, she said, adding the continent has all the potential to be a food superpower as it has 60 percent of the global arable land, a young population and more than enough water resources.

However, lack of investment in the agriculture sector impeded Africa from attaining goals set in the Malabo declaration, she added.

It is to be recalled that, at the second ordinary assembly of the African Union in July 2003 in Maputo, African Heads of State and Government endorsed the “Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa”

In Maputo, they made a “commitment to the allocation of at least 10 percent of national budgetary resources to agriculture and rural development policy implementation within five years”.

Due to lack of investment in the agriculture sector, the continent is unable to strengthen its nutrition and food security, the Commissioner said.

“Why are we not on track vis-à-vis the Malabo Declaration and CAADP, when you look at the nexus between agriculture and the climate change today, we cannot depend on rain-fed agriculture, so we need to be innovative and come up with a climate smart agriculture program.”

Agriculture is a sector that is affected by the variability of weather and climate change, Madama Sacko said, adding climate change is creating irregularity and a lot of drought that is causing hunger and malnutrition, especially in the Horn of Africa.

Hence, we had a high level meeting on how we could have an integrated program, the commissioners, stated.

“In a bid to address the climate change induced drought in the Horn of Africa, our commission come up with an integrated adaptation mechanism, known as Food System Resilience for the Horn of Africa,” she pointed out.

With the support of partners amounting 2.4 billion USD, we have put in place the African emergency food production facility to produce four commodities: wheat, rice, soya bean and maize, she said.

The program mainly benefits climate change affected countries of the Horn of Africa, mainly Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Sudan, she noted.

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