AU Agriculture Commissioner Calls for Transformation of Agriculture Systems of Africa

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Addis Ababa February 3/2022/ENA/ African countries and partners need to transform the agriculture systems of the continent destructed by many factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, AU Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Development Josepha Sacko said.

The commissioner noted that diseases, climate change induced flood and pests have mainly affected the mostly subsistent agricultural system in most parts of Africa, pushing about 280 million people to hunger.

Briefing the press during the 35th AU Summit on Building Resilient Food Systems in Africa Post COVID-19: Call for Action today, Sacko stated that “it is important that we, as a continent, take bold actions to make sure that we not only recover from the impact of the pandemic but also build sustainable and resilient food systems that will reduce vulnerability to future pandemics.”

According to Sacko, some 200 million African people were already in hunger before the coming of the pandemic to the continent. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the rise of hungry Africans to about 270 to 280 million at present.

“While it is true that close to a quarter of Africa population was hungry before 2020, the pandemic has worsened the situation. Hunger in Africa has been rising in the last 4 to 5 years. The pandemic has revealed the fragility and vulnerability of our food systems.”

Building resilient food systems requires addressing factors that make Africa’s food systems fragile and vulnerable to shocks, according to the commissioner.

These factors observed in the past few years include climate change induced shocks such as hurricane and flood, pests such as desert locust and fall armyworm, and diseases such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coupled with the devastating socio-economic impact of the pandemic on the African population, the climate change induced desert locust, fall armyworm, flooding and drought caused the damages on the agricultural systems of many African countries.

Ahead of UN Food Systems summit held in September 2021, African Union Commission and AUDA-NEPAD, in collaboration with UNECA, have prepared an Africa Common Position that contains 52 pathways for transforming Africa’s food systems and was endorsed by member states, the commissioner revealed.

Africa’s common position to UN Food Systems Summit will be presented to the Assembly for consideration and adoption, it was learned.

“We are calling for action to implement the actions and recommendations from the ministerial declarations, Africa common position, and the 3rd CAADP biennial review report. We are calling on member states to design, fund and implement programs that will transform Africa’s food system to ensure food security and nutrition, create jobs, reduce poverty, increase trade in agricultural goods and services and increase resilience of livelihoods and production systems,” Sacko said.

The commissioner also called on the private sector, farmer organizations, civil society and development partners to work closely with governments to ensure that programs that are designed, funded, and implemented will meet the aspirations and needs of people.

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