Africa: Agriculture Private Sector Players Call for Collaboration to Boost African Food Systems
By Margaret Njugunah
Nairobi — Agriculture stakeholders in Africa have urged governments on the continent to work with the private sector to build resillient food systems to bridge the widening gap in production.
Speaking during the Alliance for a Green Revoluton in Africa (AGRA) organized Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) Summit last week, speakers reiterated that food security cannot be achieved without a gvernment facilitated enabling environemnt for agribusiness to thrive.
The summit was held ahead AGRF , slated for September in Nairobi, where leaders, while celebrating the milestones the agriculture sector has made over the years, called on enhanced collaboration in transforming the continent’s food systems amid rising concerns over global food shortages owing to increasing population, shrinking land and climate change.
“As we look at innovative ways of producing food to feed our people, assist our farmers and bolsters agribusinesses, we must explore ways of working together to actualize this commitment. The partnership between government and the private sector in Kenya has been commendable. The government has been particularly aggressive in improving infrastructure which has opened up markets for private sector to do business while opening the country to regional trade,” said Bimal Kantaria, Elgon Kenya CEO and Chairman of Agriculture Sector Network, ASNET, during the launch ceremony.
Themed Pathways to Recovery and Resilient Food Systems, this year’s AGRF will focus on new commitments to the future of African food systems and highlight how resilience will be built out of leadership at all levels.
It will bring together 500 guests, including governments, private sector, youth, women leaders and farmer organization on September 6-10 and will be opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The are virtual forum will be joined by over 10,000 delegates from more than 150 countries.
“The summit is timely, coming at time when Africa’s food systems require a rethink in terms of policies, food production processes and innovations that ensure that we are leaving no one behind. Alliance for a Green Revolution is doing a great job in bridging the gap between different players by bringing them together,” added Mr. Kantaria.
Co-organized with the Government of Kenya, with the support of 26 partner institutions, this year’s Summit comes at a pivotal time when global voices convene under the Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) to shift the conversation on how food is produced and consumed and the role it plays to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The Summit will also have a special focus on the role of women and youth in transforming Africa’s food systems with various issues faced by these groups expected to dominate the discussions at the First Ladies Forum and the Youth Hall respectively.
“Now more than ever we must prioritise inclusive agricultural transformation. We must work collaboratively to ensure that policy, technology and finances respond to the needs of our farmers. This is critical to achieve zero hunger across the continent and around the globe,” The former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and AGRF Board Chair, Hailemariam Dessalegn
As part of its contribution to the UNFSS, the AGRF 2021 Summit aims to elevate the single, coordinated African voice, by identifying immediate actions and steps to be taken to accelerate progress towards the development of resilient food systems.
“We must change the way we approach and prioritize food systems on the continent. We can no longer limit food systems to the farm. Our approach must reflect the complexity and importance of food systems and value of collaboration, as governments, the private sector, development partners and consumers, to deliver more inclusive and resilient food systems on the continent,” said Kenya’s Minister for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives, Hon. Peter Munya in a speech read on his behalf by Chief Administrative Secretary Anne Nyaga.
The AGRF 2021 Summit will provide a platform for all stakeholders to align on the actions and commitments needed to build resilient food systems which end hunger and support the delivery of the sustainable development goals.
Some of the key highlights at this year’s AGRF 2021 Summit will include the Agribusiness Deal Room, a platform connecting entrepreneurs and governments with investors. This year the deal room is aiming to showcase a pipeline of USD 5 billion of investment opportunities across Africa. The Summit will also feature the Africa Food Prize, a Presidential Summit, and a Ministerial Roundtable.