Eritrea: Working Towards Transforming the Agri-Food Systems in Eastern Africa
Benedict Manyi nurses his kale crops, using harvested water pulled from his farm pond with a solar pump, in Makueni County, Kenya, August 3, 2021.Kagondu Njagi / Thomson Reuters Foundation
Commending FAO Eastern Africa for making significant progress in implementing its planned activities, high-level representatives from the member states and partner institutions underscored the need for a more robust and coordinated response to reverse the evolving food insecurity and malnutrition in the sub region.
This was conveyed at the 15th Annual Multidisciplinary Team Meeting of the FAO Sub regional Office for Eastern Africa (SFE), convened to review the implementation of the Office’s Priority Framework (2019-2023) and FAO’s corporate initiatives in the sub region.
Participants underlined that, despite COVID-19 pandemic and multiple crises, SFE has shown a great deal of determination to support member states and key institutions in their effort to ensure that the agriculture sector continues to support the livelihoods of millions of households in the sub region. Nonetheless, they asserted that the existing food insecurity and nutrition challenge requires bold and transformative actions to shift the sub region on to a sustainable and resilient path.
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Opening the Meeting, David Phiri, FAO Sub regional Coordinator for Eastern Africa and Representative to the African Union (AU) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), observed that Eastern Africa had continued to experience various crises and shocks, including ever-present conflicts and more frequent droughts and floods further aggravating the already fragile agri-food systems.
Phiri noted that staff members in the FAO country offices and at SFE have demonstrated a great deal of tenacity in adopting and embracing the new realities, and have continued to respond to the needs of member countries, partners and the communities that FAO was serving.
“Building community and household resilience and preserving access to safe and nutritious food have been and will continue to be, an essential part of our joint efforts,” he stressed.
Representing high level Government representative at the opening of the Meeting, Arefaine Berhe, Minister for Agriculture of Eritrea, shared the best practices that Eritrea had demonstrated through its national programme, “The Minimum Integrated Household Agricultural Package (MIHAP).” Minister Berhe said the programme had promoted grassroots agro-development activities to improve the living conditions of the farming communities.
Now, he recalled, communities had begun to meet their food and nutrition requirements, as well as income from sale of surplus products, while protecting the environment. Thanking FAO for its new Strategic Framework based on four Betters (better Production, Better Nutrition, Better Environment and Better Life), the Minister highlighted that the Government of Eritrea had already adopted the four Betters in its work in agriculture. He shared a short video, which depicted how the transformation to more inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems was being realised in Eritrea.