Namibia: Calls for Africa to Transform Agri-Food Systems
By Absalom Shigwedha
THE director general of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has called on African countries to adopt enabling policies, innovation and science, as well as proper investment for agri-food systems transformation.
Qu Dongyu made the call at the 32rd FAO Regional Conference for Africa, held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, recently.
He said African countries should raise ambitions for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including ending poverty and hunger.
According to a statement released by FAO to the media last week, the conference was attended by 62 ministers from 54 African countries in person, while some also attended online.
“We have a lot of work to do and we must continue to work together, effectively, efficiently and coherently,” said Dongyu.
At the end of the conference, a declaration was released in which the ministers welcomed FAO’s strategic framework for 2022 to 2031, which shapes the organisation’s work towards achieving the SDGs, under the four betters: better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life, leaving no one behind.
“We call on our partners to support our efforts through enhancing investments as we step up our efforts towards the transformation of agri-food systems through the implementation of the four betters,” said the deputy minister of agriculture in Tanzania, Anthony Mavunde, reading the declaration on behalf of the ministers.
The document also re-affirmed the centrality of women and young people in Africa’s transformation of agri-food systems, and called on FAO to accelerate actions to tackle the negative impacts of the climate change crisis, calling it a “a major threat to the African region”.
Dongyu said as the son of a farming family, he wants to see agricultural and rural transformation in Africa address the multi-dimensional inequalities between urban and rural areas, between men and women and between the rich and the poor.
“It is a long journey. We need a long-life commitment and consistent action,” he said.