Nairobi – Heads of State and Government from the Sub-Saharan African region have reaffirmed their commitment to the food security agenda as part of post-pandemic recovery.
Speaking at the ongoing African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2021 Summit being held in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, the leaders said transforming farming systems to boost food, nutrition security and rural incomes was an imperative as the continent embarks on recovery from COVID-19 shocks.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said that bold policy choices combined with investments in appropriate technologies were key to boost agricultural productivity in Africa.
“We must identify immediate steps to accelerate agricultural transformation, achieve food and nutrition security for our citizens even as we embark on rebuilding our economies after disruptions triggered by the pandemic,” said President Kenyatta.
Kenya is hosting the 2021 African Green Revolution Forum on September 7-10 under the theme of “Pathways to Recovery and Resilient Food Systems”.
The four-day summit that is taking place in a hybrid format has brought together political leaders, policy makers, donors, investors and innovators to discuss novel ways to transform Africa’s food production system amid challenges posed by the pandemic, climate change, diseases and pests.
Kenyatta said the continental forum that is a precursor to the UN Food Systems Summit slated for September 23 in New York will chart a new beginning in efforts to eradicate hunger, malnutrition and rural poverty in the continent.
He said that delivering resilient food and agricultural systems is central to the realisation of sustainable development, peace, stability and shared prosperity in Africa.
The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, said that political goodwill is key to transform Africa’s agriculture amid myriad challenges linked to climate change, pressure on arable land, distorted value chains and low technology uptake.
According to President Kagame, Africa should leverage robust financing, policy realignment, enhanced market linkages and farmers’ training in order to boost agricultural productivity.
Lazarus Chakwera, President of Malawi, said that investments in modern transport and storage infrastructure, research on improved seeds, enhanced surveillance to contain pests and diseases could be the answer to endemic challenges facing African small-holder farmers.
Presiden tChakwera said the continent should adopt innovations that promote climate-smart farming in order to boost the productivity of agriculture and livestock sectors, and reduce the annual food import bill.On his part, the President of Namibia, Hage Geingob, said that harnessing nature-based interventions was key to strengthening the resilience of Africa’s food systems in the light of climatic stresses, pandemic and rapid population growth. – Xinhua