What strategies can safeguard Africa’s food security
Last September, African and global business leaders met in Kigali, Rwanda, for the Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), the continent’s most influential gathering around Africa’s largest economic sector – agriculture and food systems.
Last year’s AGRF is probably the most significant since the Covid-19 pandemic, which not only heavily affected the 2020 and 2021 editions of the AGRF, but also the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit.
Covid-19 has confirmed that we need to reform our food systems. “Building back better” will not be enough; we need to rethink how we produce, distribute and eat food, and to do this, African political and business leaders must think and act differently, and be willing to set different agendas that transform their food systems.
The 2022 State of Food Security and Nutrition report paints an alarming picture of Africa’s agri-food systems transformation efforts. Despite unprecedented efforts by African heads of state and government to drive regional change through country Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programmes (CAADP), the report indicates that 35m more people were affected by hunger in 2020 compared with 2019, before the Covid-19 outbreak, with an additional 15m in 2021.
The report further shows that 20% of Africa’s population was facing hunger in 2021, compared with 9.1% in Asia. It is in Africa where the population affected by hunger has increased the most compared to other continents. This is of major concern and should worry anyone.
Turning crisis into opportunity
There is a general feeling that Africa is blaming the US and other Western countries in Europe for the sanctions on Russia as the source of food insecurity. In fact, Africa is blaming itself for allowing itself to be dependent on the rest of the world for food imports – a phenomenon Africa can change.
Africa should turn this into an opportunity to produce its own food and export rather than relying on the rest of the world for food imports. Ethiopia, for example, can produce enough wheat to feed itself rather than spend $0.7bn annually to import wheat from Russia and Ukraine.
While appreciating the short- and long-term solutions being proposed by international organisations such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the United Nations and others, African leaders need to turn this crisis as an opportunity and wake-up call to act differently and without hesitation push for reforms on the continent and at country level.
Read full article at African Business