Make food security, nutrition priority – UN agencies
BY JAMES MUYANWA in Yokohama, Japan -
THREE Rome-based United Nations (UN) agencies have called for food security and nutrition to be placed at the core of the international agenda for African development.
Speaking separately at the ongoing Fifth Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD V) here, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), officials from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) said food security and nutrition were a must for Africa.
President Michael Sata is attending the conference together with some ministers and other Government officials.
FAO Director-General, Jose Graziano da Silva, IFAD president Kanayo Nwanze and WFP executive director Ertharin Cousin said special attention should be given to small-holder farmers in Africa to help them improve global food security.
They said efforts should be aimed at empowering rural women, address gender inequalities and enable them transform their lives as well as those of their families and communities.
The agency heads said the most effective key to reversing hunger and poverty in Africa lay in responsible investment by governments and the private sector in sustainable agricultural and rural development.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the gross domestic product (GDP) growth generated by the sector had been shown to be 11 times more effective in reducing poverty than the growth in other sectors.
They said it was time to invest in the smaller producers and their organisations, family farmers, fishers, livestock keepers, forest users, rural workers, entrepreneurs and indigenous people.
The three officials commended countries, which had made strong efforts to reduce hunger within their boundaries and on Africa as a continent in general.
The discussions at TICAD V would help inform the high-level meeting to be held from June 30 to July 1, 2013 in Addis Ababa to be co-organised by the African Union and FAO.