Invest in food security

Greater investments in agriculture needed for food security

Date: Monday, December 8, 2014
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has called for greater investments in agriculture by African countries to guarantee their ability to feed about two billion people in Africa by 2050.

Dr. Zuma said it was time for Africa to transform from a continent reliant on food imports to one that could feed itself and ultimately export a surplus to help feed a growing world population.

According to her, such a move was a crucial goal in its own right, as investment in agriculture had also proven to be the continent’s solution to long-term social and economic development concerns of youth unemployment, gender inequality and climate change adaptation, which were major issues facing every African country.

In a statement issued in Accra, she said: “Through the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), we have a process for African leadership to drive agricultural transformation in every country.” She added, “The deeper we commit to this process, the greater the level of harmonisation and alignment to Africa’s agenda for growth and, at the end of the day, prosperity for all Africans.”

Reducing food imports

Africa spends more than US$40 billion a year on food imports. Africa’s population is among the fastest growing in the world and so is their demand for food,” according to the AU Commission.

The African market is now close to one billion people, including more than a 100 million middle-class consumers. “When combined with our abundant agriculturally suitable land yet to be utilised and water resources, we can transform Africa into an agricultural powerhouse. “On this week of the Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security, we decry the fact that Africa still leads the rest of the world as the most seriously affected by hunger and malnutrition,” Dr Zuma said.

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She added that there were more stunted children in Africa today than there were 20 years ago. “However, we also take hope that now we have both a roadmap for change and the unanimous will from African leaders to bring food security in our lifetime closer to a reality,” she said.

To her, by signing the Malabo Declaration this year, African Heads of State and Government committed to new bold targets to be achieved by the year 2025. “They commit, among other issues, to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty by half, create job opportunities for Africa’s youth and women and improve the resilience of households,” she added.