Africa needs new approaches to tackle hunger, food insecurity challenges

KIGALI, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- New apporaches were emphazized on Monday in Rwanda's Kigali to address "rising" cases of hunger and food insecurity challenges in Africa.

Issues related to hunger affect the daily lives of millions of people in Africa and it is time to devise new approaches to achieve food security and zero hunger, said Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente at an event of launching the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2020 Summit, which is designed to energize political will and advance the policies, programs and investments required to achieve an inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation across Africa.

Rwanda is set to host the summit from Sept. 8-11, 2020.

African countries need to keep putting emphasis on extension services and ensure that farmers access timely to agriculture inputs, especially improved seeds and fertilizers in order to tackle the "rising" cases of hunger and food insecurity challenges in Africa, said Ngirente.

Business and progress as usual is not enough for Africa's aspirations, said Hailemariam Desalegn, former prime minister of Ethiopia and board chair of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) that hosts the AGRF Secretariat.

"Without a change of approach and change of pace, Africa stands to be the only continent struggling with hunger in 2030," said Desalegn, who leads the Africa-based institution that primarily focuses on smallholder farmers.

According to him, climate change and lack of markets for agricultural produce amid bumper harvests still affect agriculture transformation in Africa.

"In order to achieve our aspirations laid out in the sustainable development goals and Africa's Agenda 2063, we must ensure we drive agriculture transformation is at the heart of our economic transformation," he said.

"We must do more and devise new approaches to drive inclusive agriculture transformation in Africa in order to address food insecurity challenges," said Agnes Kalibata, president of AGRA.

Working together with African governments and the private sector would ensure full implementation of the policies, programs and investments that contribute to a sustainable agricultural transformation on the continent, she said.

Kalibata pointed out that the AGRF partners group that includes 23 actors in African agriculture is revamping its strategic approach to put the full weight of the forum to drive Africa's agricultural development at the heart of its economic development.

Africa needs to adopt to climate-smart agriculture, build market infrastructure and help farmers to access improved agricultural inputs like seeds and fertilizers as new approaches to tackle hunger and food insecurity challenges in the continent, Desalegn explained to Xinhua in an exclusive interview shortly after the event.

By: GEOFFREY YORK
Image credit: Simon Allen from Pixabay

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