African agric ministers pledge commitment to achieving food security

African Ministers of Agriculture at the largest ever FAO Regional Conference have expressed their committed to ‘raise ambitions and accelerate actions’ towards achieving food security, at the close of the three day event.

FAO in it’s release on it website said 900 delegates including 95 ministers and other government officials from 48 countries met in the context of rising food insecurity and malnutrition exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and multiple overlapping crisis – climate change, transboundary pests and diseases, conflict and economic downturns.

In the Ministerial Declaration approved today, delegates committed to accelerate the transformation of African agriculture and agri-food systems, including through innovation and introducing digital technologies in the agriculture sector.

They also supported making further contributions to the African Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF), describing it as an instrument “to show that Africa is capable of taking charge and leading priority programmes”.

The Ministers also called on FAO to continue to ensure “greater flexibility and efficiency in the use of the Organization’s limited existing financial and human resources” to support Members, and to provide further leadership in inter-agency collaboration on the transformation towards sustainable agri-food systems.

They further supported FAOs work with multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral platforms to strengthen dialogue, investments and innovation for sustainable agri-food systems, particularly in the lead up to the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit.

A success we can all be proud of

“This first virtual session of the Regional Conference for Africa was a success we can all be proud of,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu in his closing remarks, describing the large attendance as “historic”.

“I have listened intently to the views and priorities raised during this Conference and have taken note of your recommendations in how FAO can serve you better.

The inputs from the region are vital in shaping FAO’s strategic outlook and actions,” he said.

Innovation and digital technologies for food security

Many of the Conference sessions focused on how innovation and digital technology can radically drive progress towards food security in Africa.

“The very modality of this virtual meeting is a reminder that we are in a new era where modern technology can transform our lives,” Director-General QU said.

“It can bring us closer together even though we’re further apart physically. It can open access to new markets and facilitate easier trade, it can provide vital information for a farmer right into his or her hand, and it can help end hunger and improve lives in ways the world is only beginning to discover,” he said.

Hand-in-hand for Africa’s future

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