President Paul Kagame says Africa would not be grappling with food insecurity if African countries strategically invested in the agriculture sector.
The Head of State made the observation on Wednesday during the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF 2022) Presidential Summit on advancing pathways for people, planet and prosperity that was aimed at rallying African leaders to make more commitments.
Speaking during the session, which was attended by among other leaders, the Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, Mohamad Bazoum of Niger, Vice President of Tanzania, Philip Mpango, among other leader, President Kagame called on African countries to set out their priorities.
President Kagame said that the African continent has agreed on a strong common African position, which must be built on to deliver results on the ground, including improving nutrition, incomes of farmers and creating more jobs in the agricultural sector.
“Above all, it is about ensuring that Africa is more resilient, in the face of unexpected shocks. But we are off-track in achieving our agreed targets, under the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) and the Malabo Declaration, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals,”
“The Covid pandemic, ongoing conflicts, and the global supply chain and energy crisis, are all placing unusual strain on our food systems. A few lessons are clear, from our past experiences. First, we are stronger together,” President Kagame said.
He pointed out that the African Continental Free Trade Area is a good start, with huge potential, adding that Africa cannot have a coherent approach to agricultural transformation, without a close integration with Africa’s international trade policy.
“We also need to make more investments in transport and storage infrastructure, and move faster to harmonize our tariff systems. Those hardest hit from recent shocks, are local businesses and smallholder farmers,”
“Targeted support can make all the difference in keeping their businesses open. Investments made today, create resilience and new possibilities tomorrow,” the Head of State said.
Citing Rwanda’s example, President Kagame said that following the last food price crisis in 2008, the country invested significantly in post-harvest management, among other measures to improve food security, and this paid off for us during the pandemic.
“Beyond our continent, we have so much to gain from, and share with other regions. Many are represented here today, from the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East,”
“Africa should not be struggling with food insecurity, given our natural endowments. We can feed ourselves, and even feed others,” President Kagame said.
President Kagame said that there is an opportunity for countries to work together, learn from each other, and advance home-grown solutions, tailored to the specific contexts of countries.
Ahead of COP-27 in Egypt later this year, President Kagame said that there is a need to advocate for stronger commitments to reduce emissions, and drive action on adaptation and resilience, particularly in developing countries.
By transforming food systems together, President Kagame said Africa can achieve, in a sustainable way, the ambitions of the people, planet, and shared prosperity, as laid out in the 2030 Agenda for the continent.
On his part, President Mnangagwa said that over the past 22 years, Zimbabwe has been under western sanctions which affected the country’s capacity in regard to specific issues of food security.
“Since Independence, we have been importing our wheat and fertilizer from the Russian Federation, but now, fortunately, we introduced the model that says that we need to have food security on the basis of our own domestic resources,” President Mnangagwa said.
He pointed out the Ukraine situation came when Zimbabwe was already self-reliant, producing her own wheat, which cushioned the country from the shocks that came from the Russia-Ukraine war.