Agriculture and agribusiness, especially in Africa, will lead the continent to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, said President Paul Kagame.
“This is especially true as we work to make
for the time lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic, “he said, adding that” each country and region must chart its own path towards transformation, but it is also a global challenge that we must face together. “
Kagame was speaking in his capacity as chairman of ththe African Union-NEPAD Development Agency, Steering Committee of Heads of State and Government during the official ceremony of the United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021 Pre-Summit.
In Africa, he continued, 70% of the working-age population is employed in the agricultural sector.
“But our continent’s food markets are often fragmented and links with food processing and value-added services are sometimes lacking,” said the president.
He noted that digital technologies and biotechnology are playing a bigger role in African agriculture, but too many farmers do not yet have reliable access to them.
And that financial services and products for farmers, including insurance, are generally inadequate.
“As a result, African food producers are not earning the level of income they deserve, and they face high levels of economic risk and uncertainty,” Kagame added.
According to the executive director of the United Nations World Food Program, David Beasley, 41 million people are now on the brink of famine.
“Planet Earth, shame on us that we let one person go to bed hungry,” said.
“We have the expertise to end hunger, but we urgently need the money. This is a global call to action – all on deck, ”he added.
Transformation is a necessity, according to President Kagame.
This is why the African Union Development Agency, NEPAD, has worked to facilitate a common African position ahead of the Food Systems Summit, in line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the ODD.
Kagame offered two proposals.
Africa will seek solutions in the following priority paths:
First, adopt nutritious food policies, establish food reserves and expand school feeding programs.
Second, supporting local markets and food supply chains, investing in agribusiness for healthy food and expanding food trade in Africa.
The UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for the United Nations Food Systems Summit, Agnes M. Kaliba, told participants that the summit is much more powerful than it thinks.
“The energy and hopes in every room today were palpable! We need to harness the incredible power of food to bring about radical change in the SDGs – this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, ”she said.
Myrna Cunningham, speaking on behalf of indigenous peoples, said: “Our current food systems are based on extreme irresponsibility; We need a rights-based food system, including economic empowerment and rights and rights to land.