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FAO optimistic amid rising hunger levels in Africa

Vaseline 1 month ago

The 33rd session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Ministerial Conference for Africa (ARC33) began with a sobering recognition of rising hunger levels across the continent.

QU Dongyu, Director-General of FAO, highlighted the multifaceted challenges that are exacerbating this crisis, including the lingering impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, ongoing conflicts, the climate crisis and economic shocks.

In his address to delegates, Qu highlighted the enormous potential of Africa, which has the largest area of ​​arable land in the world and abundant natural resources. He expressed optimism about the future of the continent, especially the potential of its young population.

Strategic partnerships are crucial

To address these challenges and seize opportunities, Qu emphasized the importance of strategic partnerships, increased investments and leveraging digital technologies to drive efficiency and productivity in Africa’s agricultural sectors.

According to FAO data, hunger levels in Africa reached 19.7% in 2022, twice the global rate, with 868 million Africans lacking access to adequate food. However, Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch of Morocco offered a glimmer of hope in his opening speech, highlighting the Kingdom’s substantial investments in agri-food initiatives aimed at improving rural incomes.

The ARC33 serves as a platform for high-level consultations to identify key priorities in the region and shape FAO’s work and budget program for the next two years.

The FAO strategic framework for the period 2022 to 2031 revolves around the concept of the “Four Betters” – better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life. Qu emphasized that these are not just ambitions, but a call to action.

Despite the challenges posed by conflict and climate change, Africa remains home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world. The emerging shift towards a continental free trade area offers opportunities for increased investment in the region.

Qu highlighted FAO’s innovative initiatives in Africa, including projects using drones for livestock reproduction in Rwanda and black fly larvae to convert food waste into organic fertilizer in Ivory Coast.

Ministers attending ARC33 are encouraged to exchange knowledge and best practices to enable each country to lead the transformation of its agri-food system. FAO stands ready to support these efforts.

The regional conference will include special events focusing on emerging technologies, climate resilience, market dynamics, aquatic foods, agricultural mechanization, digitalization, inclusive policies, biodiversity, desertification and livestock development strategies.

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