Africa’s food insecurity is likely to continue to manifest itself unless the continent’s leaders address the lack of cross-border agricultural food markets and take steps to tackle poor land use po licies, a UN official said here Sunday.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Executive Secretary Abdo ulie Janneh said the food crisis that faced Africa in 2008 revealed major weakne s ses in Africa’s food production chain that needed to be addressed.
Speaking at the opening session of the African Union’s Executive Council meeting , bringing together some 50 out of 53 African ministers of foreign affairs, the UN official said low levels of trade among African countries was al so leading to the food insecurity in the continent.
New measures to tackle problems such as land ownership, the fragmentation of agr icultural land and the creation of cross-border food chains are required to tackle Africa’s food insecurity, the senior UN offic ial said.
“It is imperative that Africa should take a regional approach and use its divers ity of resource endowments to develop regionally integrated strategic agricultural commodity value chains,” Janneh told the ministers.
African leaders are preparing to discuss the food crisis facing the continent du ring this year’s AU summit, due to open in Sirte, Central Libya, about 600 kms outside capital, Tripoli.
Janneh said although Africa made substantial progress in agricultural production , which is the mainstay of most economies in Africa’s 53 states, last year’s food insecurity revealed that challenges still existed in Af rica’s food production chain.
“These shortcomings include the prevalence of subsistence farming, low utilizati on of abundant land and water resources and a high degree of fragmentation of agricultural trade across fifty three states,” the UN official noted.
The July Summit of the AU is devoted to discussing the agriculture sector in Afr ica, the opportunities of regional agricultural trade and market systems, and the challenges for stimulating economic transformation and growth in Africa.
The discussions will also centre around the financing of the agriculture sector for sustainable development.
Meanwhile, the AU hopes to use its Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) to facilitate a principled dialogue between state and non-state actors, national and international stakeholders, and to firmly establish CAADP as the framework for country-driven development of the agricultural sector.
It will highlight and help deepen the involvement of farmers’ organisations, pr ivate business entities and Africa’s academic and research institutions in the CAADP process.
The summit will also reaffirm the commitments of African governments and interna tional development partners to the provision of coordinated support to CAADP implementation at country and regional levels.