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Accelerated implementation of CAADP to improve African food and nutrition security

Dignitaries at 14th ADFNS and 19th CAADP PP in Zambia

There is an urgent need to accelerate the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), a continental framework for agricultural transformation and agriculture-led growth strategy to achieve ambitious targets on food and nutrition security as outlined in the Malabo Declaration.

These were sentiments by the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD)’s Director of Agriculture, Food Security and Environmental Sustainability today during the first day of the 14th Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security (ADFNS) Commemoration and the 19th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Partnership Platform running from the 30th of October to the 2nd of November 2023 in Lusaka, Zambia.

The expert said issues of food and nutrition security are foremost on the development agenda as a continent. Tied to this call, she said building resilient and inclusive food systems for Africa is the most pressing challenge of our generation since more than 250 million Africans are hungry.

Africa is still emerging from the devastation of the Covid pandemic, and the ongoing Ukraine/Russia war. These are some of the major shocks that have devastated the continent’s fragile food systems in recent years. Unfortunately, due to the lagged effects of these shocks, hunger, and malnutrition on the continent is likely to worsen in the coming years.

This picture is compounded by a deepening climate crisis that threatens food production systems, natural ecosystems that are critical to the resilience of our food systems, key infrastructure, and the lives and health of millions of our people. Our current investments in adaptation and resilience building are still way short of what is required to win the fight against climate change. These are only a few of the challenges facing our food systems.

“To be clear, Africa faces a dangerous cocktail of mutually reinforcing crises that are converging into a ‘perfect storm’. Unless we act with urgency and common purpose, our continent faces a dire future.

“The crises we face today are a stuck reminder of the urgent need to accelerate the implementation of CAADP, our continental framework for agricultural transformation and agriculture-led growth strategy to achieve our ambitious targets on food and nutrition security as outlined in the Malabo declaration. A ‘quantum leap’ in our efforts is required to ensure that all Africans have access to safe, nutritious, and affordable food, produced sustainably by our African farmers who also have to make a decent living out of their hard work,” Mrs Fotabong said.

Ms. Suze Filippini, the FAO Representative to Zambia said in 2014, African leaders adopted the Malabo Declaration to accelerate structural reform, committing themselves to ensure food and nutrition security through agriculture-led growth and tripling intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and services by 2025.

She said that commitment underscores the perceived critical importance of trade in achieving food security on the continent.

“In fact, trade contributes to Africa’s food security by enhancing the availability, access, utilization, and stability of agrifood supplies. It contributes to the resilience of agrifood systems, underpinning the stability of supply by compensating for shortfalls in domestic production. Furthermore, trade can promote better nutrition by allowing access to a wide and diverse range of foods necessary for healthy diets, Ms. Filippini said.

In light of this, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) presents an opportunity to enhance inclusive investment and trade in agricultural products with a view to increasing output, moderating food prices, and building resilience to external shocks.

The AfCFTA represents a large captive continental market of over one billion consumers and presents attractive opportunities for smallholder farmers, women, youth, and other business operators in the agrifood value chain. However, when not aligned with the national objective of promoting healthy diets, it can also bring harmful effects, via the availability of cheap, energy-dense foods with minimal nutritional value, which then lead to increased obesity and diet-related Non-Communicable Diseases.

Dr.Hameed Nuru, Director for World Food Proigramme Africa Union Global Office and Representative for African Union Commission and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa presented on “Success Stories and Policy Lessons on The Intersection Between Nutrition, Food Security and Trade.”

He highlighted achievements in implementing the CAADP and other initiatives aiming to reduce food insecurity and malnutrition.
TheWFP is partnering with the AU and all the partners to achieve zero hunger on the continent, leveraging partnerships and existing continental flagship programs.
For decades, WFP has directly and indirectly supported the CAADP and the Maputo Declaration of 2003, as well as the Malabo Declaration later adopted by African leaders in 2014, WFP, as a key partner to the AU and its member states, with a deep-field presence in over 45 African countries, 4 regional bureaus, and expenditures that amount to half of its annual budget, supports CAADP and other initiatives through various activities, including policy support, capacity building, investments in agriculture, nutrition-sensitive agriculture, social protection and safety nets, and data and analysis,
“Having stated that, despite the fact that there has been development in a number of African agricultural sectors, a paradigm shift is clearly required. The majority of member states are currently far from fulfilling the seven Malabo set of commitments, and on top of that, there is an unparalleled food security catastrophe affecting the entire world, but especially our continent Africa. In this regard, I would like to appreciate the AUC and AUDA-NEPAD for starting the discussion on the post-Malabo framework that aims to guide continental efforts to transform Africa’s food systems for the next 10 years. I would also like to recall and applaud the consultative meeting that took place on 05-07 July 2023 in Casablanca, Morocco, this type of platforms are crucial to ensure that all stakeholders have a voice and take a shared responsibility in the post-Malabo framework implementation.”
Actions to be taken to optimize resources to address food insecurity on the continent, including the Malabo Policy Learning Event (MAPLE), will assist us in developing a concrete plan of action in this regard.
He proposed the following:
– Targeting countries with the capacity and home-grown advantage (Breadbaskets) to produce for their own consumption and immediate regional needs.
– Promoting Diversification, and consumption of indigenous foods that have been lost to “outside preferences”.
– Attracting more youth into the agricultural sector, the sector will have to be more attractive and lucrative.
– Encouraging and supporting interregional food commodity trade, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) should primarily focus on agricultural commodities, and
– Investing in resilience building, an insurance policy against future vulnerabilities.
“To conclude, I would like to reaffirm that as AU continues to provide policy guidance and direction, WFP will use its corporate footprint and technical capacities as the largest humanitarian organization that focuses on both saving lives and changing lives to imbed the post-Malabo framework into its programming, and also support the efforts for its domestication in national and regional agricultural Investment plans, policies, and strategies,” he added.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende