Writes Wilfred Miga (PELUM Zambia, Head of Programmes)
The ongoing 14th Africa Food and Nutrition Security (ADFNS) commemoration and the 19th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme Partnership Platform (CAADP PP) conference highlighted a number of issues that are of interest to Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Zambia.
It is evident that there is a realization of the need to accelerate the implementation of CAADP which is a continental framework for agriculture transformation and agriculture-led growth. This is true given the time CAADP was actualized in 2014 during the Maputo conference. Also, the conference has brought out the need for Africa to have one resolve in terms of where we want our agriculture development to focus and where investments should be channeled, mainly adaptation and building resilience among the food producers within the food system.
It is also critical that African agroecosystems are vulnerable to droughts, floods, pest attacks, and wars resulting in hunger, malnutrition, and at times death. There is a need to tap into the opportunities that Africa has to overcome some of these problems that we face as a continent. As PELUM Zambia, we acknowledge that the problems need a huge transformation of the agriculture sector to make it more sustainable taking into consideration the fast-changing global economic and climatic changes.
We, therefore, appeal to African Leaders, scientists, and stakeholders to look at more innovation that works for Africans. We need to begin to upscale production systems that work for the continent such as agroecology agriculture and align policy environments that work for the people and not remove the rights of the small-scale food producers.
Better nutrition and food security can only be actualized if we use sustainable food production systems, remove inequality, and increase cross-border collaboration in trade.
In her speech, the Vice President of the Republic of Zambia, Madam Nalumango implored delegates to gaze back at the Malabo declaration and see the significant commitments made by African heads of state in 2014 to boost agriculture growth and food security on the continent.
She emphasized the need for the implementation of these declarations so that some of Africa[‘s problems are solved. It is high time that we begin to focus on a more holistic approach to our food production system as echoed by Dr David Amudavi from Biovision Kenya.
In his presentation, he outlined how a more environmentally friendly form of agriculture such as Agroecology would contribute to food security and nutrition security through its diverse use of local input, conservation of biodiversity, the building of human capital, local-based investments, and respect for the rights of the food producers.
Mr. Mathews Mhuru, the Deputy Director at the National Food and Nutrition Commission of Zambia, also placed emphasis on the transformation of the food production system into a more sustainable system that does not belittle the small-scale farmers who are producing almost 80% of the food consumed on the continent.
He also emphasized the need for early warning systems, digital transformation, and Artificial intelligence with a focus on improving food and nutrition security on the continent.
It is clear that as the conference comes to a close, it is upon the African heads of state and the scientists as well as the youth who comprise more than 60% of the population on the continent to begin the discussion on transforming the food system into a sustainable one. We need food production systems that respond to climate change, soil and environment degradation, and general calamities that are taking place on the continent. Food production should not only be profit-oriented but should be more humane and encompass health, economic prosperity, human rights, and the general well-being of the people.
A call to the young people who are not only the future but are the driving force behind the trans-formative agenda but they should be involved and take interest in the innovations and agenda that are set. It is the youth that will realize most of these commitments therefore they should take up more roles and hold the elders accountable. It therefore is imperative that the youth are empowered and equipped for the future.