Sep 9, 2022 | AGRF 2022 Summit voices

AGRF calls for $200bn funding for resilient food systems in Africa

Original Post: The New Times

The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) has called on global leaders to mobilise $200 billion in investment annually into adaptive food systems – able to withstand climate change and new challenges as they emerge – across Africa.

This is one of the resolutions contained in the declaration made on Friday at the conclusion of the 12th AGRF summit which took place in Kigali, Rwanda, from September 5-9, 2022. It was held under the theme “Grow. Nourish. Reward – Bold Actions for Resilient Food Systems.”

While reading the declaration to the Summit participants, Jennifer Baarn, Ag Managing Director of AGRF said that climate change is real and is threatening lives and increasing hunger.

For instance, in June this year, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned of the increasing risk of famine in the Horn of Africa due to severe and prolonged drought conditions, calling for urgent life-saving and livelihood assistance to avert a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’.

The region was already facing high levels of food insecurity, with 16.7 million people projected to be in crisis or worse levels of high acute food insecurity due solely to the drought in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

In Rwanda, last year, over 36,000 households comprising over 156,000 members were hit by prolonged drought in the country’s Eastern Province, prompting the Government to launch an exercise to provide them with food relief.

“We are committed to confronting the threat posed by climate change. We agree to work with nature, allowing our land and biodiversity life-sources to regenerate, which builds resilience to climate change. Presidents and ministers reiterated the importance of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C,” the above-mentioned Declaration reads in part.

“The AGRF calls on global leaders to mobilise investment of $200 billion per year into adaptive food systems across Africa. We urge member states to address this and food systems transformation this November at COP27 in Sharm-el-Sheikh [Egypt], with leaders agreeing to ensure a common African position at the summit,” it added.

COP – Conference of Parties – is the supreme decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Summit was attended by6,467 participants in a hybrid model – with some participants (over 2,400) attending it in person in Kigali, and the remaining ones following it online.

“This year’s AGRF, taking place as the continent continues to feel the shocks of successive crises, amplified our understanding of the vulnerability of our food systems. The Covid-19 pandemic placed extraordinary strain on our countries. Climate change is real, threatening livelihoods and increasing hunger,” Baarn said.

“Our food systems are fragile. The price of food has risen by more than 40% since the beginning of Covid-19, and 147 million people are facing crisis levels of food insecurity – an increase of 20 million since the beginning of 2022,” she indicated.

The Summit participants held that sustainable food systems are the only pathway to achieving the key sustainable development goal of ending hunger by 2030.

Current and former leaders outlined their policy reforms and increased self-sufficiency following the Covid-19 pandemic.

“If anything, the global pandemic and the ongoing crisis [Russia-Ukraine war] have taught us that we have to work on the national level, regionally, in partnership with other actors to increase [agro]processing on the continent, but also seek solutions in [farm] inputs for example, fertilisers, innovation, among others,” Baarn observed.

Hailemariam Dessalegn, the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Chair of AGRA and the AGRF Partners Group said that we are committed to drive climate smart agriculture, and improve climate finance.

As the continent is preparing for COP27, he said that it will need a common position at the conference in regards to addressing climate change.

“We will work with the African Union to strengthen Africa’s position and voice,” he said.

Gerardine Mukeshimana, the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources said that the meeting participants discussed improving Africa’s food systems, “and I am confident that the solutions that we have drawn together will massively contribute to rapid food system transformation on the continent.”

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