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Food and Land Use Coalition calls for new agricultural model

AGRF 2020

September 5th, 2019

Although Africa still hosts 60% of arable land in the world, there is a regression of these areas under the effect of climate change. It must be said that this availability of arable land contrasts with the fact that the majority of the 80 million people in need of food are living in Africa. After making this alarming report on food security, Josefa Sacko, Commissioner of the African Union for Agricultural and Rural Economy, calls for innovation to save soil productivity.  “We need to tap into science to make this happen. This panel is important for the African Union and is an opportunity to develop strategies for saving arable land on our continent. We are late in implementing the Malabo Declaration, which is supposed to eradicate hunger and poverty by 2025 “, she said.

Less than six years from the end of the Malabo declaration, African states seem far from the goal. Based on projections for 2050 of an African population of more than 2.5 billion people, the African Union Commission warns of the risks of a deterioration of food security, if incentives are not taken to improve the resilience of smallholders and adopting a more sustainable regenerative agriculture.

Dr. Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson global environment and facility commissioner at Global Commission on adaptation shared this opinion. “We need a major transformation of the food system, this issue is more severe in Africa where soil quality is declining and food insecurity is worsening. This need for transformation presents a great opportunity for the continent, which must not make the mistake of the Asian example based on the massive use of fertilizers. We need to increase the resilience of small farmers. I have no solution but adaptation remains a challenge”, she said.

These two allocations opened the door to debates with the panelists. For Ishmael Sunga, CEO of Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU),the change of method is not the responsibility of farmers.  “The transition must include the entire value chain, which I think is not yet well understood,” he said.

Arne Cartridge, Senior Adviser and Head of Global Initiatives at Yara International, explains his institution’s strategy for transferring practices to farmers, particularly in Tanzania.  “We need to think globally about nature, about human health by promoting sustainable agriculture,” says Cartridge.

The Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture, Eyasu Abraha insists on partnerships and coordination to meet the challenges of sustainable agriculture. “Ten years ago we were focused on production, but today the situation has changed, we are concerned about the quality of foodstuffs, and for that, policies need to be in symbiosis with the actors in the value chain. Once the environment is conducive, we must invest in research and monitoring projects”, he suggests.