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2014 Year of Agriculture and Food Security

May 13th, 2014 Posted in Agriculture, English
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Continental Conference of Agriculture and Food Security, AU,Addis Ababa , April 14.

2014 is the year of Agriculture and Food Security for the African Union; it is as well the Year of Family Farming for the United Nations. This commemoration marks the end of the first phase of the CAADP (Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme).

Two weeks ago, I headed a team of Oxfam colleagues from Western, Eastern and Southern Africa regions, FFH (Female Food Heroes) from Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Tanzania, RWA (Rural Women Assemblies) from Southern Africa and partners from different countries and regions of the continent. Our objectives as founding member of the NSA (Non State Actors) was to positively influence the outcome of the ministerial meeting.

I was genuinely humbled to address the joint NSA (Non State Actors) Continental Conference of Agriculture and Food Security. The journey, since 2014 had been declared Year of Agriculture and Food Security by African Head of States, had been long, challenging yet rewarding as more than 120 organisations and networks have endorsed the 10 recommendations that constitute the pathway from rhetoric to action.

Before walking you through our journey, allow me to recall that in July 2003, African Heads of State and Government committed in Maputo to reduce hunger and poverty by investing at least 10% of their national budget in agriculture. African civil societies welcomed this solemn commitment with lot of hope.10 years later, only 8 African countries out of 54 have kept this promise; and some without being able to break the vicious circle of food and nutrition crisis.

In Africa, agriculture contributes to an average of 45% of our economies and employs 60% of the active population. Paradoxically, this is these farmers, fishers, livestock farmers who feed us that suffer the most from poverty, repetitive food crisis, climate change effects, soaring prices, and malnutrition.

Our role, as Oxfam, here is not only to speak on behalf of NSA, but to tell part of the story that started years ago with a group of organisations that thought that the future we want or the future Africa deserves has to be collectively shaped by State Actors and Non-State actors. Numerous consultations took place, led by farmers’ organisations, INGOs and NGOs based in Africa, women organisations, youth movements, pastoralists and various coalitions. These actors have meaningfully participated to the crafting the 10 recommendations that set the pathway for zero hunger by 2025 as stated by the Ministerial resolutions.

However, a lot of studies prove it, investing in agriculture can reduce poverty sustainably and significantly. This means as well support our familial exploitations, allow them to produce more, create added value and reduce risks of shortage and food crisis on the continent. Indeed, in sub-Saharan Africa growth in agriculture is 11 times more effective in poverty reduction than any other sector.

2014 represents a unique opportunity for Heads of State and Government of Africa, to remember the 2003 commitments, to renew them and transform commitments into actions. We would like draw your attention to the following facts:

–       223 millions of persons on the continent are still suffering from hunger

–       The majority of persons suffering of hunger are farmers, livestock farmers, women farmers and their family. The ones that feed us!

Investing in agriculture focusing on, but not exclusively on family farming is an effective way to:

  • Allow African family, to better eat without any shortage or food crisis risks
  • Help farmers, livestock farmers, women farmers and fishers to get out of poverty and offer a better future to Africa!

Today, African farmers, fishers and livestock farmers need a renew commitment for African agriculture that will support them to end food insecurity in Africa!

Head of States have the authority to create new opportunities that will transform lives of millions of farmers, fishers and livestock farmers and offer a brighter future to the next generations.

Lamine Ndiaye OI Pan African Head of Economic justiceMouhamed Lamine Ndiaye

 GROW Pan Africa Head of Economic Justice

Oxfam  

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