AFRICAN leaders should push for establishment of the US$1 billion facility to support agriculture transformation systems at the United Nations Food Systems Summit to be held in a fortnight, African Development Bank (AfDB) chief said.
The facility, expected to reduce hunger and malnutrition by between 10 and 20 percent, was proposed at a high level dialogue between the AfDB and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in April this year.
The dialogue was chaired by the Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, who is also African Union chairman and was attended by 11 African leaders and several global representatives.
AfDB president Dr Akinwumi Adesina said the upcoming UN Food Systems summit provided an opportunity for African leaders to speak with one voice to ensure the facility come to fruition.
Apart from reducing hunger by 10 to 20 percent, the proposed facility would provide 40 million African farmers with modern farming technologies, double the yields of major crops, produce 100 million tonnes of food and feed additional 200 million people.
“We should ensure that the facility is established as a major outcome for Africa at the UN Food Systems Summit,” Dr Adesina told the Africa Green Revolution Forum 2021 on Thursday.
“Given its critical importance in Africa, we will request your Excellences, Heads of States and Governments, please include your strong support for the establishment of the facility for financing food and nutrition in your speeches at the summit.
“Malnourished children today will lead malnourished economies tomorrow. Let us feed Africa with pride, with your strong will we surely can,” Dr Adesina emphasised.
The UN Food Systems Summit will take place during the UN General Assembly in New York on September 23. It will seek to set the stage for global food systems transformation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The UN Secretary-General will convene the Food Systems Summit with the aim of maximising the co-benefits of a food systems approach across the entire 2030 Agenda and meeting the challenges of climate change. The summit aims to provide a platform for ambitious new actions, innovative solutions, and plans to transform food systems and leverage these shifts to deliver progress across all of the SDGs.
It is envisioned that the summit will have objectives and outcomes including to raise awareness of food systems’ centrality to the entire sustainable development agenda, and the urgency of transforming food systems, particularly in the wake of a global pandemic; align stakeholders around a common understanding and narrative of a food system framework as a foundation for concerted action, making food and food systems a more widespread issue for advocacy and action to achieve the 2030 Agenda and recognise the need for inclusivity and innovation in food systems governance and action.
In addition, it seeks to motivate and empower stakeholders who support food systems transformation through the development of improved tools, measurement, and analysis and catalyse, accelerate, and enlarge bold action for the transformation of food systems by all communities, including countries, cities, companies, civil society, citizens, and food producers. Dr Adesina said Africa had huge potential to transform its agriculture systems and action was needed.
In the face of negative impacts of climate change, the AfDB said there was need to raise productivity, develop agricultural value chains, adopt climate proofing technologies, modernise agriculture and food supply system, develop infrastructure logistics systems and create conducive environment for private sector participation.
Last year, Zimbabwe launched Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation strategy which seeks to achieve a US$8,2 billion agriculture economy by 2025. In response to recurrent droughts resulting from climate change, the country adopted climate proofing technology known as Pfumvudza (a concept of conserving moisture) aimed at increasing productivity.