AU calls for enhanced efforts to fight hunger, malnutrition in Africa

Despite success stories recorded of steady overall economic performance where Africa hosts 7 of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies, its populations have continued to experience low resilience to natural and man-made shocks. Disclosing this at the opening of the 5th Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security in Kinshasa, Congo DR, during the week, African Union Commission’s Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace said that African continent has continued to experience worsening episodes of under-nutrition, vulnerability to famines and harrowing statistics of stunting.

“In the last 15 years alone, the continent was hit by famine disasters in the Sahel Region, the Horn of Africa, Mozambique and some parts of the Great Lakes Region, including Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo; as a result of the Nyiragongo volcano and recurrent armed conflicts.” Rhoda Peace said unfortunately, African continent has continued to lead in statistics and indicators of child and maternal under-nutrition, relatively low levels of micronutrient deficiencies, wasting and stunted growth.

“It takes action to accelerate ending hunger within a decade from now”, she said. “This is why our Heads of State and Government at their Summit in Malabo committed to upholding the values and principles set by the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which includes enhancing public and private investment in agriculture; ending hunger and halving poverty by 2025 and boosting intra African trade in agriculture commodities.”

Rhoda Peace said the theme of this year’s celebration “accelerated action for a hunger free Africa” should send a strong message that ten years after the 2003 Maputo Declaration by African leaders to reduce hunger, poverty and malnutrition through increased public and private investment in agriculture that it is time to scale up. “The 2012 Millennium Development Goals Report shows there has been a marked improvement in indicators of food and nutrition security.

“However, the improvement has not reached the level at which we can be sure that the trends might not plummet again, given the current low levels of resilience of majority of our populations to food insecurity shocks and stresses, coupled with high population growth and urbanisation among other megatrends.”

She promised that her department in the AUC will undertake to catalyse CAADP and sustain its momentum by ensuring that it delivers results and impact, “we have delivered this year the CAADP Results Framework which aims at measuring the extent to which AU Member States are creating wealth, employment, improving food and nutrition security and attain self-sufficiency.”

She added “the Commission will continue and even accelerate its advocacy and lobbying for political leaders to increase funding to direct and indirect, immediate and long-term programmes for cutting down vulnerability and low resilience in populations suffering from structural or transitory food insecurity. Officially opening the commemoration, and on behalf of the Government of DRC, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Hon. Jean Mukesyayira, said, “We are transforming Congolese agriculture from subsistence to commercial to secure a variety of food enough for all, to guarantee food and nutrition security.”

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