The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has outlined steps for Africa to unleash its full potentials in boosting food production and attaining food security.
The Director General of FAO, Qu Dongyu, said at the Italy-Africa Summit tagged “A Bridge for Common Growth” in Rome that Africa’s food security dream is hinged on five key pillars that could provide game-changing solutions to efficient agrifood systems transformation, underpinned by strategic partnerships, targeted investment; creating jobs for youth and women empowerment; collectively addressing the root causes of migration, bringing new hope and new solutions; innovation and skills development, particularly for youth and women and improving market access and trade.
According to him, transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems in Africa can boost average agricultural productivity by two to three times and stimulate rural renovation and development.
To this end, the director general stressed that sustainably harnessing the potential of Africa’s massive domestic food market could help achieve the vision of an African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), leading to a possible 20 to 30 per cent increase in inter- and intra-regional trade in agricultural products by 2040.
“This would also strengthen resilience to shocks and stress, create jobs and market opportunities and help tackle the impacts of the climate crisis,” Qu added.
The FAO boss commended the Government of Italy for convening the summit to promote an equal partnership with Africa and ensuring that the region remains central to discussions during the Italian Presidency of the G7.
Qu also thanked Italy for generous voluntary contributions, with Africa as one of the main partners, as well as for the new collaboration on the joint project “Green Cities for Africa”, within the context of the FAO Green Cities Initiative. The project aims to support the actions for mitigation and adaptation in 10 African cities.
He emphasised that agrifood systems are the backbone of Africa providing 62 per cent of livelihoods, while praising Africa’s numerous assets such as abundant natural resources, a promising young population, traditions, and knowledge, the Director-General noted that some 20 per cent of the continent’s population was still undernourished.