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FAO urges African countries to reduce food imports

Staff Writer |
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of UN on Monday called on African governments to reduce importation of food to the continent by implementing food sufficiency measures.

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Tito Arunga, FAO Kenya Agribusiness Officer, said the continent has the potential of producing enough food once efforts aimed at improving income earning opportunities are given emphasis.

"We need to ensure that our food system become efficient, resilient and inclusive in order to produce food in excess for domestic consumption," Arunga said during a public private partnerships agribusiness meeting for Africa in Nairobi.

He noted that besides Zambia that has sufficient food after putting measures that has led to bumper harvest and developed measures against post harvest losses, the remaining countries rely on food imports from outside the continent.

Arunga noted that the increasing youthful population in the continent calls for the adoption of farming techniques that survives climate change.

"There is need to include women and youths by supporting their endeavors in embracing agriculture so as to replace the aging population of farmers in the continent," he added.

He called on governments to address the root causes of internal and trans-boundary migration that he noted currently threatens food security as the youths that form 60 percent of population in the continent continue to migrate in search of alternative source of living in disregard of agriculture.

According to Janet Edeme, African Union Commission (AUC) Head of Division, Rural Economy, the commission has began holding a series of stakeholder meetings to discuss how to better involve the private sector in the implementation of Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP).

Edeme said there is need to support private sector investment to complement public sector efforts in addressing the investment gaps in the agriculture sector.

"It has become clear that AU member states alone are unable to implement their National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs) as the capital investments needed and the technical skills required to drive and transform the agriculture sectors in their countries would require private sector capital and expertise," she noted.

The AUC official observed that the pan African body is working with member states in reviewing and developing appropriate policies and programs that are aimed at helping leverage public sector incentives that catalyze private sector investments with emphasis on women and youths.

"We are continuing in mobilizing and strengthening of the organizational capacity of African Domestic Private Sector Apex Bodies engaged in agribusiness," she added.


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