Invest in agricultural research to address food insecurity in Africa – Josefa Sacko

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by Daniel Abugre Anyorigya (CitiNewsRoom)

The Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment of AU, Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko has called for an increased investment in science and innovation to address the worsening food insecurity in Africa.

Miss Josefa assured that Africa could become a net food exporter since it has “the best lands and the youngest population” which when coupled with science and technology will boost the agricultural sector.

“Africa has rivers, 38 coastal countries … So let us unlock the potential we have and start going out of these reports that come from FAO, etc [which states that] Africa is always left behind in the issue of malnutrition and food insecurity”, she stated.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 8th Africa Agribusiness and Science Week in Durban, Miss Josefa bemoaned that the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict, and climate change have worsened food insecurity in Africa.

Therefore to address this challenge, she asked African leaders to revive their scientific institutions and fulfil their obligation to “allocate 10% of public resources to agriculture” as stated in the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods.

“African leaders need to leverage our science potential and invest in African scientific institutions. We know that the Ministers of Agriculture in our continent have their national research institutions and these national research institutions are collapsing. We should not allow it because we have scientists and our own knowledge so let us build on science; let’s support science”, she said.

She added that “the African Union has already taken some steps to address the challenges facing Africa’s agriculture sector. In 2014, the AU adopted the Malabo Declaration, which commits member states to invest at least 10% of their national budgets in agriculture.”

The 8th Africa Agribusiness and Science Week (AASW8) is underway in Durban, South Africa, from June 5-8.

The week-long event is held under the theme “Linking Agribusiness with Science and Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems”.

This will feature workshops, agritech expo, an investment forum, match-making sessions, and AfCFTA CAAPs.

The conference seeks to improve the performance of African agriculture and agribusiness in productivity, profitability, job creation, nutrition, sustainability, and resilience.

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