We need an integrated approach to improving food security – AGRA Boss

Country Manager of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Bashiru Musah is calling for an integrated approach to improving world food security as global leaders gather for the United Nations Food Systems Summit on Thursday.

He says the world also needs an inclusive approach to fixing food insecurity challenges.

“I expect the Food Systems Summit to come up with renewed commitments for us to be able to adopt a more wholistic and inclusive approach to food systems in Africa. I am looking at a food system that can help us tackle hunger and poverty so that we can improve our nutrition and the general wellbeing of our people,” he told Asaase Radio’s Emmanuel Aboagye Wiafe on the midday news.

“We expect our leaders to speak with one voice and call for change in the way food is produced and processed. So, we are proposing that one of the things the world should be looking at is investments in agribusiness for smallholder farmers,” he said. “Most of the foods we eat, 90% of it is produced by smallholder farmers,” Mr. Musah added.

The UN’s extraordinary global Food Systems Summit will launch bold, new actions to help deliver progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, each of which relies to some degree on the goal of achieving zero hunger. The meeting was deemed necessary because the world currently is not on track to meet the zero-hunger target and other SDGs by 2030 unless drastic actions are taken. Today’s summit will synthesize discussions that have taken place over the last 18 months during independent dialogues organized by governments, NGOs and private sector organizations. President Akufo-Addo and other leaders will be speaking at the summit.

“The SDGs are very important indicators for us set by the UN. Hunger and poverty in Africa can only end if we can build a resilient food system that is integrated with the world economy,” Mr. Musah said.

“We need to tackle food systems from farm to table. We need to look beyond the production and look at how we are able to connect the different aspects of the value chain when it comes to food production and ensure we have public and private sector participation to provide the storage, the infrastructure and technology in a very conducive policy environment that enables agriculture to triumph,” he added.

The AGRA boss says there needs to be long-term planning and not just tackling food insecurity challenges piecemeal. “Through past experience, we know that technologies (such as quality seed and fertilizers) help ensure better farm productivity and can help tackle some of these challenges. Especially in this era when climate change is negatively impacting agriculture. We believe such technologies are best delivered to farmers if packaged as a suite of services from local businesses, and after a lot of research, discussions, and collaborations. So, we all need to work together,” he said.

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