Roundup: Agriculture experts, policymakers urge further actions on bio-technologies in Africa

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-23 02:14:25|Editor: yan
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ADDIS ABABA, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Agriculture sector experts and policymakers are calling for further actions in the agricultural bio-technologies sector so as to bring sustainable food systems and nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The experts and officials made the call at a three-day regional meeting organized by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) on agricultural bio-technologies in sustainable food systems and nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa. The meeting is held at the headquarters of the African Union in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa from Nov. 22 to 24.

Wang Ren, FAO Assistant Director-General for Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department, told the meeting that bio-technologies "are relevant all along the value chain from the farm to the fork, but it has also been uncovered that access to these technologies has not been even."

Noting that bio-technologies are part of the set of innovations that have transformed agriculture and people's livelihoods in other parts of the world, Wang said that there is a greater sense of urgency in Africa to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which dictates to eradicate hunger and poverty by 2030.

Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, also stressed that up to 15 African countries have been categorized as severely food insecure since the break of this millennium and the trend has continued until today, despite reports of advanced agriculture.

"Since 2015 until now the state of food insecurity in Africa report shows that over a quarter of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa (26.6 percent) experienced hunger and stunting continues to worry the continent," she indicated.

"This alone lends credit to the need for investing in bio-technologies. Africa needs to promote and invest in technologies that allow the use of efficient and effective water management," Sacko said.

Eyasu Abraha, Ethiopian Agriculture and Natural Resources Minister, also indicated that the east African country is presently striving to promote utilization of bio-technologies that are crucial in enhancing agricultural products and production.

According to Abraha, Ethiopia has made a series of strides in promoting biotechnology in the country, including preparation of the National Biotechnology Policy and Strategy, in addition to the Biotechnology Law approved by the Parliament in 2015.

He also indicated that the Ethiopian government has established the National Biotechnology Institute, which is responsible in leading and coordinating biotechnology activities of Africa's second populous nation.

"To make use of the full potential of biotechnology as described in the National Biotechnology Strategy, Ethiopia is aggressively investing in human capacity development at various levels", Abraha said.