Interview: FAO pledges support for agricultural transformation in Africa: official

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-14 22:45:24|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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NAIROBI, June 14 (Xinhua) -- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on Friday pledged to help Africa countries improve their agricultural productivity and transform livelihoods of rural communities.

Gabriel Rugalema, FAO country representative in Kenya, said that the UN agency is keen to provide solution to Africa's perennial hunger and malnutrition crisis.

"We are ready to help countries acquire knowledge, strategies and tools needed to ensure that the goals of Malabo Declaration are reached much sooner," Rugalema told Xinhua.

The Malabo declaration was reached in June 2014 by Africa's Heads of State in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on improvement of agricultural growth, transforming and improved livelihoods.

It was not only a recommitment to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program principles, but also gave a clear direction and imperative for the goals to be achieved by 2025.

The declaration urged the setting up of an accountability system to track performance in the agricultural sector that is the backbone of most African economies.

Rugalema said that political goodwill is required to boost transformation of agriculture in Africa and feed a growing population in the rapidly urbanizing continent.

He said that eradicating poverty and food insecurity warrants participation of stakeholders in government, industry and multilateral lenders.

"Food security is a human right for which both right holders and duty bearers have responsibility to ensure that it is achieved with the involvement of a multisectorial effort," said Rugalema.

He said that farmers, research institutions, policy makers and civil society should form part of the agricultural transformation efforts in Africa.

The FAO official urged policy makers to ensure that various sectors of the economy are resourced and well-coordinated to deliver the goals of Malabo declaration.

He said that all countries need to ensure that policies, programs and activities that are aimed at addressing hunger and food insecurity are in place and routinely revised.

"We are working closely with a specialized African Union (AU) commission-taskforce review and in collaboration with other partners to improve the accountability tool and align it with the accountability framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)," said Rugalema.

He said that FAO has supported African countries to strengthen their statistical capacities, and produce quality data for estimating a number of indicators common to the African Union's Biennial Review and SDGs.

The first biennial review of the mechanism took place in 2018 and it showed that the AU in partnership with its stakeholders are committed to establishing and maintaining a robust accountability mechanism.

Rugalema urged African governments to increase budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector and reach the 10 percent target agreed by the continent's leaders during their meeting in the capital of Mozambique, Maputo in 2003.