Food systems ‘integral’ to Covid-19 recovery, says AfDB
In a statement on March 12, she lamented that “hunger is a greater threat to many Africans than the Covid-19 crisis”.
“Africa must now urgently strengthen its food systems as an integral part of efforts to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and to build resilience,” she urged.
University of Pretoria Vice-Chancellor Tawana Kupe noted that, “when they function well, food systems have the power to bring us together as families, communities and nations. But too many of the world’s food systems are fragile and vulnerable to collapse.”
Taking this into account, the AfDB is working in partnerships to drive the food sector’s transformation, mainly focusing on sustainably intensifying the production of safe and nutritious food to meet demand; careful management of land, soils, and water; increasing the contribution of local food producers and suppliers and reducing post-harvest losses; and harnessing digital technologies to develop and drive food systems transformation.
“The AfDB is championing the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), a continent-wide initiative designed to boost agricultural productivity across the continent by rapidly delivering proven technologies to millions of farmers,” Mokaddem added.
Other initiatives that underscore the bank’s leadership role in the sector are its financing of Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones to concentrate agroprocessing activities within areas of high agricultural potential, as well as the promotion of climate-smart agriculture.
Removing barriers to agricultural development could spur a jump in Africa’s agricultural output from an yearly $280-billion to $1-trillion by 2030, Mokaddem said at the virtual event last week, where she represented AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina.
“AfDB is committed, in partnership with key stakeholders, to supporting agricultural transformation and calls on governments, multilateral development banks and other development partners to support a technology development and delivery mechanism required to achieve the transformation of African agriculture.”
World Health Organization Special Envoy for Covid-19 David Nabarro, meanwhile, said the organisation is “seeking to transform food systems so they can be more sustainable and equitable, and it’s a transformation that will contribute to all of the Sustainable Development Goals, and [is] absolutely key to dealing with the other major crises in our world at this time”.
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