The Africa Food Systems Forum 2023 recently witnessed a consensus among Agricultural Ministers from various African nations: a pressing need to empower women and youth in reshaping the agricultural landscape. Identified as the backbone of the future labor force, these groups have been chosen for prime focus, with plans to design opportunities tailored for them.
Agriculture Minister Hussein Bashe took the platform at the end of the AGRF summit, voicing his vision of fostering stronger ties between government entities, civil societies, and the private sector. His speech underscored the urgency for revamping global financial mechanisms. The primary goal? To establish foundations that sustainably transform food systems while bridging the intersection between food security and the looming challenge of climate change.
“Our food systems have a dichotomous relationship with climate change, being both victims and contributors,” Minister Bashe said. “Yet, within this dual role, lies our chance to harness these systems for a sustainable green future.” While acknowledging the challenges, Bashe underscored the collective responsibility to ensure food security and provide stable livelihoods, especially given Africa’s rapidly expanding population.
One of the forum’s breakthrough strategies is the commitment to cross-sector collaboration. Beyond the realm of agriculture, synergies will be built with sectors such as livestock, fisheries, environmental conservation, trade, and more. By aligning strategies and leveraging the strengths of each nation, the ministers hope to stimulate regional and continental food trades, eventually ensuring a stable food supply chain.
Echoing the proactive tone of the Africa Climate Summit, Bashe reiterated, “As we stand at the crossroads, we must embrace a green growth trajectory that unequivocally emphasizes people, environmental stewardship, and shared prosperity.”
Moreover, the forum recognized the intricate web connecting hunger, poverty, environmental degradation, and climate change. As Minister Bashe pointedly remarked, hunger and poverty are “relentless foes of the natural world.”
Adding depth to this narrative, Abdallah Ulega, the Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, highlighted the critical need for financial injections, cutting-edge technological adoption, and specialized training modules. The goal? To cultivate a new age of Agripreneurs primed to lead sustainable revolutions in the agricultural domain.
Ulega’s message was unambiguous: “A true transformation will only be realized when we eliminate gender disparities, paving the way for an egalitarian and inclusive food ecosystem.”
Highlighting the mounting pressures of climate change on global food systems, Ulega championed the importance of integrating resilient, environment-conscious strategies within agricultural frameworks. His call to action emphasized curbing greenhouse emissions and instilling sustainable practices from farm to table.
Closing on a visionary note, Ulega pressed for intensified investments in agricultural innovation. By emphasizing value addition, Africa not only safeguards against post-harvest wastage but also positions itself as a fortress of food security, ready to feed its people and offer surplus to the world.