The Food Systems Forum in Dar es Salaam, is more than a gathering; it’s a convergence of minds determined to address the very challenges that shape our daily lives. Dr. Kalibata, President of AGRA, sets the tone with her insights on the forum’s significance.
“This Food Systems Forum, taking place here in Tanzania, is poised to tackle our pressing challenges head-on. We’re addressing the aftermath of COVID-19, underscored by this year’s theme. We’re collectively forging actionable solutions for the future, a commitment that’s crucial. Climate change looms large, affecting us all. Thus, its discussion and solutions are paramount at this forum.”
Dr. Kalibata emphasizes the power of unity: “We must come together as a community to engage in candid conversations, to navigate our challenges, and to capitalize on opportunities. Alone, no one country or group can surmount these challenges. We need collective wisdom to pave the way forward.”
Reflecting on the forum’s diverse participation, she notes: “We have 33 ministers from across the continent, private sector representatives, and farming community members. This diverse assembly signifies an opportunity to comprehend our strengths, weaknesses, and what we must improve.”
This year’s focus on Youth and women resonates deeply. Dr. Kalibata acknowledges that inclusion is vital to combat the far-reaching impacts of crises, “Inclusion matters immensely; it’s evident as we navigate post-COVID-19 recovery, grapple with geopolitical crises, and address cost-of-living challenges. We witness the harshest impact on marginalized communities, especially women and youth.”
The timing of Agra’s strategy launch is far from coincidental, Dr. Kalibata states: “Agra’s strategy launch aligns with our commitment to action. We’re not merely talking but actively implementing programs and mobilizing resources in various countries. We aim to create a community ready to effect change and address Africa’s challenges with African solutions.”
She underscores the role of knowledge sharing: “Knowledge is global, but how we tailor it to address our challenges depends on the nuances of each community. With the vast capacity of institutions like Agra and the collective expertise at this forum, we can learn from each other’s experiences and tackle issues collaboratively.”
In Dr. Kalibata’s view, transformation emanates from action: “Transformation doesn’t stem from conferences alone; it’s about putting resources on the table. In Tanzania, we’re initiating transformative programs through government partnerships and mobilizing resources that will reach farmers.”
Her message to farmers is clear: “We’re here to listen and to drive real solutions. Through this forum, we’re bridging the gap between the challenges you face and the solutions you deserve. We’re ensuring that your struggles are not invisible but part of a collective movement.”
She affirms, “African farmers are bearing the brunt of climate change, yet they’re not responsible for it. We’re here to make their voices heard and to ensure their problems become our collective concern. As we address climate change, we remember that unity knows no bounds.”
We have gathered here in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for the Food Systems Forum, driven by a purpose that speaks to the core of our existence. This assembly is a direct response to the challenges we confront daily – the trials of recovering from the aftermath of COVID-19, as evident in the theme of this meeting, and the broader challenge of working collaboratively to devise actionable solutions for our shared future.
Amidst these concerns, the pressing issue of climate change takes center stage. This matter knows no boundaries, demanding the unified efforts of all. Hence, it is essential that we address this issue at a platform like ours. The challenges we face are not confined to a single country or a specific group; our struggles bind us together as a community.
Our convergence here marks an opportunity to engage in candid and difficult conversations. We recognize the potential that emerges when a community such as ours assembles to tackle these crucial issues head-on. It is through this process that we pave the way for progress and address the changes that must be made.
Our gathering boasts a diverse representation, comprising 33 ministers from various countries across the continent, along with representatives from the private sector and farming communities. This diversity holds significance beyond mere symbolism – it provides an occasion to identify gaps, leverage strengths, and glean insights from each other’s experiences.
In emphasizing the significance of youth and women this year, we underscore the importance of inclusion. The ramifications of crises like COVID-19 and conflicts such as the Russia-Ukraine war, coupled with the growing cost of living, disproportionately affect marginalized communities. Women and young people are often hit the hardest. Thus, our discussions must center on these pivotal issues.
The intentional launch of Agra’s strategy across different nations serves as a clear call to action. This initiative signifies our commitment to tangible results, rather than mere discourse. As an institution at the forefront of change, we are ready to roll up our sleeves and initiate programs in the countries where we operate. This fervor extends to others who share our vision, urging them to follow suit.
The essence of solving Africa’s problems lies within Africa itself. While knowledge is global, our approach to applying it and finding solutions must be tailored to our unique challenges. Institutions like Agra and the collective wisdom present at this forum provide us with the means to share experiences, fostering a culture of mutual learning.
True transformation is not an outcome of conferences alone; it arises from our willingness to allocate resources to effect change. This very week, we are launching a transformative program in Tanzania, aimed at mobilizing partners and resources. This initiative begins with the Tanzanian government and extends to partners committed to investing in change. These efforts address the challenges posed by climate change and the escalating cost of living, both of which directly affect our farmers and communities.
To our farmers and communities, know that we stand here to listen, to engage in meaningful dialogue, and to translate these conversations into actionable solutions. Our purpose is to bridge the gap between your challenges and our collective determination. Your struggles will not go unnoticed; we are steadfast in ensuring that your challenges become our shared responsibilities.
As we move forward, we foster hope that our collaborative efforts will extend far beyond this gathering. Climate change knows no boundaries, but neither does our unity. Together, we stand as advocates for African farmers who bear the brunt of climate change, despite not being responsible for its origins.