Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Ethiopia is urging for collaborative solutions to global hunger and malnutrition at the 42nd Session of the FAO Conference. Representing His Excellency Omer Hussein, the country’s Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Efa Muleta Boru, Advisor to the Minister, delivered a robust speech highlighting the severity of the current food security crisis and the key role of innovative agri-food systems in addressing this issue.
With COVID-19 escalating global hunger rates and laying bare systemic inequalities in agri-food systems, Mr. Boru stressed the urgent need for effective international solutions. The pandemic, climate shocks, and conflicts are accelerating the food insecurity rate with a projected 174 million people expected to face such hardship this year.
Though Africa is home to 60% of the world’s arable land, the continent struggles with food production, resulting in widespread humanitarian crisis. A combination of low productivity, underinvestment, poor rural infrastructure, soil degradation, and poor implementation capacity is overwhelming African agriculture.
“The drivers for the rise of global hunger and malnutrition particularly in Africa are also caused by climate change posed shocks, conflicts and violence,” Boru said. He warned that climate change and vulnerabilities negatively impact all aspects of food security and intensify other underlying causes of malnutrition.
Ethiopia, however, is committed to tackling these challenges head-on, pledging its dedication to the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG1 & SDG2, aimed at ending hunger and poverty. The nation is executing ambitious initiatives, including the Green Legacy Initiative, aiming to plant 20 billion seedlings by 2024, the expansion of agro-industrial parks, agromechanisation, and investment in innovation, research, and development.
Ahead of the global Food Systems Summit, Mr. Boru emphasized the need for holistic and innovative strategies to confront contemporary and future challenges. He praised the FAO’s Medium Term Plan and Strategic Framework for their vision of better production, nutrition, environment, and life.
FAO’s Hand-in-Hand Initiative, which aids disadvantaged countries in integrating actions for agri-food system transformation, was particularly applauded. Mr. Boru suggested giving priority to small-holder farmers by providing access to finance, agricultural inputs, mechanization, small-scale irrigation, and promoting diverse agricultural production.
Supporting FAO’s digital agriculture system development, he stated, “Our Government believes that innovative agri-food systems are the core tenet in either Africa or any other areas to address global hunger and malnutrition.”
To conclude, the Advisor to the Minister urged all partners and organizations to participate in hand-in-hand initiatives to progress from strategies to action, bringing about agricultural and food transformation.