By Anthony Aisi.
Former UN Secretary-General and Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Kofi Annan, on Tuesday outlined how food and nutrition security, particularly for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, can be achieved by transforming agriculture and reshaping the global food security system.
Speaking at the high-level Flagship Forum: “Securing Food, Harvesting the Future”, in Berlin, Mr. Annan said: “in an era of plenty, nearly one in eight people do not have enough food to eat and another billion lack the nutrition necessary for proper health and development.”
Annan also Outlined the serious threat to food and nutrition security from the damaging impact of climate change: “Vast areas of once-fertile land are no longer productive. Rising temperatures and changes to rainfall patterns are reducing crop yields.”
He Urged world leaders from the public and private sectors to accelerate investment in agriculture: “It is in developing countries where the need and the potential to increase agricultural production and productivity are greatest.”
Called for climate-resilient and climate-smart agriculture: “New crops and techniques must be developed so the productivity of land and intensity of farming can be increased, without harming the environment or biodiversity on which our food security depends.”
Underlined that small-holder farmers must be placed at the heart of the fight against global hunger and malnutrition: “Food production can’t be increased at the speed and scale needed without mobilizing the army of small-holder farmers in developing countries.”
Called for fair and equitable global trade rules to allow crops to be sold at fair prices. He said that the global community has to provide “effective, efficient and equitable market access policies for
food”. Recognising Africa’s strong economic growth, and increased investment and revenues from the extractive industries, Mr. Annan emphasized that “there is still a great deal to be done to ensure this money is used wisely for the long-term benefit of all the country’s citizens”.
Highlighting the achievements of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and its partners in transforming smallholder agriculture into profitable businesses, Mr. Annan stressed that “we
have the ability to transform agriculture on the ground and reshape the global food security system to alleviate hunger, end poverty, and promote sustainable development.” He ended his keynote address with a call for vision, courage and leadership to achieve this goal.