Food security to be at centre of Africa development agenda

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The three heads of the Rome-based UN agencies at the conference

The three heads of the Rome-based United Nations agencies have called for food security and nutrition to be placed at the centre of the international agenda for African development.

They also stressed that special attention should be given to supporting smallholder farmers to improve global food security and empowering rural women, addressing gender inequalities and enabling them to transform their own lives and the lives of their families and communities.

The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, the President of the International Fund for Agricultural development (IFAD), Kanayo Nwanze, and the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, said that the most effective key to reversing hunger and poverty in developing countries lay in responsible investment by governments and the private sector in sustainable agricultural and rural development.

Speaking at the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) in Japan, they noted that in sub-Saharan Africa, GDP growth generated by agriculture had been shown to be eleven times more effective in reducing poverty than GDP growth in other sectors. They stressed that it is time to invest in the critical agents of change: small producers and their organizations, family farmers, fishers, livestock keepers, forest users, rural workers, entrepreneurs and indigenous people.

They agreed that hunger, malnutrition and extreme poverty should remain at the core of the post-2015 agenda, following the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, and expressed confidence that the world could overcome the twin scourges of poverty and hunger within a generation.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’32″

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