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Daily Archives: November 6, 2018

World Food Day: How IITA is addressing food security in Africa, by IITA Boss

World Food Day: How IITA is addressing food security in Africa, by IITA Boss

GODWIN ATSER, Ibadan

Research outputs by Africa Food Prize winner, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and its national partners are helping farmers to come out of poverty, creating jobs and demonstrating the possibility of having a prosperous African continent, says the Director-General of IITA, Dr Nteranya Sanginga today.

Addressing stakeholders at the Food Security Future Summit held at the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, on Wednesday, Dr Sanginga said: “what is needed in Africa is the political and collective will to act.”

He noted that Africa could achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (especially goal number 2 also known as Zero Hunger)  by 2030 if governments on the Continent  made a departure from mere rhetoric to taking action.

Looking at global trends, the IITA boss said that by 2050, Africa’s population will double.

“What that means is that we will have to feed more people. We will need more jobs for our youths. We will need more land, water, etc to produce food.

“Clearly, if we continue with a business as usual approach, we will be in trouble,” he added.

The director general also spoke on the disturbing trends of youth unemployment in Africa, citing that in Nigeria, between 2001 and 2010; 22 million young people entered the labour market in search for jobs.

“Some of these young people end up without decent jobs. In spite of our arable land, majority of African farmers are poor—most of them living on less than two dollars a day. Again malnutrition is widespread. So, we need to act and change this narrative!” Dr Sanginga who was represented by Godwin Atser, IITA Communication & Knowledge Exchange Expert said.

Dr Sanginga, however, said that there was a ray of hope for the continent and he cited some of the achievements made by IITA which culminated in the winning of the Africa Food Prize as a centre for research excellence.

He said the youth program at IITA, that is providing decent jobs for young people in agriculture, was a model that African nations could embrace and replicate to solve youth unemployment on the continent.

He also noted that some of the breakthroughs if scaled out could lift Africa out of poverty and bring the continent on the path of prosperity. These include IITA improved varieties of cassava, maize, soybean, yam, banana/plantain, and cowpea that are resistant to pest and diseases, and high yielding.

“Besides, we also have several other initiatives/projects that have demonstrated how countries can transform agriculture. For instance, the IITA Cassava Weed Management Project clearly demonstrates the possibility of doubling cassava yield from the current national average of 10 tons/ha to more than 20 tons per ha,” he added.

The summit, which had the theme: The Role of Stakeholders in Harnessing Nigeria’s Agricultural Potential for Food Security, Nutrition and Sustainable Development,was organised by the Community Action on Food Security Initiative—a non-governmental organisation as part of activities to mark the World Food Day.

The Convener of the Summit, Azeez Akanni Salawu said the objective of the summit was to spark critical discussions, inspire, engage, network, connect and form a formidable partnership that will be based on investing in food security and rural development leading to the achievement of the SDGs.

Celebrating a Renewed Commitment to U.S. Leadership in Global Food Security

Celebrating a Renewed Commitment to U.S. Leadership in Global Food Security

Celebrating a Renewed Commitment to U.S. Leadership in Global Food Security

We sincerely applaud bipartisan congressional leaders for the recent enactment of the Global Food Security Act (GFSA). At the height of particular partisan rancor, this broadly supported bipartisan legislation passed with overwhelming support in the United States House of Representatives and Senate this month. We thank the bipartisan lead sponsors: Senators Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA); Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ); Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN); Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), who is chairman of the respective committees of jurisdiction; and Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA) as well as the nearly 150 House and Senate cosponsors for their continued leadership in food security as an enduring priority in U.S. international development work. Senators Richard G. Lugar (R-IN) and Casey (D-PA) laid the foundation for this important legislation a decade ago.

Food security’s place at the global development table is now cemented with this five-year reauthorization. The law supports the federal government’s leadership already underway to implement a comprehensive strategy for U.S. foreign assistance to reduce global poverty and hunger. Originally enacted in 2016, the GFSA may now continue to sustain adequate investment, attention, and coordination around global agricultural development, food security, and poverty alleviation.

The GFSA will help future administrations maintain a mechanism to bring together the resources, programs, and policy expertise of multiple agencies of the federal government and important nongovernmental participants to address food security in developing countries. It brings together a multifaceted approach, including research, to ensure the thriving of the right seeds in challenging environments, support for the creation of new market value chains, and better opportunities for smallholder income.

Further, with the law’s five-year reauthorization, we see great opportunity to better align U.S. policy in this space and strengthen programs with private sector and civil society investment. This alignment will bolster country-led efforts, strengthen local capacity, and make the critically important connection among agricultural development, nutrition, and health. We look with enthusiasm for long-term results in continuing the downward trend in child stunting that now affects more than 150 million children under the age of five and increasing economic growth by raising individual and family income.

Our vision is of a world where safe, affordable, and nutritious food is produced in every country in ways that are socially inclusive and environmentally responsible and that the global food system is more diverse, secure, and sustainable. Working together across the globe on this goal means fewer people go hungry. It also means producers of all sizes are able to sustain the health of their families, land, and animals, contribute to the economic growth of their communities, and benefit from high-quality education, health care, and career opportunities.

At a time of great division in American politics, it is heartening to see an example of how we can work together to address hunger and poverty, thus building a safer, more stable and prosperous world. Congratulations to all who worked to secure passage of this important law.

Connie Veillette, PhD, is a senior fellow at the Lugar Center and was a senior professional staff member at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under the leadership of top-ranking Republican Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana during the time that he introduced the first Global Food Security Act legislation. She has also worked in the House of Representatives and the Congressional Research Service.

Deborah Atwood is board chair of ACDI/VOCA, executive director of AGree, and a senior fellow at Meridian Institute. She has over 35 years of policy and legislative experience in food, agriculture, environmental and international development.

CAS Ababu Urges FAO to Support Counties in Food Security Drive

CAS Ababu Urges FAO to Support Counties in Food Security Drive

CAS with FAO Deputy Director General Mr Daniel Gustafson.

Foreign Affairs CAS Hon Ababu Namwamba today paid a courtesy visit to Mr. Daniel Gustafson, Deputy Director General of Programs at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters in Rome, Italy.

Hon Ababu thanked FAO for their work in Kenya and their global contribution towards eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. He assured the Director General of the Government’s commitment to FAO and in particular operations of the Country Office in Kenya. He delivered appreciation of the Kenya government for the support FAO has extended to the forthcoming Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi. FAO has made a donation to the conference budget, and DDG Gustafson confirmed to CAS Ababu that the organisation would send a high level delegation to the conference.

Hon Ababu urged FAO to align its programs and cooperation to the government’s big four agenda championed by President Uhuru Kenyatta that focuses attention on food and nutrition and security, manufacturing including agro-processing, universal health care and affordable housing. He further briefed DDG Gustafson on devolution and asked that FAO initiates programs to directly and actively support counties. “Devolution has transformed the development model in Kenya. Counties and the emerging regional blocks are swiftly becoming exciting magnets for investment and epicenters of growth and prosperity. I invite FAO to take advantage of this and tailor programs to work with counties especially in the areas of food and nutritional security, value chain enhancement and agri-processing”, CAS Ababu told Mr. Gustafson.

FAO was established in 1945 as a specialized agency of the United Nations with focus on agriculture, nutrition and food security. It has a network of sub-offices throughout Kenya in Coast and Eastern region as well as West Pokot.

2019 Kuwait Foundation Al-Sumait Africa Prize 2019 for food security

2019 Kuwait Foundation Al-Sumait Africa Prize 2019 for food security

Application Deadline: April 30th 2019

His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Amir of the State of Kuwait, presented an initiative to the third African Arab Summit hosted by the State of Kuwait in November 2013 in support of the development of African Nations. The initiative establishes an annual award named after the late Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sumait, a Kuwaiti medical doctor who dedicated his life to raising funds to support humanitarian and charity work for health, education and food projects for the less fortunate in African Nations.

The award title is ‘Al-Sumait prize’ for advances in the fields of Food Security, Health and Education in the African continent. The prize is to be awarded annually to individuals or institutions within one of these fields and has a value of $1,000,000 (One million US dollars).

The objective of the prize

The objective of the prize is the recognition and appreciation of the best studies, scientific projects, applied research and innovation that have made a significant and lasting influence in advancing progress to economic and social development on the continent of Africa. The awarded projects should help African nations overcome poverty, hunger, lack of potable water, injustice or to improve health care, literacy and the allocation of economic resources. The prize should also highlight successes within the following areas: Food Security, Health and Education.

Prize:

A cash sum of $1,000,000 (one million US dollars) is awarded annually to an individual or organization within one of the three fields mentioned above along with a gold medal and certificate of recognition. The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) and the Board of Trustees for the prize will oversee the prize.

KFAS will provide administrative and logistic support and cover their costs. The announcement of the prize and an invitation for submission of nominations will be advertised annually in one of the areas of the prize, via social media and on the KFAS and Al-Sumait prize websites as well as by invitation email and advertisements.

Requirements:

  1. The nominated candidates’ research work or projects and initiatives must be innovative and must have achieved high-impact in line with international standards for the prize.
  2. The submitted work must be of paramount importance in promoting significant economic, social, human resources and infrastructure development in the African continent within the announced field of the prize.
  3. Submitted research work of a nominated candidate should be composed of studies and applied research, published in referred journals and recognized at a global level within the announced field. The research outcomes need to have been applied after publication in African countries within the past ten Adequate supporting evidence needs to be provided.
  4. Nominations are to be accepted from institutions and scientific centers (universities, institutes and centers of scientific research) as well as from competent regional or international and UN organizations and awards and former winners in the field of the prize or former evaluation members Nominations will only be accepted through institutions or other possible nominators mentioned above.
  5. All submissions must be submitted in English. If the work is carried out in other working UN languages, a comprehensive summary of the nominated work in English must be submitted.
  6. The nomination form and submitted works must be received before 30/04/2019

Visit the Official Webpage of the 2019 Kuwait Foundation Al-Sumait Africa Prize 2019

45th session of the Committee on World Food Security, Rome

45th session of the Committee on World Food Security, Rome

A report by SI President Mariet Verhoef-Cohen

“The 45th session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) convened 15-19 October 2018 in Rome, Italy. Established in 1974 and reformed in 2009, the CFS serves as an inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders to work together to ensure food security and nutrition for all. Its mandate is to coordinate a global approach to food security; promote policy convergence; support and advise countries and regions; coordinate at national and regional levels; promote accountability and share best practices; and develop a global strategic framework for food security and nutrition.

José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General, emphasised the need to take action on nutrition, stating that hunger would undermine the 2030 Agenda if action was not taken. He stressed the growing trend of obesity, particularly in Asia and Africa; the importance of addressing diets; the need for policies and actions at the national level; the importance of developing voluntary guidelines on food systems and nutrition; the role of rural women; the UN Decade of Family Farming 2019-2028; and the need to strengthen CFS.

Photo: 5 October 2018, Rome, Italy – FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva. Opening Ceremony of the 45th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS 45), FAO Headquarters, (Plenary Hall). Photo credit: ©FAO/Giuseppe Carotenuto. Copyright ©FAO.

David Beasley, WFP Executive Director, highlighted that 80% of the WFP’s expenditure is in war zones, stating that conflict drives hunger and makes food unaffordable, calling for a humanitarian development perspective.

Cornelia Richter, IFAD Vice President, stressed the need for a more systemic approach to food systems and placed importance on scalable technologies, such as precision farming. She drew attention to a more targeted approach to development cooperation, focusing on diets, nutrition-sensitive value chains, and the role of smallholders.

Patrick Caron, High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) Steering Committee Chair, said the HLPE’s report on Multi-stakeholder Partnerships (MSPs) to finance and improve Food Security & Nutrition (FSN) in the framework of the 2030 Agenda helps promote understanding of the complementary roles, contributions and limits of collaborations with different actors.

Photo: 15 October 2018, Rome, Italy – Zala Shardaben Fathesinh, small farmer and member of the Executive Committee of the Indian Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). Opening Ceremony of the 45th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS 45), FAO Headquarters, (Plenary Hall). ©FAO/Giuseppe Carotenuto. Copyright ©FAO.

Zala Shardaben Fathesinh, Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), shared the challenges and opportunities small farmers face in India and how climate change makes exploitation worse. She emphasized how training and the use of technological tools have been empowering women to deal with food insecurity challenges.

In statements delivered by ministers and high-level representatives, Members outlined national policies, initiatives and success stories and offered to share knowledge and experiences. Germany said an increase in global hunger is unacceptable, because “an empty stomach knows no peace,” and announced its financial support for developing voluntary guidelines on food systems and nutrition. Thailand said tackling the double burden of malnutrition is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Brazil provided an update on its Bolsa Familia Programme, now administered at the regional level in combination with school feeding and other measures.

Oman reported an increase in national self-sufficiency from 40% to 66% through integrated approaches across sectors. The United Arab Emirates underlined research and development, and food labelling as part of a whole-of-country food security strategy. Iraq noted that achieving the SDGs requires support from all sectors, noting his country’s challenges due to recent conflicts.

The Republic of Korea outlined international research and dissemination initiatives to share the knowledge gained from ending hunger in two generations. Switzerland urged increasing resilience to climate change without stressing natural systems and livelihoods, including through integrated food systems approaches, MSPs and responsible investments.

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI 2018)

This item was addressed on Monday morning and Friday afternoon. The decision was adopted during the closing session on Friday afternoon.

Final Outcome: In the report, the CFS expresses its deepest concern about the rising number of food insecure people in the world and the negative trends in hunger and malnutrition as highlighted in the ; and calls on all stakeholders to take the necessary actions to reverse these trends.

South Africa emphasized gender equality, in particular women’s access to land. Sudan called for attention to small scale farmers. Delegates also discussed, among other issues, the need to pay closer attention to the definition of notions such as resilience and public goods, as well as to consider capacity development.

The State of Food and Agriculture 2018 (SOFA 2018)

On Monday afternoon, Kostas Stamoulis, FAO Assistant Director-General, moderated a panel discussion on the relationship between migration, agriculture and rural development. The session provided an opportunity to discuss the findings of the which focuses on migration and rural development and was launched that day.

Closing Session

The closing session convened on Friday afternoon. CFS Secretary ad interim McGuire announced that CFS 46 will be held from 14-18 October 2019, in Rome. He noted that Argentina will replace Brazil in the Bureau.

Drafting Committee Chair Antonio Sá Ricarte (Brazil) presented the report of the meeting (CFS 45 Draft Report), which was adopted without amendments.

Jordan drew attention to the lack of reference in the report to food insecurity in the context of conflicts and crises. In its closing statement, CSM further emphasized the need for CFS to use a holistic approach based on human rights. Private Sector Mechanism (PSM) stressed the need for increased investment in agriculture and rural development, including MSP, and for strategies to support women and youth.


SI President Mariet Verhoef-Cohen was in attendance and presented at the event on the subject of the importance of women in the water sector, and the barriers to women in the industry. Discussing barriers in context, and exploring initiatives, Mariet looked at changes in mindset, to better empower women, and position them together with men, as innovators, decision-makers, and equal providers and drivers of water, food and economic solutions.

Mariet spoke of Soroptimist International and Women for Water projects including the Mwihoko Women Project In Nakuru County, Kenya, part of the SI President’s Appeal 2017-2019, which has so far seen 24 women farmers and project managers attend a six-day residential training course at Egerton University, where they have learned the necessities of the farming business – elevating opportunities for entrepreneurialism and income generation for women and their communities.


World Food Day was marked during the event at Rome’s United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on 16 October. FAO Goodwill Ambassadors for Nutrition, the King of Lesotho and Queen Letizia of Spain, joined heads of FAO and the Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), along with other key players in discussing efforts to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030.

In their speeches, King Letsie, Gilbert F. Houngo and David Beasley specifically focussed on involving Women. Identifying investment in women, agriculture for good nutrition, plus vocational training for women and the empowerment of young people as solutions”.

Key findings by the FAO included:

On the Status of Food Security & Nutrition

821 million people (1 out of 9) were undernourished

  • 151 million children under 5 were stunted
  • 50 million children under 5 were at risk of morbidity and mortality
  • 38 million of children under 5 are overweight
  • 672 million people were obese
  • 1 in 3 women of reproductive age was anaemic
  • 2.5 billion small-scale farmers were vulnerable to climate change

On Why Gender Equality is Crucial to Zero Hunger

  • Women comprise 43% of agricultural labour force in developing countries
  • Gender equality is essential for food security and nutrition, and for all the SDGs, leaving no one behind
  • Improving women’s status and education within households and communities has a direct impact  on food security and nutrition, in particular child nutrition
  • Women and girls are critical agents in the fight against hunger and rural poverty
  • If women reach their full potential, agricultural and rural development processes will be more effective
  • Investing in rural women’s productive and entrepreneurial capacity to develop sustainable value chains is a pathway out of food insecurity for millions of people

On Why Women are adversely affected

  • Women, children, elderly, indigenous and disabled people face the highest levels of vulnerability (SOFI 2018)
  • Multiple dimensions of inequality inhibit women to manage risks and shocks and limit their adaptive capacity
  • Women farmers have less entitlements and assets, and more restricted access to social and natural resources compared to men
  • Social exclusion of women from decision-making processes and labour markets

Lead Image: 15 October 2018, Rome, Italy – Committee on World Food Security 45th Session, (CFS 45), Opening Session, FAO Headquarters, (Plenary Hall). Photo credit: ©FAO/Alessandra Benedetti. Copyright ©FAO.
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