The FAO Regional Office for Africa has just released a new publication Highlights of FAO Results in Africa in 2014. It aims at illustrating, in the form of short stories, what has been achieved on the African continent in “Supporting Agriculture Development for a Hunger Free Africa in the next 10 years” by Member-countries, partners and stakeholders with support of FAO.
The Highlights look back at the early phases of implementation of the corporate Strategic Objectives through innovative Regional Initiatives on food security and nutrition tailored to countries’ needs in view to accelerating hunger eradication.
“Considerable progress was made in 2014 towards the eradication of hunger and 63 developing countries were able to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of hungry people by 2015″, Mr. Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director General and Regional Representative for Africa. “Today, the impact is visible and we are confident that defeating hunger is within reach”.
The new publication also outlines the impact of FAO programmatic activities in Africa. They were carried forward focusing on making agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable; reducing rural poverty; enabling inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems; and building resilient livelihoods.
“We are satisfied that we could mobilize the support of so many partners to achieve urgent improvements of the rural livelihoods of so many people in Africa. At the same time, we also look at the future by developing capacities and supporting the policies of countries and regional organizations”, elaborated Yves Klompenhouwer, Senior Field Programme Officer at the FAO Regional Office for Africa. “However, the challenges are still tremendous and we must increase our effort to mobilize more support”, he added.
Productive and sustainable agriculture in Africa
The report confirms that, all along the year, family farming was at the heart of the FAO’s agricultural, social and environmental policies, as it significantly helps to improve food and nutrition security, fight against poverty and eradicate hunger. It also contributes to the protection of the environment and sustainable development.
In Senegal, FAO gives support to the Accelerated Agriculture Program in Senegal (PRACAS) within “the Plan for an Emerging Senegal” (Plan Sénégal Emergent, PSE), which intends to boost Senegal’s agricultural investments in crops which the rural population rely on such as rice, onions, groundnuts and off-season fruits and vegetables.
In Ghana, to encourage local production, the government with FAO’s assistance, has been organising a series of training sessions for farmers across the country. During these training sessions, farmers have acquired new tools to increase sustainable productivity.
Ghanaians are encouraged to purchase locally produced foods such as maize, cassava, plantain, and yam. A policy promoting partnership with the private sector has also been put in place to encourage and increase production of rice in the country. This would enable the government to cut down on import bill and reduce the balance of payment.
In DR Congo, land issues are considered one of the priorities. FAO contributes to the national process of land tenure development through its regional initiative – Integrated Management of Agricultural Landscapes: production intensification and value chain development – as one of the mechanisms that ensure a framework for a sustainable and equitable access to land.
Reducing poverty in targeted vulnerable groups
The Highlights report also that last year, FAO in collaboration with governments, the private sector, civil society organisations and all other partners implemented a number of projects including “farmer field schools” and programs aimed at providing financial support, supplying modern tools and organizing training sessions for family farmers and especially women across the continent.
In Tanzania, support to rural youth and young farmers aimed at enabling young women and men to improve and expand their knowledge and skills in agriculture, food and nutrition security, through practical experiences and activity-based learning. In 2014, FAO assisted the Ministry of Agriculture in organizing a series of workshops to train young farmers.
In Zimbabwe, Sibukile Manyevhe, a family’s bread winner, was able to take care of her elderly parents and assist in paying university fees for her sister’s two children, thanks to the success of her agribusiness. Her success is the result of an FAO implemented market-based input support programme that facilitated the re-establishment of links between agro dealers and input suppliers.
The programme, implemented during two farming seasons from 2012 to 2014, facilitated Sibukile’s financial inclusion and helped her break barriers associated with starting a business of this nature especially after the near collapse of the supply chain as a result of the economic decline in Zimbabwe. Her business has become a hub that supplies inputs to smallholder farmers in her ward in Zvishavane District.
African Union Commission and FAO: a strengthened partnership
The Highlights also noted that, ten years after the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), countries are more committed than before. Significant progress is being made in meeting the target. Noteworthy also is the fact that a number of countries have doubled their national budgetary allocations from 10% to 20%.
Undoubtedly, all the projects implemented in the focus countries across sub-Saharan Africa could not have become a reality without collaborating with governments and all other stakeholders. Improving food security, promoting smallholder agriculture, family farming, gender equality, private-public partnership, local production and consumption and organizing trainings for farmers were all geared towards eradicating hunger in Africa.
Regional Initiatives: http://www.fao.org/3/a-ml968e.pdf
Family Farming: Family Farmers: Feeding the world, caring for the earth
Africa Overview: Regional Overview of Food Insecurity in Africa
SOFI 2015 (global): http://www.fao.org/hunger/en/
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)