Agnes Kalibata — President of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa
Agnes Kalibata — President of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa

Africa must address agric challenges as community — AGRA President

The President of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Agnes Kalibata, has emphasised the need for Africa to address challenges affecting the agricultural sector as a community.

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She said given the plethora of challenges  that the sector faced, and the fact that the sector was interlinked on the continent, no country could solve its issues in isolation

“There is no single country or group of population that is going to solve these problems alone.

It’s only by coming together as a community to talk and discuss these challenges, discuss what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong and explore the opportunities available to us, that we will be able to solve the problems,” Dr Kalibata said in an interview yesterday at the Africa Food Systems Forum (AGRF) 2023 which is underway in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Conference, focus

The conference, scheduled to end on Friday, September 8 has brought together over 4,000 delegates from around the world to the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre to discuss challenges around food systems.

It comes amid the biting impact of COVID-19, Russia-Ukraine war, and climate change.

Over 30 government ministers, members of the private sector as well as the farming community are attending the four-day conference which  is expected to provide a platform for forging agreements in the fields of agriculture, climate change and trade all within the context of food systems.

Also, this year, AGRF’s  focus is on the youth and women who play an important role in ensuring food production and sustainability.

Building synergies

Dr Kailbata said the conference was an opportunity for the continent and participants to discuss what could be done and how pragmatically they could build a community that would enable members to learn from one another.

“This (forum) is building on the potential of a community that has come together to have some candid and difficult conversations that must be had and be able to address some of the challenges,” Dr Kalibata said.

She added that the forum was an opportunity for dialogue among different groups of people

“This focus is recognising that inclusion is one of the most important things that we must focus on because starting from COVID-19 to the Russia-Ukraine war and the resulting cost of living crisis, we see that the impact is largely on inclusion and exclusion”.

“We see that people don’t have the same ability to access the same nutrition as they were accessing before.

With the same amount of money, you access so much less food and that is impacting people,” the AGRA president said.

“Transformation does not come from conferences like this.

It comes from us being prepared once we have had these major conferences to put resources on the table,” said Dr Kalibata.

“For instance, this week, we expect here in Tanzania to have a major programme around mobilising partners and resources that could be transformative in this country.

It will start with the Government of Tanzania itself and its partners putting resources on the table and such type of programmes will reach the farmers,” she said.

Small-holder farmers

Dr Kalibata also touched on how the conference will impact small-holder farmers and other communities, saying they should not feel isolated.

“It’s the whole idea of managing the challenges of climate change and the cost-of-living crisis that are impacting farmers and individuals in general, that come from agreements from meetings like this that will impact them.

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So, I would say that to farmers and communities that are out there, we are here to listen and be part of the conversation that can start solving some of the challenges we work with every day,” she said.

“Our job right here in this conference is to make sure that these challenges are becoming continental and global, especially the challenge of climate change.

Everybody must appreciate that African farmers are suffering from climate change, and they are not responsible for climate change.”

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