Food security in Africa is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century, ”said on Monday the Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests, Aziz Akhannouch.
“Our food systems have been put to the test with the covid-19 crisis, particularly following disruptions to local regional and global supply chains,” said Aziz Akhannouch during a webinar under the theme “Food security: What agricultural policy for the Africa of tomorrow? », In preparation for the 2021 edition of the Africa Agri Forum (AAF), the 7th edition of which is scheduled for April 5 and 6 in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
And to support: “We find ourselves today in a context of growth of the world population of which the highest rate would be posted in Africa”. The context of intensifying climate change affecting all countries and causing major damage to production and the environment, said Aziz Akhannouch. In Morocco, he continued, the covid-19 crisis, combined with two consecutive years of drought, constituted a great test of resilience that the agricultural sector has been facing for years, recalling that the Kingdom has been able to ensure the pursuit of agricultural and agrifood activities allowing workers to access fields and units, supply all regions of the country with good quality products and a diversified offer and ensure its commitments in terms of food exports.
Aziz Akhannouch has, in this regard, noted that food security cannot be tackled on an ad hoc basis and can only be the result of deep and structural change in the agricultural sector. “In accordance with the High Orientations of HM King Mohammed VI, may God assist him, the Moroccan agricultural sector acquired in 2008, through the Green Morocco Plan (PMV), a clear and integrated vision allowing the implementation implementation of structural reforms and the mobilization of significant resources ”.
The PMV, he continued, made Moroccan agriculture a national priority, adding that “thanks to its ambitious programs, it has made a major contribution to food security”. This plan put investment at the center of its equation, argued Aziz Akhannouch, adding that public investment has seen a significant increase and has mainly concerned collective infrastructure.
For his part, Josefa Leonel Sacko, Commissioner in charge of agriculture, rural development, blue economy and sustainable environment of the African Union noted that agriculture is the engine of the socio-economic transformation of the continent. Africa, advocating in this sense its financing and the facilitation of its inclusive growth through innovation, particularly with climate change.
In this regard, she highlighted the diverse and dynamic ecosystems available to the African continent. “The agricultural policy of the Africa of tomorrow should also meet the challenges of food, enrich Africans and preserve resources for future generations”.
Josefa Leonel Sacko also emphasized the importance of boosting intra-African trade, particularly with the entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (Zlecaf), the promotion and multiplication of investments and industrialization.
For his part, Gabriel Mbairobe, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Cameroon insisted on the development of a competitive agricultural economy capable of ensuring food security on the continent, noting that this constitutes a major challenge for African countries in the coming decades.
Highlighting the enormous potential of the agricultural sector in the continent, the Cameroonian minister stressed the need to implement effective action plans in order to make African agriculture a pillar of its economy.
Organized by i-conferences in partnership with the African Union and the OCP Africa group, this webinar series aims to support the dynamics and development of a successful agricultural sector in French-speaking Africa.
Morocco, let us remember, was designated guest country of honor at the Yaoundé edition, where the PMV as well as its contribution to the Kingdom’s economy will be presented to around thirty African countries. The Africa Agri Forum 2021 will thus be an opportunity for experts in the agricultural and agro-industrial sectors to better understand the agricultural development models, the paths towards sustainable and resilient agriculture, the evolving role of FOs, supply chains. agricultural value, the development of sectors, innovation and technologies as well as the impact of covid-19 on the agricultural sector and food security.