South Africa, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Planning and Coordinating Agency(NEPAD Agency) in partnership with policy makers from across the continent highlighted the Africa Food and Nutrition Security Day as a key platform for continental efforts against hungerand malnutrition.
Mr. Sicelo Gqobana, Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Health for the Eastern Capeof South Africa insisted that researchers, policy makers and partners need to harmonise andcoordinate their efforts in order to attain food and nutrition security.
“We need to close the gap between government programmes, the research work of tertiaryinstitutions and the implementers on the ground,” Mr. Gqobana said on day 2 during an eventin Midrand to commemorate the 2nd Africa Food and Nutrition Security Day (AFNSD), which ismarked on 30th October every year.
The Adviser for Agriculture in the Office of the President of Uganda, JJ Otim, reiterated thatthere was a need for improved communication and the implementation of concrete actions inthe fight against hunger and malnutrition in Africa.
“We also need a platform for sharing information and lobbying those in higher authority at thenational and regional levels – so that they can assist to enact some of our proposals,” said Mr.Otim.
Speaking at the same event, Mr. Richard Mkandawire the Head of the Directorate forPartnerships, Resource Mobilisation and Communications stressed that there was still need forpolitical will in the fight against hunger and malnutrition.
“Africa is not short of the required human resources to feed itself,” said Mr. Mkandawire. “WhatAfrica lacks is the political will”.
“There is however a wind of change sweeping across Africa. Africa is a re-energised continentwhere there is hope in the horizon for renewal of growth,” he added.
During the proceedings, Mrs. Sheryl Hendriks of the University of Pretoria provided a summaryof the key outcomes from the 2-day event. These included:
- The need for South Africa to establish a strong National Food Security and NutritionCoordination Structure or Task Team at the level of the Presidency;
- The institution of AFNSD as a key annual event;
- The push for AFNSD to act as a key space for dialogue at all levels and among allstakeholders that are fighting against hunger and malnutrition, and;
- Support for the Comprehensive Africa Aagriculture Development Process in-country and to develop a national comprehensive plan.
The Africa Food and Nutrition Security Day was endorsed by the African Heads of State andGovernments during the 15th AU Summit held in Kampala, Uganda in July 2010. The theme forthis year’s event - which is being commemorated in various countries and also at the AfricanUnion in Addis Ababa, is - “Investing in Intra–Africa trade for Food and Nutrition Security”.