Ms. Elizabeth Nsimadala PAFO ‘s President participate in The fourth African Union (AU) – European Union (EU) agriculture ministerial conference which took place Tuesday, June 22, 2021. Co-hosted by the African Union Commission and the European Union.
During her speech, the president of PAFO highlighted some positions brought forward by farmer’s organizations as a response to Covid’s impact and contribution to resilient food systems and agricultural transformation.
1- Post-pandemic agriculture fund and enhancing direct support to the family farmers – there should be set aside a special emergency fund that can be tapped into to support catastrophes facing Agriculture. There will be a number of lessons learned in terms of short- and long-term interventions during this pandemic and could inform how such a fund is designed without strict repayment conditions.
2- Enhancing the implementation of agriculture-related policies at the continental level: Governments are expected to increase investments in agriculture and to achieve agricultural growth rates and the Africa Blueprint Agenda 2063. These investments will maximize opportunities in farming on the African Continent, where sustainable agriculture will require enhanced mechanization of the sector, use of green energy, and empowering rural farmers (mostly women and youth) who are the majority players.
3- Agro-processing, preservation, and Storage: There is a need to invest in long-term processing/ preservation and storage of all forms of food – grains, vegetables, fruits, meats, milk, etc. Africa needs government-supported initiatives around the long-term preservation of nutritious food.
4- Promoting innovation and digitalization in agriculture: The need to innovate, expand and promote the use of digital tools in agriculture has never been as pressing or opportune as during the COVID-19 crisis. Public interventions are needed to promote the digital transformation of agriculture and connecting farmers, where Connectivity makes it possible for the services to reach farmers through mobile and online means. With such means, farmers may also access e-marketing. Additional support to POs to allow training, scaling-up best practices already implemented by Farmers Organizations, and institutional strengthening are also very key.
5- Lastly, we need to Utilize the African Continental Free Trade Area to promote Agri-trade on the African market: We see this as a unique opportunity for Africa to unleash its economic potential for inclusive growth and sustainable development through promoting agricultural transformation, contributing to food security, as well as improving competitiveness through regional agricultural value chains development while focusing on the local food systems transformation
Globally as we step up towards ambitious actions and connectedness at the UNFSS 2021 POs are using different platforms including the advisory committee, independent dialogues, action tracks, and champion networks among others to bring out the producers’ voice, producer-led solutions, and contributions to the summit and post-summit journey, we hope this being a peoples’ and solutions’ summit will incorporate the different ideas from POs. I hope the Ministers of Agric will give equal opportunity to Producers at the national level to participate in different dialogues.
PAFO’s president emphasized the need for a supportive infrastructure for information flow, the role of synergy building with the right partnerships, and the right mindset. But also reiterate the full support of the Pan Africa Farmers Organization and the farmers of Africa in implementing the different commitments agreed upon by our governments.