Radical transformation essential to secure food systems resilience for Africa’s future
Food systems in Africa, from smallholder farms to value chains, demand a radical transformation to become more resilient and accessible, even in the face of multiple crises, such as devastating climate change, speakers told the Global Landscape Forum’s Africa 2022 Digital Conference.
The changing climate as well as conflict, including the war in Ukraine, are destroying food security, particularly across the African continent, where drought and floods driven by changes in climate threaten livelihoods, such as farming, fishing and herding.
Solutions exist within Africa, but these must be scaled up to have full effect, speakers said during the online event, held 15 September 2022.
“Protecting the continent’s climate is key to addressing poverty and food crises,” said Alvaro Lario of African Solutions for Food and Climate, who has been named as the next president of the International Fund For Agricultural Development (IFAD). “We need a future holistic approach to managing the future crises that threaten humanity.”
An estimated 346 million Africans are severely food insecure, and 452 million moderately so, according to recent reports by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO). In the Horn of Africa alone, 22 million people are at risk of starvation as the region is suffering its worst drought in 40 years, according to a video aired during GLF Africa and titled: Painting a resilient and equitable food future.
Building resiliency in the face of crises should be based on the fundamental concept of ‘food sovereignty’ wherein Africa has autonomy with regard to how the continent feeds itself and its people, speakers said during the digital event.
More than 8,500 registered participants from 122 countries took part in the conference that featured over 200 speakers, many urging greater investments in biodiversity, equitable access to land, and green value chains. Building resilience to crises and strengthening communities to adapt to changing circumstances must also be a key focus, speakers told participants, including entrepreneurs, scientists, youth activists, restoration practitioners, and government.
“We not only need to take action against one of the worst global food crises ever, but we also need to make our food systems resilient to future crises,” said Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary BMZ. “Never before have we been facing as many global crises simultaneously as we are today.”
A transformation in food systems, linked to more resilient communities and ecosystems, will help to mitigate the impacts of climate change, which is hitting African countries disproportionately – only about 4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come out of Africa. But at present, Africa receives only 3 percent of global climate finance, speakers said.