Consolidate efforts to tackle food insecurity, AGRA tells govts

Thursday September 15 2022

AGRA’s President, Dr Agnes Kalibata.Photo:Cyril NDEGEYA


African governments have been urged to come up with strategies to urgently tackle food insecurity on the continent.

According to AGRA's The Africa Agriculture Status Report, released early this week, there is a need for good leadership and co-ordination, to boost food production AGRA’s president Dr Agnes Kalibata noted that a combination of the impact of Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war have led to rise in food prices leading to food insecurity on the continent.

“The AASR22 reflects on key action areas required to tackle the most urgent and important areas in response to these challenges. There is an urgent need to repurpose food policies to address the emerging challenges,” Dr Kalibata added.

The report states that “accelerating agro-food transformation in a sustainable and inclusive way is an extremely complex task as it requires an integrated approach, which draws heavily on the co-operation of system actors."

“The journey toward food and nutritional security for Africa has a clear destination: Zero hunger. Thanks to many strategy documents, we have reasonable consensus on the roadmap - sustainable intensification and a food systems approach.,” said Dr Ed Mabaya, Research Professor at Cornell University and one of the authors of the report.

According to the report, estimates of Africa’s investment needs to trigger and sustain agro-food transformation range from $40 billion and $77 billion every year from the public sector, and up to $180 billion in private sector funding


“With the private sector expected to play a critical role in filling the financing gap, public sector funding is expected to play the role of de-risking and incentivizing private sector capital into agriculture,” reads the report.

The report further called for an enabling environment through investment in public infrastructure and policy and innovative financing mechanisms that are continuously recalibrated to meet evolving financial needs.

This, the report says, requires blended finance, supply chain financing through digital solutions, partial credit guarantees, risk sharing facilities, fintechs and crop receipts.
It notes that African countries, which currently receive less than half the resources needed to implement the continent’s climate action commitments and nationally determined commitments, need to avail climate financing to small-holder farmers and other food value chain actors.

The AASR22 challenges African governments to assume a leadership role in food system transformation as a national security, poverty alleviation and rural development agenda that cuts across various institutions, while reducing reliance on donors who have been directing flows of international assistance.

The report highlights six megatrends shaping the development of agri-food systems in Africa that warrant greater attention by stakeholders. It examines the role of leadership in harnessing collective e ort, shared responsibility, greater stakeholder engagement, as well as rallying political will, to achieve food systems transformation in Africa.

Further, it presents the investment gap required to trigger and sustain Africa’s agro-food transformation reflecting on the requisite human, institutional and systemic capacities and capabilities that are required to achieve agrofood system transformation at scale.

And, it recommends priorities for African national governments, development partners and the private sector. It calls for locally led integrated action that brings together key sectors of the economy that are central to food systems, including health, environment, agriculture and education, and is aligned to national needs and priorities.