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Building Sustainable and Resilient Agri-Food Systems Tops Agenda at AGRF Summit

Farming First Farming First

Actions to create resilient and sustainable food systems in Africa to increase food security and incomes, underpinned discussions at this year’s Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRF) Summit.

Held in Kenya, a record number of scientists, farmers, government officials and heads of development organizations attended the summit to engage in sessions around the future of Africa’s agri-food systems. Coming just weeks before the UN Food Systems Summit on 23rd September, prominent speakers highlighted the critical importance of Africa in global food system transformation.

Speaking at the Summit, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, said, “We have an opportunity to fundamentally recast the position of food and nutrition in our countries, on the continent, and globally. If we have a will, I believe we will have a way.”

The urgency of increasing investment in the agri-food value chain was highlighted. Lucy Muchoki, the Chief Executive of the Pan-African Agribusiness and Agroindustry Consortium, reiterated that the economic transformation of the continent will be led by its inhabitants, but that more support is needed from development partners. Speakers also discussed the critical role of the private sector and Africa’s youth in driving the transformation.  

“It has been difficult to get youth attracted to agriculture, but we are working to make farming exciting, including through digital agriculture technology,” said Hon. Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe, the Deputy Governor of Nigeria’s Kaduna State.

Resilience building was another theme at the summit. “This year’s Summit details the practical steps all stakeholders from governments and regional organizations to the private sector need to take to rebuild and enhance Africa’s food systems,” said Dr. Agnes Kalibata, AGRA President and UN Special Envoy to the 2021 Food Systems Summit.

From conflict, climate extremes, disease outbreaks and more are often the drivers of food insecurity and poverty. Speakers shared their experience in resilience building, such as new technologies and equipment that help to increase on-farm efficiency.

Some of the resolutions from the Summit will inform the continent’s presentation at the UN Food Systems Summit in New York from September 23, 2021.

Recordings of the AGRF Summit are available here.

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