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African Countries Spend 45 bil USD Annually to Import Food Items: AU Commissioner

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Africa must feed itself and rely less on food importations, AU Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment said.

In a media briefing today, Commissioner Josepha Sacko said despite its 60 percent of arable land, Africa has been spending 45 billion USD annually to import food.

“We must increase food production while taking measures to protect the environment for the current and future generations,” the Commissioner urged.

In order to meet the current and future food needs of the continent, Africa plans to double food production by sustainably increasing agriculture productivity.

“We shall do so by increasing uptake of high yielding crop varieties and animal breeds while supporting agriculture research to develop climate-smart technologies and embracing the benefit of biotechnology,” Commissioner Josepha stated.

Furthermore, the commissioner indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted Africa’s food system.

Lockdowns have disrupted agricultural production and domestic trade, reducing economic activities, Josepha added.

As the result, the majority of member states are facing unprecedented fiscal constraints.

“In order to support our member states, we are calling for the establishment, under the African Development Bank initiatives of special financing facilities for food and nutrition security for Africa,” the Commissioner elaborated.

The Commissioner called member states to embrace a multi-sectoral approach to food system transformation.

The Africa Union has been providing financial, technical and policy support with a view to improving agricultural productivity, the Commissioner added.

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