FAO’s Asst Director General and Regional Bukar Tijani
By Abdallah el-Kurebe
Abidjan, Cote de I’Voire – April 4, 2016: As Fifty-four African ministers of Agriculture and various stakeholders are gathered in Abidjan, capital of Cote de I’Voire, for the 29th Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO’s) Regional Conference for Africa to take stock of the progress made so far in the area of improving the continent’s food and nutrition security.
Institutions, regional and civil society organisations, including technical experts would discuss on priority areas and agree on actions to be taken in the next two years at the conference that has a theme: “Transforming African Agri-food systems for inclusive growth and a shared prosperity.”
At the opening of the week-long conference jointly organised by FAO and Government of Cote de I’Voire, Bukar Tijani, Nigeria’s former minister for agriculture and now FAO’s Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa (ADG-RRF) stated that the “Global trends and issues are expected to have direct or indirect impacts on the food and agriculture sector, with specific manifestations and impacts in the region.”
He assured that FAO’s support for the national and regional actions would be based on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) through the Malabo Implementation Strategy and Road Map as well as commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to him, while the organisation would focus on food security and nutrition, fight against poverty, climate mitigation and adaptation, the sustainable use of natural resources, food safety threats and developing strong agri-food systems, etc Tijani stressed that FAO remains committed to the eradication of hunger. “The eradication of hunger remains at the heart of FAO’s mission. To date, the organization has helped to deliver more than 90 agriculture and food investment projects across 40 countries, and these figures will continue to grow.”
He added that while the organization had assisted in policy formulation, design and implementation of the ECOWAS Zero Hunger Initiative and National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs) to address food security and nutrition, it intends to explore opportunities for intensive Public Private Partnerships for inclusive growth.
Tijani also disclosed that the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund, an innovative Africa-led fund created to provide financial initiatives aimed at strengthening regional development initiatives, had allocated $35.5 million to 15 regional programmes and national projects in 39 countries.
With the main goal of strengthening food security Africa by “eradicating hunger and malnutrition; eliminating rural poverty, and managing natural resources in a sustainable manner,” the fund also intends “to boost efforts to eradicate hunger, widen market access, and support income and employment generation.”
Chairman of the opening of the Senior Technical Officers Meeting, who is also the Ivorian minister of Animal Resources and Fisheries, Kobenan Adjoumani said that his country was engaged in dynamic food self-sufficiency aimed at improving agricultural production.
According to him, “Cote de I’Voire produces 1.8 million metric tonnes of cocoa and 70,000 metric tonnes of cashew,” adding that “the objective of the country is to achieve 50 percent of world cocoa production.”