Green agriculture “Young people must seize opportunities to answer African food security challenges”
The 2020 African Green Revolution Forum took place from September 4th to 8th online for the first time, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Rwandan’s president, who hosted this special edition, invited young people to rally using technologies to develop green agriculture.
By Bilkiss Mentari
The context of this 10th African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), held from September 4th to 8th, was doubly disturbed this year. First, because of the Covid-19 pandemic but also the actual climatic situation in Eastern Africa. Organized by Rwanda, the event was online for the first time. But it still reunites almost 4000 people coming from all over the world. From state rulers to ministers, central bank’s directors, public and private institution leaders, company’s directors… All of them highlight the urgency of finding immediate answers to the actual crises reminding the food security challenges.
“Africa faces numerous challenges, notably climate change, poverty, the advent of insect pest such as desert locust”
“The AGRF 2020 comes at an unprecedented time, when big African cities, particularly the one which depend on imported food, face an imminent famine that follows confinement measures taken in most countries to curb the spread of the pandemic, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa explained in a press released. It also happens when Africa faces many other numerous challenges, notably climate change, poverty, the advent of insect pests such as desert locust, or fall armyworm.”
That is why the theme of this edition was: “Feed the Cities, Grow the Continent: Leveraging Urban Food Markets to Achieve Sustainable Food Systems in Africa.” In other words, a call for action to rethink food systems.
“Africa is a breadbasket that can be used to feed its population instead of import food, but young people must do more work”
That was an opportunity for the host to deliver a message for young people on the continent, highlighting that it is now or never. “It’s like a plane on a runway; it must fly. Our continent must not be this plane that stays on the runway and never takes-off, deplored Paul Kagame. Africa is a breadbasket that can be used to feed its population instead of import food, but young people must do more work”.
Emphasizing opportunities given by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) creation, he assures: “Young people must seize opportunities to answer African food security challenges. I know you can be equal to the challenge.”
“If we must attract the private sector into agriculture, there must be investments in new production and transformation technologies”
Similarly, the private sector is invited to engage itself to bring answers to those crises. Recalling that Africa will not go anywhere without agriculture, the private companies’ federation’s director, Nana Osei-Bonsu, urged the private sector to seize “competitive opportunities in which it can invest.” Before going on: “If we must attract the private sector into agriculture, there must be investments in new production and transformation technologies, there must be biotechnology or something else we can use to encourage them to do so.”