Advocating for the active Engagement of the Youth in the Agricultural Value Chain

19 - 23 September 2011
Ezulwini, Swaziland

Resolutions to Improve Food Security

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Ben Rootman
Junxion Communications
Article content: 


Resolutions to Improve Food Security
Twenty-two resolutions to improve food security in Africa were made by agricultural leaders from across the world last week.

Attending the Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) annual high level regional food security policy dialogue in eZulwini, Swaziland, they resolved that food insecurity could only be adequately addressed by active youth involvement in the agricultural sector.

Dr Lindiwe Sibanda, Chief Executive Officer of FANRPAN says 44 per cent of Africa’s population is younger than 15.

“It is obvious that they are the key to the development of agriculture in Africa and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme.”

Twenty-eight of the 54 countries in Africa have signed the programme, committing to allocate at least ten per cent of their national budget to agriculture. Ten have already achieved this goal while 18 have prepared investment plans.

Delegates resolved to ensure that the rest commit to the programme and engage civil society – particularly the youth – in the process.

Sibanda says young people want to see quick returns from their initiatives.

“The use of information communications technology is essential in this regard, because it makes virtual engagements possible and establishes local and global markets.

“The network resolved to develop a database of successful youth initiatives and to make agricultural assets such as land, water and machinery, as well as funding, more accessible to the youth.”

Sibanda says FANRPAN has developed a household vulnerability index to map the human, social, financial, physical and natural assets of households.

“It categorises households in either high, medium or low vulnerability. Databases for Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe have been established in partnership with World Vision International.”

“We will continue our efforts to reduce the number of people living in poverty by half and to share the research results from our livelihood databases through our dialogues. These databases should be hosted by universities in the respective countries to ensure that they are updated regularly and used by relevant faculties.”
Sibanda says climate change will have a severe impact on natural resources across Africa.
“Sixty per cent of Africans will live in cities by 2050, compared to the current 20 per cent. The challenge is doubling food production to meet the needs, against the backdrop of changing climate and diminishing yields.

“We will promote development and new technologies that safeguard the environment, whilst enhancing productivity and promoting climate smart agriculture. Resources should be made available to the youth to take the lead in calling for a climate secure world. At the coming COP 17 climate change conference in Durban, all Africans should speak with one voice – no agriculture, no deal,” ’she says.

The FANRPAN dialogue was held in Swaziland from 19 to 23 September. More than 220 delegates from 21 countries attended.