By Wisdom Chimgwede:
The National Planning Commission chairperson, renowned agriculturalist and economics professor, Richard Mkandawire, is billed to moderate a global dialogue that is expected to call on African governments to anticipate and respond pro-actively rather than reactively to changes in African agricultural and food systems.
Jointly hosted by ReNAPRI, AUC, AfDB, IFDC, and AAP/ MSU, the event titled “Towards Sustainable Agricultural Productivity, Soil Health and Resilience in Africa: An agenda for research and action”, is part of the build up towards the Abuja II Fertiliser summit, next year.
The dialogue which is part of World Food Prize event features, among others, the 2020 World Food Laureate, Soil Science Professor Rattan Lal, who recently said that Africa’s perennial food deficit is a puzzle which Africans themselves will resolve.
“Africa is facing the same situation as did India in 1960s and China in 1990s. Africa will also overcome, the same way as did other nations,” said Lal.
The Norman Borlaug Dialogue will also feature the African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Ambassador Joseffa Sacko, named one of the world’s 100 most influential people in climate policy in 2019.
Said Prof. Mkandawire in an interview: “the Norman Borlaug side event is part and parcel of stakeholder efforts on soil health and agricultural intensification leading up to the Abuja II Fertiliser Summit.”
The event, coming on October 13, is crucial to Africa with the region witnessing increasingly globalised markets, rapid population growth, shifting employment patterns, climate change, and the rise of commercialised emergent African farmers, according to an announcement by the organisers.
Among others, the purpose of this side event is to draw attention to the challenge and urgent need for sustainable agricultural productivity growth and resilience in sub-Saharan Africa; to build a coalition of African and international support for an agenda to tackle the challenge; and to co-create a process that will be effective in guiding African governments, private firms involved in African agriculture, and development partners committed to addressing the challenge.
The side event will disseminate high-level messages for continued targeted capacity building for the African governments and other stakeholders.
“The Dialogue will examine four major vulnerabilities or “cracks” in food systems: Climate Change, Finance & Investment, Nutrition, and Equity & Access,” says World Food Prize on its website.
It says “these concentrations will focus on actions and outcomes that reflect threats and opportunities in strengthening food systems resilience.”