There is an urgent need for a drastic change in the food and agriculture system in sub-Saharan Africa if the region is to achieve the sustainable development goal on hunger, a Plant Breeding Professor Eric Danquah has said.
Prof. Danquah who is founding Director of the West Africa Center for Crop Improvement (WACCI) at the University of Ghana says it is worrying that despite Africa having the capacity to feed itself, food security remains a big challenge on the continent.
Sustainable Development Goal II encourages an end to all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030 and pushes for all persons have access to sufficient and nutritious food.
Prof Danqauh says it is worrying that Africa continues to grapple with food insecurity despite the available land and other resources to produce enough food. He says Africa remains even more vulnerable when it comes to food security and there is the need for action.
Prof. Danquah is calling for increased efforts from between governments, academia and civil society to help improve food security on the continent. “Governments in the sub-Saharan have to create more opportunities in the agricultural sector so as to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of food security,” he said at the opening of the international conference on food and nutrition security organised by WACCI at the University of Ghana.
More than 100 scientists from all over the world participated in the forum which was under the theme “the march towards a hunger-free Africa.”
“It is our hope that the conversations will open doors for the collaborations needed for urgent action to address the challenges of African agriculture,” Prof. Danquah noted.
Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, called for more investments in the agricultural sector on the African continent. He said strong collaborations between government and research institutions are necessary to ensure the success of the efforts to achieve food security.
He told the conference: “If the transformation is not anchored on strong collaborations with the government in terms of good policies and attraction of investments, progress will be slow and will affect the livelihood of many peasants in the rural areas, adversely.”
“Today, conversations on food and nutrition security have taken centre stage globally, because of the urgency for the world to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture,” Prof. Owusu added.
Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto who opened the conference praised the success of government’s Planting for Food and Jobs initiative saying it had made a huge impact on agriculture. He said the government will from next year introduce the “rearing for food and jobs” initiative to further help improve upon the country’s food security.
Dr Owusu Afriyie said the government is committed to improving the agricultural sector through mechanization, citing Parliament’s recent approval of a $95.45 million loan from Brazil to finance the establishment and strengthening of Agricultural Mechanisation Services Centres in the country.
“Most of the machinery will be handheld technology for the small two or three family of farmers for land processing, sowing, maintenance, harvesting, planting and processing among others. We are hoping that it will transform the farmers and their families as well,” Dr. Owusu Afriyie added.