Intergovernmental Committee Meeting Focuses On E. Africa Food Security

Experts meeting at the 14th Intergovernmental Committee meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, which kicked off on Sunday, are focusing on food security in East Africa, where FAO says 20 million people are vulnerable, the New Times/ reports. The U.N. Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) sub-regional office, East Africa, also says the region is the most affected by food insecurity on the continent, according to the publication.

In a speech at the meeting, Antonio Pedro, director of the UNECA, said meeting participants should focus on agribusiness development. “To close the cycle, these discussions would not be complete if we don’t address the issues of subsidies, market access and tariff and non-tariff barriers beyond our region,” he said (Majyambere, 3/15). Also at the meeting, Agnes Kalibata, Rwanda’s agriculture minister, “called for concrete action in making food security a reality on the continent,” the New Times/ writes in a second story.

“Words don’t feed people, conferences don’t feed people. It is the actions that we get out of those words that feed people,” Kalibata said. She also noted that farmers do not have enough machinery and fertilizers to ensure food security. 

Kalibata and Pedro “called for investment in research and storage systems to enable African farmers increase food production,” according to the publication. A food security action plan for East Africa has been drafted and will be released later this month, Kalibata said (Muramira, 3/15).