Food security and agriculture crucial for African development

Agriculture and food security investment plans, without detailed budgets, are just drafts Tanzania’s Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, said during the East and Central Africa CAADP Nutrition Training Workshop co-organized by NEPAD, COMESA, FAO and other regional organizations. He has also urged those involved in

planning for agriculture and food security in eastern and central Africa to ensure that the investment programmes designed under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) are accompanied by sound and detailed budgets.

Speaking at the Serena Hotel in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, hon. Chiza said that the Draft National Agriculture Policy for Tanzania has recognized nutrition security as a key component for human and ultimately, economic development. “In spite of increased production in some areas of the region, poor nutrition has continued to be rampant and is affecting a sizeable number of our population. It is important for us to ensure that both the quantity and quality of food increases on a simultaneous basis. Also, all countries in the region should address the issues of under capitalization, weak linkages of productive sectors, poor infrastructure, inadequate funding for research, and deficiency in technologies in the agriculture sector,” he said.

With regard to CAADP, the Minister said that Tanzania is engaging all key stakeholders towards formulating strategies for better agricultural development. “I am pleased to state that the finalization of the Tanzania Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plan (TAFSIP) reflects the commitment of our government to the CAADP agenda, and to prioritizing areas of investment in agriculture. The TAFSIP has identified programmes in food security and nutrition, and implementation will also focus on up-scaling nutrition,” hon. Chiza said.

 The workshop brought together 17 countries from eastern and central Africa, including the COMESA Member States of: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda. Dr Sam Kanyarukiga, COMESA CAADP Coordinator, emphasized the need to enhance the nutrition component of the Pillar III Framework for African Food Security. He pledged COMESA’s commitment to ensuring that relevant support is provided to Member States in the development of quality country investment plans that will increasingly mainstream nutrition and other emerging issues such as climate smart agriculture.

The workshop was held with a view to building the capacity of nutrition teams, at the national and regional levels. Participants from the Member States are to improve their knowledge on concepts of food security and nutrition and acquire skills for integrating and mainstreaming nutrition aspects in policies, strategies and investment programmes under the CAADP Framework. The participating countries also formulated clear action plans for mainstreaming nutrition into the CAADP processes in their countries. This was done with a view to ensuring follow up and further discussions of these plans for endorsement and implementation by the respective countries. The workshop was held on 25 February 2013.