African Gov’ts Need to Prioritize Impacts of Climate Change, Conflict and COVID-19 on Food

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March 2/2021(ENA) Instead of being the food basket of the world, Africa is facing increasing hunger and malnutrition due to factors such as the impact of climate change, conflict, and COVID-19, described as the ‘Triple Cs’.

A press release issued by ECA states that the challenges are not only threatening future food production prospects but they are also rolling back achievements in Africa’s food systems.

At a panel discussion held virtually as a side event of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) on Monday, the discussants gave vivid images of the threats posed by the ‘Triple Cs’ and made recommendations to dealing with.

Dina Saleh of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said the interactions between conflict, climate change and COVID-19 negatively impact the food system as well SDGs and Agenda 2063 and urged African countries to build resilient food systems to address the challenges.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Sub-regional Coordinator for Eastern Africa and FAO Representative to the African Union, Dr. Chimimba David Phiri noted that there was no better opportunity to discuss Africa’s food systems than now.

Citing incidents of droughts and floods, Phiri said what used to occur every 10 years in the past, now occurred every two years.

Climate change was one of the causes of resource-based conflicts, he added.

“The emergence of COVID-19 has worsened the vulnerability of food systems, especially of people living in rural areas,” Phiri emphasized.

FAO representative, Kafkas Capralzi said while large scale food producers were able to adapt production practices due to climate change and have food sufficiency, small scale producers could not.

“In the next 10 years if we don’t take action, there will be chronic hunger,” he stressed, and hastened to say “risk is a hazard, and when it meets humans, governments have an obligation to act.”

African Union Liaison Office Deputy Director, Magadalena Moshi, said the global food system should be inclusive and food production systems must be expanded to reach more vulnerable people.

The four-day meeting is being held under the theme “Building forward better: towards a resilient and green Africa to achieve the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063”.