The African Union, AU and European Union, EU have taken their partnership in the area of Agriculture to new heights with the maiden edition of the AU-EU Conference of Ministers of Agriculture.
The Conference, with the theme of “Investing in a Food Secure Future” was aimed at advancing the cooperation between Africa and Europe in the field of agriculture with special emphasis on the role of agricultural policy cooperation in food security and nutrition improvement.
Top on the agenda of the meeting of African and European Ministers of Agriculture was; Building on the commitment of African leaders at the June 2014 Malabo, Equatorial Guinea Summit of the African Union.
They also explored options for the contribution of agriculture policy cooperation between the AU and EU, including for SDG2 and AU Agenda 2063 implementation in alignment with the commitments of the Malabo Declaration.
The ministers also discussed modalities to support governments, farmers, private sector, scientists, businesses, civil society as well as regional blocs and international organisations in addressing agricultural, forestry and fisheries practices, food systems and social and economic policies in order to reach the desired goals.
The Conference building on existing partnership between the AU and the EU was a mechanism expected to enhance strong and lasting partnership of the Ministers of Agriculture from the two regions.
The main themes of cooperation; accelerate the implementation of relevant agreements and actions and also to strengthen the cooperation with private sector, especially through private public partnerships.
The Minister of Agriculture of the Government of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Martijn van Dam emphasized in his Opening Speech that “Partnerships like these are an excellent example of what’s needed to bolster food security; and not only in Africa”.
He further pointed to the need to pay attention to the earth and the resources at our disposal underscoring that “The challenge is not only to produce more food, but to produce it in better and smarter ways because it’s obvious that people are calling for more, but our planet Earth is crying for less.
As the holder of the EU Presidency, the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands organized the Conference as a platform to strengthen agricultural cooperation between Africa and Europe and to advance the vision and ambition that “Together, Europe and Africa can make a significant contribution to global food security since agriculture is a key sector for economic growth for both continents”.
The Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, spoke On behalf of the AUC, noting that the challenge of achieving food security and nutrition goals and poverty reduction has become more difficult with new challenges such as climate change undermining food systems in many regions.
She said that feeding the growing population with already scarce resources presents a challenge that countries will have to overcome through a hybrid of multi-sectorial strategies and actions to transform agricultural and rural development policies.
African countries and their leadership are more committed to reducing poverty and ending hunger through the adoption of various strategies, declarations and agreements which include the Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals that have as high priorities; ending hunger and reducing poverty.