By Addis Getachew
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) - United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Saturday said the food insecurity is on the rise and Africa is the continent most affected by it.
Guterres was speaking at a high-level event organized a day before the 30th Assembly of African Heads of State and Government.
“Africa takes the highest percentage of the global hunger,” Guterres told a gathering of top level officials and agriculture experts.
According to Guterres, there is a link between conflict and food insecurity.
“We need community approach that promotes social cohesion,” he said, adding ensuring gender equality was one important vehicle towards ensuring food security.
“Women constitute 63 percent of the agricultural task force,” he noted in justification of how gender equality can improve the food security situation.
Africa, according to him, has much more to do to ensure food security.
Guterres said only 5 percent of countries in Africa met the target set by the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) -- one of the flagship programs of Africa’s Agenda 2063.
Africa’s Agenda 2063 is a socio-economic and political blueprint aimed at creating a peaceful and prosperous continent.
In September 2017, the UN said in a report that world hunger has risen by almost five percent year-on-year in 2016 due to an increase in violent conflicts and climate-related shocks around the world.
The report estimated that the number of chronically undernourished people in the world rose to 815 million, i.e. 11 percent of the world population in 2016, up from 777 million the previous year.
Around 20 percent of Africa's population (more than 243 million) was affected by hunger during the same period, it noted.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman of the African Union and President of Guinea Alpha Konde said: “Food insecurity and lack of micro nutrients are scourges in the continent.”
He recommended that animal resources development should be the heart of food security agenda.
According to President Conde, the food insecurity and malnutrition were causes of conflict in many parts of the continent.
Meanwhile, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn called for expansion of irrigation to tackle poverty and food insecurity as poverty is hard to wipe out with only rain-fed agriculture.
Over the past decade, he said, his country managed to increase the area of irrigated land from six million hectares to 16 million hectares.
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Africa most affected by food insecurity, says UN chief
By Addis Getachew