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Friday, October 23, 2015

Access to food, a fundamental right says Adeshina

The president of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina has stated that access to food in quantity and quality is a fundamental human right, NaijaAgroNet reports.

He emphasised the importance of agriculture and food security to the growth and development of Africa. “People eat food. Access to food in quantity and quality is a fundamental human right. Just few weeks ago at the United Nations General Assembly, the world took a bold decision to approve the Sustainable Development Goals. In my meeting with the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, he told me: ‘The SDGs must succeed in Africa. If they do not succeed there, they cannot be said to have succeeded’.

Adeshina, NaijaAgroNet  gathered, was speaking at a high level conference on agricultural transformation themed ‘Feeding Africa.’ He said nothing is more important than food, adding that while Africa had risen on the back of new discoveries of oil and gas fields, in reality, no one eats oil or gas.

“The other side of the trajectory, which we must face, is that the growth process is highly unequal. Africa has today, one of the highest inequalities in the world. Over 400 million live on less than one dollar per day.

“While poverty rates have fallen in Africa, the absolute number of the poor has increased, and Africa is the only region where the absolute number of the poor increased in the world,” he said.
He maintained that Africa must rise up and unlock its full agricultural potential, adding that with all its bright sunshine, abundant water resources and cheap labour, Africa should be a global powerhouse in food and agriculture, NaijaAgroNet learnt.

“Africa cannot eat potential and there is no market for selling potential. In Nigeria, we unlocked that potential when I was minister of agriculture. This convinces me that agricultural transformation can occur in a very short period of time. The Agricultural Transformation Agenda which implemented wide-ranging reforms with sharp focus on the private sector-led input delivery systems, value chain development and financing systems, led to an increase of 21 million metric tonnes in food production within three years. The food import bill in the country fell from an all-time high of $11 billion, about N2.18 trillion in 2009 to $3.2 billion, about N636. 96 billion by 2014,” he added.

Cyriacus Nnaji with additional report from Leadership/GEE
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