Following the Russia and Ukraine war threatening Africa’s food security, the government of the United States of America (USA), has enjoined African leaders to increase investments in the agricultural sector to boost production, especially through small holder farmers.
Permanent Representative of the United States Mission to the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Ambassador Cindy McCain, gave the charge at a media briefing in Rome, nothing that Ukraine had been a major source of wheat for about 138 million people in over 80 countries, including Ethiopia, South Sudan and Nigeria.
According to her, before the war over 40 per cent of wheat, corn and fertilizer exports from Ukraine went to the Middle East and Africa, which are already grappling with hunger, adding that the Korean Agriculture Organisation estimate that about 13 million people worldwide would be pushed into food insecurity as a result of the Russia Ukraine conflict, it was gathered.
She noted that the war was compounding the impact of climate change on the vulnerable population, stressing the need for governments to increase domestic food production.
“There are going to be some tough choices to be made by African counties. It is about increasing investments that will make it easier for seeds to get to the market, which increases the flow of goods as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
McCain also encouraged governments across the continent to remain open to trade and not close their doors to other trade partners, adding: “Stay open to trade, allow our markets to operate, do not close off shipping routes.”
On his part, representative of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Jim Burnhart , said: “High food prices and soaring fertiliser prices globally are already threatening Africa’s food security drive.
“The invasion couple with the weakened food system could result in significant increases in global poverty, hunger and malnutrition, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.”