African leaders to tackle malnutrition in Niger forum

Wednesday October 30 2013

This photo taken on June 15, 2012, at the Jamam refugee camp, shows Anima Hassan Omer cradling her granddaughter Khalifa at a Medecin Sans Frontiere (MSF) field hospital in South Sudan's Upper Nile state. African leaders, agriculture and nutrition experts will mark this year’s Africa Food and Nutrition Security Day (ADFNS) Thursday in Niamey, Niger. AFP PHOTO/Hannah McNEISH

This photo taken on June 15, 2012, at the Jamam refugee camp, shows Anima Hassan Omer cradling her granddaughter Khalifa at a Medecin Sans Frontiere (MSF) field hospital in South Sudan's Upper Nile state. African leaders, agriculture and nutrition experts will mark this year’s Africa Food and Nutrition Security Day (ADFNS) Thursday in Niamey, Niger. AFP PHOTO/Hannah McNEISH 

LUCAS BARASA
By LUCAS BARASA
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African leaders, agriculture and nutrition experts from the private and public sector will mark this year’s Africa Food and Nutrition Security Day (ADFNS) Thursday in Niamey, Niger, to tackle malnutrition and under-development on the continent.

In most of Africa, 54 million children under five years of age are suffering from chronic malnutrition.

The 4th ADFNS, jointly hosted by the African Union Commission (AUC), NEPAD Agency Government of Niger and partners such as UNICEF and WHO among others, will be commemorated under the theme “Toward an African Renaissance: Achieving the Right to Adequate Food and Nutrition”; in line with the 50th anniversary celebration of the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and the Year of Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance.

FOOD SECURITY

ADFNS, celebrated annually on October 30, aims to create a platform in which concerned stakeholders can discuss solutions and make recommendations on food security issues in Africa.

It is also a platform to strengthen the momentum towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to assess what happens after the 2015 deadline.

AUC Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, said “The African Union Commission accords special importance to this year’s ADFNS, as a prelude to 2014 the AU declared Year of Agriculture and Food and Nutrition Security and also marking the 10th anniversary of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).”

She further noted that the, “day remains an opportunity for all AU member states, governments, stakeholders and partners to heighten our awareness of and reinforce our commitment to accelerating our collective efforts towards a food and nutrition secure, and poverty-free Africa.”

Mrs Tumusiime said increasing agricultural production, productivity food and nutrition security, features highly on Africa Agenda 2063, which will be considered for adoption by AU Heads of State and Government at their Summit in January, 2014.

According to the chief executive officer of the NEPAD Agency, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, “Proven solutions for food and nutrition security challenges already exist and needed to be replicated.’’

TAKING ACTION

For him, ‘’the era of pilot projects is long gone and it is now time to take actions. To that end, ‘’the private sector is a valuable partner in the fight against malnutrition whereas civil society remains our most important voice of conscience.”

The AUC delegation will be led by Mrs Fatima Haram Acyl, Commissioner for Trade and Industry, who will be joined by high-level leaders from global, regional and national agriculture associations, African and other governments, civil society and farmer’s organisations, the private sector, scientific and research institutions, and development partners.