AU launches project to promote food and nutrition security in Africa


 

Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi and Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment Josefa Sacko lead other dignitaries in cake cutting after the launch of a project to promote food and nutrition security on Feb 9, 2024. [Courtesy]

The African Union has today launched an ambitious project seeking to spearhead crucial reforms in the feed and fodder sector across the African continent.

Through its African Union-InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources, the project to be implemented by the Resilient African Feed and Fodder Systems seeks to ensure the feed and fodder sector is developed across Africa in a  sustainable and evidence-based manner, to among other things ensure livestock-sourced products are available and affordable to those who need them most.

The RAFFS Project was launched in Nairobi by Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment Josefa Sacko, at an occasion graced by dozens of stakeholders from Africa.

Kenya’s Agriculture and Livestock Development Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi and his Ugandan counterpart Lt Col (Rtd) Bright Rwamirama were also present at the launch.

According to Commissioner Sacko, Africa’s feed sector remains largely under-articulated and underdeveloped, with few countries having economic feed sub-sectors.

On average, she said an African household would have to expend more than 10 percent of their daily income to purchase dairy products.

Sacko said producers, mainly in rural areas, generate huge animal resources that undergird a mega continental business worth billions of US dollars annually.

“The livestock sector also has a high multiplier effect, and spillover effects, stimulating fast growth in other agricultural sectors, manufacturing and services, making it critical for achieving the desired accelerated economic growth and structural transformation,” she said.

She pointed out that according to data from the fourth Biennial Review Report, countries that had higher public expenditure in livestock also realized better nutrition outcomes.

Sacko said the Resilient African Feed and Fodder Systems (RAFFS) Project is designed to harness evidence-driven solutions for short-term interventions to enhance access to affordable and quality feed and fodder critical to ensuring efficient and sustainable production of livestock and livestock-sourced foods.

“The findings of the continental survey and six country assessments the Project undertook are highly insightful, bringing greater understanding to the underlying causes of the structural constraints that have hindered the growth of vibrant feed and fodder systems on the continent,” she added.

The commissioner said at the heart of the project is building systemic capacities to better analyse and interpret data to inform evidence-based solutions.

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