Post Views: 219 As part of efforts to help end hunger across Africa, Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, said Wednesday that the Sasakawa Association...
As part of efforts to help end hunger across Africa, Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, said Wednesday that the Sasakawa Association will work with the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA), to help double rice production on the continent to 50m tonnes by 2030.
Abe, who spoke at the Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) symposium as part of the ongoing Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7), assured delegates that “Japanese technology can play a key role in innovation which is key to agriculture.”
According to a statement by the African Development Bank (AfDB), discussions at the symposium focused on Africa’s soaring youth population, unemployment rates, agricultural innovations and technologies, solutions and job creation opportunities in the agricultural value chain.
Speaking at the event, Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon Foundation, expressed belief in the agriculture potential of Africa, for which his foundation is “paying more attention to income-generating activities. We want to help shift the mindset of small-holder farmers from producing-to-eat to producing-to-sell. We are hopeful that Africa’s youth can take agriculture to a new era, and that they can see a career path in agriculture.”
In his keynote address, AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina, called for urgent and concerted efforts to “end hunger”.
He lamented that “in spite of all the gains made in agriculture, we are not winning the global war against hunger. We must all arise collectively and end global hunger. To do that, we must end hunger in Africa. Hunger diminishes our humanity.”
According to the FAO’s 2019 State of Food and Security, the number of hungry people globally stands at a disconcerting 821m, with Africa alone accounting for251m, or 31% of the global number of hungry people.
Commending the Sasakawa Association’s late founder, Ryochi Sasakawa, for his tireless efforts in tackling hunger, Adesina said: “Passion, dedication, and commitment to the development of agriculture and the pursuit of food security in our world has been the hallmark of your work.”
Between 1986 and 2003, Sasakawa Association in Africa operated in a total of 15 countries including – Ghana, Sudan, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, Mali, Guinea, Zambia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, and Mozambique.
Adesina expressed confidence in the ability of technology to deliver substantial benefits in agriculture, following which the AfDB has launched the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) to deliver new technologies to millions of farmers, in a bid to accelerate Africa’s agricultural growth.
“TAAT has become a game-changer, and is already delivering impressive results,” the statement quoted Adesina as saying.
Working with 30 private seed companies, the TAAT maize compact produced over 27,000 tons of seeds of water-efficient maize that was planted by 1.6m farmers.
Also at the event, Hiroyuki Takahashi, founder of Pocket Marche, a platform that connects Japanese farmers and producers with consumers, shared insights and lessons learnt from Japan’s experiences, historic cycles of climate disasters and the country’s rebound.
“The power to choose what we eat is the power to stop the climate crisis and bring sustainable happiness to a world with limited resources,” Takahashi said.
It is estimated that Africa will heat up 1.5 times faster than the global average and require $7-15bn a year for adaptation alone. Limiting the impacts of climate change is expected to become a top priority for Africa.
For Adesina, “Africa has been short-changed by climate change. But, it should not be short-changed by climate finance.
“Let’s be better asset managers for nature. For while we must eat today, so must future generations coming after us. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that we do not leave empty plates on the table for generations to come,” he stressed.