Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
An African Union-NEPAD investment workshop on food and nutrition security and the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) will be held in, Centurion, South Africa from May 20-23 2008. The theme is : “Accelerating country investments in response to high fuel prices and food insecurity”.
Background to the workshop Following the Abuja Food Security Summit in December 2006 the implementation of CAADP Pillar 3 — “Increasing food supply, reducing hunger and improving responses to food emergency crises” — in the context of the broader African agriculture priorities has gained momentum.
CAADP is an Africa-led initiative and framework to rationalise and revitalise African agriculture for economic growth and lasting poverty reduction.
This is reinforced by the Thematic Working Group on Agriculture and Food Security of the Millennium Development Goal Initiative for Africa recently established under the auspices of the United Nations and the African Union.
The AU and NEPAD have been taking stock of the progress made in developing the national CAADP Round Tables and have been concerned about the need to accelerate the implementation of food security and nutrition action plans, especially given the current rising food prices and their negative effects on food security, particularly for vulnerable groups.
To further support the round-table process and with identification of early actions to combat food insecurity, the Framework for African Food Security, the Pan African Nutrition Initiative and the Africa Ten-Year Strategy for the Reduction of Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies have been developed to guide the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and countries with their programme planning.
Since 2005 a number of agricultural commodity prices have shown a robust upward trend. The Food Price Index of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) averaged 23% higher in 2007 compared with 2006 as international commodity prices increased sharply throughout the past year.
What distinguishes the current state of agricultural markets is rather the concurrence of the hike of world prices of not just a selected few, but nearly all major food and feed commodities and the possibility that the prices may continue to remain high after the effects of short-term shocks dissipate.
This rapid increase in prices of key agricultural commodities in 2007 has put the surge of food prices on top of the agenda of policymakers worldwide.
Consumers are facing higher prices for basic foodstuffs such as bread, milk and meat. According to the UN, the threat of malnutrition and hunger is growing and millions of the most vulnerable people, mainly in developing countries, are at risk because they cannot afford to buy sufficient food to meet their nutrient requirements.
It is recognised that the current trend of rising food prices will negatively impact on the food and nutrition security of the most vulnerable groups as it will reduce food access for the poorest population strata.
Social consequences such as food riots have been observed in many regions across the world, including countries in North Africa and West Africa.
Opportunity for African agriculture Considering that high food prices also represent an opportunity for African agriculture and for increased agricultural productivity and investment, the African Union through the NEPAD Secretariat and its development partners have agreed on a common process to operationalise CAADP Pillar 3 at the country level.
To assist African countries address the issue of rising food prices, the adverse effects of which have already resulted in riots or protests in a number of countries, the AU/NEPAD planned the May workshop in South Africa to scale-up investment to affected African countries.
It is envisaged that recommended options for action will fall within broad categories corresponding to measures that aim to promote the supply response of farmers to higher prices and policies on the one hand, and programmes to protect the most vulnerable groups in society from a drastic reduction in food intake as a result of reduced purchasing power following higher food prices.
The workshop in South Africa will bring together representatives of selected countries affected by rising food prices, development partners, AU and NEPAD officials and technical specialists. It will consist of plenary and group sessions over a four-day period, with the assistance of professional facilitators and resource persons.
The first day of the workshop will expose the participants to the principle of CAADP, and of Pillar 3 in particular.
This will be followed by multi-country panels focused on the specific themes of Pillar 3 : food supply, food availability, nutrition, and emergency response systems. The workshop will then switch into country-specific groups, in which each country will refine their own project proposals.
On the fourth and last day, the countries will present and discuss their proposals with all the participants. The development partners will offer their perspectives on the process as well as on the individual proposals.
Goals and objectives of the workshop The main goal of the workshop is to assist governments in selected countries in Africa to identify and formulate an appropriate country framework of specific food security interventions in line with an approach to boost food production, availability and access to food for the most vulnerable and cope with higher and more volatile food prices.
It is expected that by the end of the programming workshop the country teams will have :
Proposals for short and medium term measures to improve food security that are ready for further development at the country level ; Action plans for finalising the preparation and financing of proposed investments ; Greater understanding and exposure to the CAADP framework, CAADP Pillar 3 and its relevance to investment options for food and nutrition security programmes ; Shared lessons and best practices on effective planning and implementation of food and nutrition security projects in crises and long term focus. The following 16 countries have been selected to participate in the programming workshop :
Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Swaziland, Uganda and Zambia. Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa have been invited to share their experiences, given their important role in food security in their regions. Source : NEPAD - may 16, 2008