African countries do their best to ensure agricultural production (international perspective)
Factors such as frequent natural disasters threaten the food security of African countries. African countries are actively taking measures to deal with the food problem, and at the same time ensuring agricultural production through international cooperation. China is playing an important role in helping African countries develop their agriculture.
Recently, led by the World Meteorological Organization and jointly released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Health Organization, the “State of the Climate in Africa in 2019” report shows that floods, droughts, hot weather and desert locust invasions caused by climate change. It seriously affects the food supply in Africa, threatening economic development and people’s health. Ensuring agricultural production has become a common issue facing African countries.
Climate change has a significant impact on African food production
Agriculture is Africa’s economic pillar and main source of livelihood, and climate change has a significant impact on Africa’s food production. According to data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, in sub-Saharan Africa, which is highly prone to drought, the number of undernourished people has increased by 45.6% since 2012. In the worst-case scenario, food production in western and central Africa is expected to decrease by 13% by 2050, 11% in the northern region, and 8% each in the eastern and southern regions.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recently warned that the East African locust plague may worsen due to the proliferation of a new generation of locusts. Monitoring shows that locust swarms may migrate south from Yemen, northeastern Ethiopia, and northern Somalia and expand to northern Kenya. East African countries are expected to face a new wave of desert locust attacks this month.
In the Sahel region of Africa, the recent severe floods have killed dozens of people, displaced tens of thousands of people, and suffered huge losses in agricultural production. The World Food Program warned that 7.4 million people in the Sahel are suffering from severe hunger. The UN refugee agency stated that under the combined influence of conflicts, extreme poverty, food insecurity and Coronavirus pandemic, the region is experiencing a severe humanitarian crisis.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Food Program issued a report on November 6, listing Burkina Faso, northeastern Nigeria, and South Sudan as hot spots of “highest concern” for severe food insecurity. Due to the increasing impact of conflict, displacement and pandemic on employment and food access, Burkina Faso’s extremely hungry population has grown the fastest, almost three times the level of 2019. The report specifically warns that the escalation of conflicts and further restrictions on humanitarian assistance may lead to the risk of famine.
Implement a systematic and inclusive agricultural development plan
Under the severe situation, many African countries have taken measures to improve disaster prevention capabilities and promote agricultural development.
The Kenyan government recently allocated 3 billion shillings (approximately US$27.61 million) to provide subsidies to 200,000 small-scale farmers to ensure food supply. At the same time, it has established 6 prevention and control bases across the country to coordinate control interventions in locust-affected areas. The Nigerian government recently decided to inject more than 600 billion naira (approximately US$1.58 billion) of stimulus funds into the agricultural sector to encourage small-scale farmers to cooperate in production to ensure the security and sustainability of food supply. As part of the economic recovery plan, the Zimbabwean government invested 6.1 billion U.S. dollars to support agricultural production, and at the same time formulated a summer crop planting plan for 2020-2021 to ease dependence on food imports.
Georgieva, President of the International Monetary Fund, and Selassie, Director of the African Department of the International Monetary Fund, recently published an article pointing out that African countries are highly dependent on precipitation, and the losses caused by each drought are much more serious than other developing economies in the world. . The article puts forward suggestions for increasing investment in weather-resistant infrastructure, strengthening social assistance and financing mechanisms, and implementing transformation or reforms.
The implementation of a systematic and inclusive agricultural development plan is particularly important for improving the resilience and sustainable development of agricultural production. The Ethiopian “Production Safety Net Program”, which was launched in 2005, covers about 8 million people. It has promoted agricultural production and investment in more than 10 years, reduced the poverty rate, and has attracted international attention. The International Monetary Fund pointed out that the “Production Safety Net Program” provides emergency cash transfers through the financial system to families lacking food security, “expanding access to financing for low-income families and small businesses and helping them better respond to shocks.”
Green agriculture has also begun to spread in Africa. At present, more than 70% of African countries have included clean agriculture in the “Nationally Determined Contributions” climate action, hoping to achieve a substantial increase in agricultural production through the use of solar energy and more efficient drip irrigation and other agricultural technologies, while reducing the waste of water resources.
“African agriculture has huge potential, and investment in agriculture is one of the most effective means of poverty reduction.” Leaders of 10 African countries including Angola, Benin, and Burkina Faso recently issued an open letter stating that the proportion of hungry people on the African continent is Twice the global average. Under the current circumstances, increasing investment in agriculture is more important than ever, because this can ensure food supply, sustain farmers’ livelihoods, and prevent more rural people from falling into poverty and hunger. The open letter calls for the world to increase investment in the International Agricultural Development Fund to help African countries achieve sustainable development goals.
China-Africa agricultural cooperation is of great significance to Africa’s food self-sufficiency
For many years, the international community, including China, has been helping Africa to strengthen its agricultural production capacity through different channels. The “African Agriculture Adaptation Initiative” supported by the United Nations Development Program has helped 34 African countries obtain more than $1 billion in climate change adaptation funds, effectively improving the resilience of more than 156,000 hectares of agricultural land, benefiting 57.8 million people.
The “Green Climate Fund” established under the “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” uses 42% of its funds (approximately US$2.6 billion) to fund African countries. With the support of this fund, Malawi has established a modern climate information and early warning system. Through the installation of automatic weather stations and hydrological monitoring stations, it has improved its ability to identify risks and predict the impact of disasters, and can guide local farmers to resist extreme weather. Impact. In addition, climate-smart agricultural enterprises in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and other countries have also received strong support from the “Green Climate Fund”.
China has always been an important force in helping African countries develop agriculture. Since 2019, the entire southern African region has suffered serious agricultural harvest failures. The World Food Program and China signed an agreement to provide emergency food assistance to three southern African countries in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Namibia. China will also set up a US$50 million third China-United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization South-South Cooperation Trust Fund to support developing countries, including African countries, to implement agricultural and rural development projects.
So far, China has assisted in the construction of 24 agricultural technology demonstration centers in Africa, imparting agricultural management experience to African farmers and agricultural technicians, guiding them to improve comprehensive agricultural production capacity, benefiting more than 500,000 local people. In Mozambique, the China-Mozambique Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center helped the locals cultivate more than 80 varieties of various crops such as rice, corn, cotton, soybeans, and sesame seeds, selected excellent varieties for agricultural production, and trained more than 3,000 local farmers. Recently, the handover of the China-aided Burundi Agricultural Demonstration Center project was completed. Burundi President Ndayismiye praised it as “a great project”, which will “greatly enhance the localization level of Burundi’s grain seeds.”
“China has accumulated a wealth of experience in poverty reduction, which is very worthy of reference by developing countries including African countries.” Nasul Gaddafi, member of the Central Committee of the National Resistance Movement, the ruling party of Uganda, and chairman of the Youth League, combined his work in rural China The inspection experience told reporters that China has advantages in technologies such as hybrid rice, modern agriculture, and scientific irrigation. Under such platforms as the joint construction of the “Belt and Road” and the China-Africa Cooperation Forum, it has strengthened Africa-China cooperation in the agricultural field. Realizing food self-sufficiency and poverty reduction is of great significance