African states seek common food policy
Kenya is among 23 countries in Africa pushing for formulation of a continental food policy framework to contribute to food and nutrition security.
Further, continent agriculture value chains opine that creation of the policy will help countries organise their sectors with a view to taming the increasing imports bill.
Governments under the African Union (AU), civil society groups and other development partners are sponsoring the creation of the food policy agenda to help in involving all the players to food production and management.
African Development Bank (AfDB) says the continet had an estimated net food import bill of $35.4 billion in 2015 and is expected to increase to $110 billion by 2025 though the same could be offset by increased production in the continent.
Agriculture ministry principal secretary Hamadi Boga confirmed that Kenya is part of the initiative despite having enacted her food policy in the last decade. The African Union, he said is supporting the initiative with a view to enhancing food and nutrition security to feed the increasing population.
“Kenya enacted her food policy in 2011 to add value and create synergy to existing sectoral and other initiatives of government and partners. We are part of the AU and we are working with other value chains to actualise the idea,” he said.
Civil society groups in the continent under the leadership of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) are spearheading the initiative over and above promoting organic farming in the continent.
Chris Macoloo, AFSA board chairman says agriculture stakeholders are firmly convinced that African food production systems based on agro-ecological and indigenous approaches are critical in achieving food sovereignty.
The new policy will promote food sovereignty through agroecology and ensure that the farmer is in charge of the key processes along the food value chain. It will make the farmer sovereign and will encourage the farmer’s participation in the decision making on what to grow and how to grow it.