ABUJA – The President of AGRA, Dr Agnes Kalibata, has called for measures to be put in place to avert food crisis in Africa in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
Kalibata also cautioned that the outbreak of COVID-19 should not lead to food crisis in Africa.
She said though the movement restriction imposed in some African countries is a step towards curbing the spread of the disease, the implication on food production should also be considered.
She said already 250 million people in Africa are without food, and these set of people would suffer from both the long and short-term effect of the pandemic.
Kalibata, in a release made available to journalists, said “each of the 14 countries that AGRA partners with, has imposed some degree of restrictions to protect the populations from the spread of the virus.
“This is clearly an important protective step, but we also need to consider the very real danger that the COVID-19 pandemic will leave in its wake, a food security crisis that could affect the political, social and economic health of African countries.
“Already over 250 million people in Africa are without food. These vulnerable populations will suffer more from both the short- and long-term effects of the pandemic”.
She said as efforts were being made to slow the spread of the disease, there is a need to make efforts to ensure people have food, else, food crisis is imminent.
“As health workers battle to slow down the spread of the disease, all measures must be taken to ensure that people have food now, in the recovery period and beyond.
“If this is not done, COVID-19 will result in a food crisis that will affect poor people the most, in both rural and urban areas.
“It is obvious that we can protect the interests and well-being of the most vulnerable among us by ensuring farmers continues to do their work”, she noted.
“There are very good lessons coming from across Africa and beyond and we will bring these to our countries as we go.
“For example, the Indian Government has exempted agriculture and allied activities from the ongoing lockdown.
“Closer home, we commend efforts by the governments of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana and Ethiopia that are developing or already have guidelines to keep agricultural value chains alive even as they abide by public health guidelines.