Ensuring people have access to food by keeping borders open for trade is critical during COVID-19, FAO director-general QU Dongyu said during the first meeting of the Task Force on the impact of COVID-19 on food security and nutrition in Africa
The meeting, co-convened by Qu and Angela Thoko Didiza, minister for Agriculture, land reform and rural development of South Africa and chair of the African Union Specialised Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment was moderated by Josefa Sacko, commissioner for rural economy and agriculture, of the African Union Commission.
Task Force members included the European Union, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme(WFP) and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD).
The main role of the Task Force is to help coordinate the actions set out in the joint political declaration made in April by Africa’s Ministers for Agriculture, with support from FAO and the African Union, on protecting food security and nutrition during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Task Force will provide coordinated support to any new food security “hot spots” resulting from COVID-19, with particular focus on countries facing multiple threats such as the Desert Locust infestation in Eastern Africa.
The FAO director-general underscored the need to support the most vulnerable in Africa, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the need to do this through innovation throughout the food supply chain, including the adoption of digital agriculture technologies.