Mr. Chairman, Ministers of Government, Members of the Diplomatic and Counsellor, Distinguished Development Partners and Guests, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
I would like to start by joining other speakers to welcome you to this International Conference ‘Food Security and Nutrition for All’ on the Occasion of Africa Day May 25th, 2022.
Mr Chairman on the observance of this day, the theme for 2022 is’ Food Security and Nutrition for All’. Giving the multifaceted nature of this theme, clearly call for renewed collective actions dedicated to increased agricultural production and productivity, hence aimed at fighting hunger, malnutrition, and poverty – the greatest challenges facing our and other nations today, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to available statistics (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF) close to 12 percent of the global population was severely food insecure in 2020, representing 928 million people – 148 million more than in 2019. Furthermore, nearly one in three people in the world (2.37 billion) did not have access to adequate food in 2020- that’s an increase of almost 320 million people in just one year. Africa and Asia account for more than nine out of ten of all children stunting, more than nine out of ten children wasting and more than seven out of ten who are affected by overweight worldwide.
Similarly in Sierra Leone the trend is almost the same. Sierra Leone SOFI report in 2021 reveal 2.0 million chronic hunger and 1.1 million acute hunger out of 8.2 million population.
In view of the above, the statistics clearly suggest that we are not still on track to meet our commitments to end world hunger and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030.
In my view Mr. Chairman, the objectives of this year’s theme are like the observance of the World Food Day celebration objectives:
- encourage attention to agricultural food production and to stimulate national, bilateral, multilateral and non-governmental efforts to this end.
- encourage economic and technical cooperation among developing countries;
- encourage the participation of rural people, particularly women and the least privileged categories, in decisions and activities influencing their living conditions;
- heighten public awareness of the problem of hunger and malnutrition particularly in Africa.
- promote the transfer of technologies to the developing world; and
- strengthen international and national solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty and draw attention to achievements in food and agricultural development for all.
Furthermore, Mr. chairman this year’s theme is emblematic of Africa heads of state commitment to human capital development, food security and environmental pro-activity, and 10% national budget allocation to agriculture as expressed in the Malabo Declaration.
The Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) recognized that there were binding constraints to the countries achieving food self-sufficiency and food and nutrition security SUSTAINABLY, hence the heads of member states crafted the CAADP process to eliminate hunger, poverty and to enhance food and nutrition security for all.
Mr Chairman, the theme and purpose of this year’s Africa Day and member states aspiration to achieve food and nutrition security support the UN’s Blueprint for ending hunger in the world. Why is this important? The following eight (8) reasons constitute the wide-ranging justification:
- Zero hunger could save the lives of 1 million children a year
- Well-nourished mothers have healthier babies,with stronger immune systems
- Ending child under nutrition could increase a developing country’sGDP by 16.5%
- A dollar invested in hunger prevention could returnbetween $15 and $139 in benefits;
- Proper nutrition early in life could mean 46 percent more in lifetime earnings;
- Eliminating iron deficiency in a population could boost workplace productivity by 20%
- Ending nutrition-related child mortality couldincrease a workforce by 9.4% and
- Zero hunger can help build a safer, more prosperous worldfor everyone
Mr Chairman, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, permit me to congratulate the organizers of this international conference. Finally, let me wish everyone a memorable celebration.
I Thank You ALL.