Investment and better trade terms needed to fight hunger in Africa - FAO

Investment and better trade terms needed to fight hunger in Africa - FAO

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Liberalization of trade for agricultural products and increased investment is key to improving lives in Africa, the head of the United Nations food agency said today.

Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), was speaking to a FAO Regional Conference for Africa in Cairo, Egypt. He said it was “essential” to provide “developing countries with greater opportunities to participate in international trade.”

The Conference is focusing on preparations for a five-year follow-up to the World Food Summit to be held in Rome from 10 to 13 June. Underscoring the importance of the Summit, Dr. Diouf said Africa was the only region where food supply per capita has fallen for the last four years. About 200 million Africans are affected by malnutrition. “This is largely due to the limited possibilities of food production for domestic consumption and to poor organization of distribution networks and markets,” he said.

Dr. Diouf also called for increased investment in infrastructure to improve agriculture in Africa, pointing to the need for small-scale irrigation, storage and processing facilities and rural roads.

“An estimated $37 billion are needed for water control and land improvement infrastructure alone,” the Director-General added.

The Regional Conference and the Food Summit are part of the preparatory process for the World Summit on Sustainable Development that will be held in Johannesburg from 26 August to 4 September.