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"Africa can and must feed itself”

14/11/2013 - 

Cape town, South Africa, 08 November 2013 (FAO) - The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) jointly with the World Rural Forum (WRF), the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and the World Farmers Organization (WFO) organized an African Regional Dialogue in Cape Town from 6 to 7 November 2013 to enhance national and regional discussions on family farming and smallholder farming (including agriculture forestry, fisheries and livestock).

In a world that has an estimated population of 7 billion, where almost 1 billion people are undernourished (of which 239 million are in Sub-Saharan Africa), the African continent is faced with serious challenges related to food security and nutrition. Family farming is one model that can provide solutions to overcome this challenge.

The event was a resounding success attended by various stakeholders from government, family farming organizations and cooperatives, civil society organizations, academia and research institutions, private sector and a number of development partners coming from 35 countries from sub-Saharan Africa. During the two-day dialogue, the participants identified effective ways and concrete actions in order to make family farming an effective and sustainable contributor to achieving food security and nutrition in the continent.

The dialogue was officially opened by Prof Edith Veronica Vries, Director General of Agriculture Forestry and fisheries. She strongly emphasized that “ Africa can and must feed itself first before feeding the world” . Family farming can contribute to achieving the millennium development goal on hunger eradication.

The African Regional Dialogue was aimed at enabling a discussion between the different stakeholders to increase understanding on the role and contributions of family farming in each Sub-region, including the identification of challenges, opportunities for agricultural investment and policy priorities for achieving food security and eradicating hunger.

The participants agreed that family farming is more than about producing food. It is a way of life as it contributes to transgenerational knowledge transmission, the preservation of the environment and natural resources as well as cultural heritage. Family farming is diverse and varies according to the different regions and contexts.