Legislators in Eastern Africa join the FAO Family to celebrate the World Food Day

Report
from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Published on 20 Oct 2019

Pledged to curb the tide of food insecurity and malnutrition in the subregion

20 October 2019, Hoima – Uganda: – Lawmakers from the Eastern Africa subregion joined the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) family and the Government of Uganda in the commemoration of this year’s World Food Day. They reaffirmed their commitment to act urgently against the deepening food insecurity and malnutrition situation in the subregion.

As part of their Second Annual General Meeting, members of the “Eastern African Parliamentary Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (EAPA FSN),” took part in the World Food Day celebration, observed on 16 October 2019, in Hoima District, the Republic of Uganda. The celebrations were officiated by H.E. Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, Vice President of the Country.

In his public address at the World Food Day event, H.E. Ssekandi acknowledged the critical role of parliamentarians to ensure governments are on the right path to transform the agricultural sector from its existing rudimentary stage to a modern system, where the youth and women can benefit in terms of employment and investment.

The World Food Day 2019 was one of the most important events for the Parliamentarians to renew their commitments to work with FAO and governments in alleviating hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in the Eastern Africa region. Parliamentarians drawn from Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda and from the East African Legislative Assembly, took part in the event and pledged to extend their influence on policy decisions and resource allocations to ensure member countries in the subregion are implementing projects that foster food security and nutrition.

“It is unacceptable that the Eastern Africa subregion is lagging behind in mitigating dire food insecurity and malnutrition, given its huge natural rescues,” lamented Hon.
Mathias Kasamba, Chair of the Agriculture, Tourism and Natural Resource Committee of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), speaking at the event.

Hon. Mathias reiterated that Parliamentarians must become champions for improving food security and nutrition for every homestead, where they get votes. To this effect, they must put in place legislation that will facilitate adequate budgets for agricultural research, mechanisation and technologies for empowering farmers produce adequate, nutritious and safe foods for subsistence and markets.

‎The event was also a great opportunity for H.E. ‎Vincent Ssempijja, Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), and for high-level officials from FAO Uganda, World Food Programme, and the Ugandan National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), to pledge their continuous support to promote the agricultural sector.

During the Second Annual General Meeting of EAPA FSN, held before the World Food Day, in Kampala, Uganda, David Phiri, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Eastern Africa and Representative to the Africa Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), reminded Parliamentarians that the Eastern Africa subregion has only 15% of Africa’s population and yet accounts for 50% of all food insecure peoples in Africa. He recalled also that the number of undernourished people in the subregion reached 132 million.

“The theme of this year’s World Food Day ‘_Our actions are our future, Healthy diets for a ZeroHunger world’ _reminds all of us that eradicating hunger is not only about addressing starvation, but also nourishing people, while nurturing the planet. To achieve this goal, Parliamentarians can take decisive steps to influence the allocation of resources and aligning national laws to international and regional commitments, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Malabo commitments," remarked Phiri.

Members of parliament (MPs), in collaboration with FAO, organized their Second Annual Meeting in the pursuit of driving the food security and nutrition agenda forward at national and regional levels. After intensive discussions, participating MPs endorsed EAPA FSN’s operating documents and a four-year strategic plan that lay the foundation of how the Alliance will achieve the agreed objectives.

FAO is facilitating the establishment of Parliamentarian Alliances and networks in various regions across Africa to unleash their potential for the creation of enabling policy and legislative environment aimed at eliminating hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. EAPA FSN also serves as a platform to share experiences and best practices on parliamentary actions for improving food security and nutrition across member countries as well as addressing cross-border issues.

For more information, please contact:

Mr. Abebe Demissie Banjaw

Communication and Media Consultant

FAO Subregional Office for Eastern Africa

Tel: +251 (0)116478888, Ext. 214

Email: Abebe.Banjaw@fao.org

Tezeta Meshesha

Communication Expert

FAO Subregional Office for Eastern Africa

Tel: +251 (0)116478888, Ext. 193

Email: Tezeta.Hailemeskel@fao.org