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AfricaRice affirms commitment to goals of Africa Food and Nutrition Security Day

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Uploaded on Jan 16, 2012

Invited by the African Union Commission (AUC) to the 2011 commemoration of the Africa Food and Nutrition Security Day (AFNSD), the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) Director General Dr. Papa Abdoulaye Seck affirmed the Center's full commitment to the goals of AFNSD. "We have a common vision for an Africa free from hunger and poverty and we will work tirelessly to achieving that in line with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently signed with AUC," said Dr. Seck in his message delivered at this year's AFNSD commemoration, which was held on 31 October 2011 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Dr. Seck emphasized that for over four decades, AfricaRice has been a strong partner in Africa's development, providing improved technologies, such as the NERICA rice varieties. Some NERICAs have higher protein content than imported varieties and can thus play a significant role in combating malnutrition in the continent where more than 50 million children suffer from chronic malnutrition.

AFNSD, which was endorsed by the African Heads of State and Governments during the 15th African Union Summit, serves as a rallying point in intensifying commitments at all levels to address the challenges of food and nutrition insecurity and malnutrition in the continent.

The theme for this year's edition was "Investing in intra-African trade for Food and Nutrition Security in Africa," which called for: a) An increase in the volume of high value and nutritious foods; b) Enhancing of national and regional markets and cross-border trade; c) Enhancing of regional and local emergency response and capacity to deal with crises; and d) Stepping up of efforts to prioritize harmonization of sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) frameworks.

Inaugurating the event, Dr. Jean Ping, AUC Chairperson said, "I do believe that if we are able to increase agricultural investment into African production systems, the emerging internal trade could support a dynamic rural economy that could uplift millions out of poverty. Intra-African trade could thus be the true motor to release the developmental energy of agriculture to enhance food and nutrition security."

Ethiopia's double Olympic gold winner Haile Gebrselassie delivered the keynote address at the meeting in his capacity as Goodwill Ambassador. "It is unacceptable to have food surpluses in one side of the continent while the other side faces famine and starvation because of closed border laws and regulations put in place by us," he reiterated.

The 2011 edition of AFNSD was organized by the AUC and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and co-hosted by the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. In addition to AUC and NEPAD members, representatives from the Agriculture Ministry of Ethiopia, the Government of Malawi, the European Union, United Nations Agencies, AfricaRice, and non-governmental organizations attended.

The program included an exhibition of publications, posters and multi-media products. A display by AfricaRice showcasing a wide range of rice-based food products was a major highlight of the event. The active presence of the AfricaRice delegation was highly appreciated by the AUC. "AfricaRice did us all proud at the AFNSD. We have enlarged opportunities now to work with AfricaRice in the context of the MoU signed by the two organizations."

Video credit : R.Raman, AfricaRice

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