Delegates committed to resolve hunger by 2025, and included the issue in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture development Programme (CAADP), said Dr Pieter Mulder, deputy minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, who represented SA at the meeting. “The consensus at the conference was that hunger is not a natural phenomenon, but rather a man-made occurrence,” he said.
All the represented African countries gave presentations on how they address the issues of hunger and food security. In his presentation, Mulder highlighted that about 2 000 South African farmers were already farming in other African countries.
“These farmers are making a huge contribution to food stability and the unlocking of agricultural value in their host countries. However, in South Africa we do not suffer that much from food insecurity as from food affordability,” he said.
“There are a number of options available to support local commercial farmers in producing food less expensively. These include possible government subsidies and protection against imports.”Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Africa must move away from subsistence farming and increasingly concentrate on the establishment of viable commercial farming enterprises.
In reaction to Desalegn’s comment, Mulder said South Africa must embrace the commercialisation of agriculture. “Small-scale and subsistence farmers simply do not have the capacity to feed the hungry masses in Africa. “The expansion of agriculture depends on the political will to do so. In a country like Brazil, where the development of agriculture is actively supported by government, research is fully funded by the state. That is what needs to happen in South Africa as well,” Mulder said.