AAP initiatives support UNDP’s strategy for a food secure Africa
By Yuqiong Zhou, Junior Consultant at AAP HQ
Pictured: Farmers in the West Region of Cameroon Cautioned Against Planting after Dry Season Rains Steve Dufe in Cameroon
Of the AAP countries dealing with food insecurity, the situations in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Niger and Tanzania were classified as ‘alarming’ in the 2011 Global Hunger Index Report, with almost every other sub-Saharan AAP country classified as ‘serious’.
Part of the AAP’s mission of strengthening the capabilities of participating countries to deal with climate-related risks has involved confronting food insecurity. On this issue, the AAP has been supporting countries to develop national strategies closely aligned with UNDP’s African food security strategy. This has been done by prioritising the agriculture and health sectors in 18 AAP countries, undertaking food security studies to help with long term planning mechanisms, and supporting activities such as Congo’s seed bank and Namibia’s irrigation systems.
Food security related activities by AAP national teams
Food insecurity is a critical long-term issue that has hindered economic and human development in Africa. Land degradation, erosion, water scarcity and drought combine with poverty, conflict, poor infrastructure and other factors to leave populations vulnerable to fluctuations in food production and prices. As a result, hunger, malnutrition and the potential loss of human life is a reality that numerous AAP countries confront.
UNDP’s Africa Human Development Report 2012: Towards a Food Secure Future was the first Africa HDR to focus on food security. It argued that establishing food security must be a top priority of governments in order to achieve sustainable development in Africa and called for action in four interrelated areas: agricultural productivity, nutrition, access to food and empowerment of the rural poor.
In pursuit of the AAP output of implementing climate resilience policies, Congo has integrated climate change concerns in a food security programme, developed food security related agro-forestry pilot projects and supported an agricultural centre, the Centre Agronomique de Loudima, which focuses on rehabilitating the country’s seed bank.
The AAP team supported the Government of Mauritius in the development of the Food Security Fund Strategic Plan (2008-2001). Created in cooperation with the Ministry of Agro Industry, Food Production and Security, the Plan articulated a strategy to increase food production both locally and within the region. The AAP team also helped develop and introduce better water storage and water harvesting methods.
Under the AAP’s development of long-term planning mechanisms output, UNDP and the Government of Malawi signed an agreement to develop a national framework for responding to climate-related challenges to sustainable economic development and national food security.
A working group was formed to develop methodologies to mainstream climate change adaptation and food security issues into district planning. The AAP team also developed adaptation pilot projects related to reducing the food insecurity of the most vulnerable families. The pilot projects focused on the use best practices to preserve and store locally-produced food with a high nutritional value.
AAP Niger undertook a food security study and created micro-drip irrigation systems under the Programme’s long term planning output. The food security study was used in the development of the National System for the Prevention and Management of Food Crisis, which was viewed as an essential step to achieving food security, reducing poverty and securing the economic viability of the agricultural sector.
AAP Namibia set up a small grant project to more than 50 individuals, groups and schools with micro-drip irrigation systems, container cultivation systems, seeds and training. The outcome of this initiative was a demonstration of how to improve soil quality and water efficiency while increasing agricultural productivity.