News / Africa

FAO Opens Africa Conference

FAO Assistant Director-General Bukar Tijani says more youth are needed in agriculture. Credit: FAO
FAO Assistant Director-General Bukar Tijani says more youth are needed in agriculture. Credit: FAO

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to De Capua report on regional Africa conference in Tunis

Joe DeCapua
The Food and Agriculture Organization says Africa is the world’s most food insecure continent. The U.N. agency is holding its 28th Regional Conference on Africa this week in Tunis.


The FAO gave the bleak description of Africa despite some strong economic growth in recent years – an average 4.8 percent increase in Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, between 2000 and 2010. It says the problem stems from low agricultural productivity, low incomes in rural areas and high rates of malnutrition.

There have been improvements, though. The FAO cites greater production of staple crops, the growing of better varieties of bananas in eastern and central Africa and the planting of higher yielding maize. There’s also greater production of cotton, teas and flowers. But the agency says it’s not enough to ensure food security for a growing population amid climate change.

FAO Assistant Director-General Bukar Tijani said the conference is focusing on greater investment in smallholder farmers. Women play the major role in such farms, but Tijani says there will now be an emphasis on attracting youth.

“The theme of the conference itself is really to support youth in different endeavors of agriculture. But then we have to be very precise. We have to also be pulling youth into agriculture because agriculture is seen as a traditional, historical culture and not as farming or as enterprise or as business.”

The FAO said agricultural production in African countries, on average, “has increased slightly less than one-percent per year, compared with about two-percent in other developing countries.”

Tijani said that Africa’s youth must see that agriculture is big business, not just a tradition. Entrepreneurship, he says, can be applied to agricultural products.

“That is crops, livestock, [fisheries], forest products and the value chain activities related to it, including technologies, communication, ICT – everything that could attract youth into it because it’s big monies,” he said.

Representatives of more than 50 countries are expected to attend the FAO regional meeting in Tunis. They’re being asked to build on the continent’s economic growth to provide “stable agriculture and fiscal policies that encourage investment.”

‘The future of Africa or any generation lies in the youth. And that is why I’m calling on youth to come into agribusiness so that you can have employment generation, wealth creation, incomes within agriculture across Africa,” said Tijani.

The meeting also addresses policies to end hunger on the continent by 2025. The FAO said, “Over the past decades, absolute levels of hunger and undernourishment remain worrying in sub-Saharan Africa.” It added the Sahel and the Horn of Africa are of “particular concern.” 

The regional meeting in Tunis runs until March 28.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid