On April 16, 2020 the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) jointly convened a virtual meeting of Ministers of Agriculture in African countries to discuss the impact of coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) on food security and nutrition. The meeting was co-convened by Hon. Angela Thoko Didiza, Minister for Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development of South Africa, Chair of the AU Specialized Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment; and Mr. QU Dongyu, FAO Director-General. The meeting was moderated by H.E. Amb. Josefa Sacko, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the AU Commission.
The main objective of the meeting was to open a dialogue with Africa’s Ministers of Agriculture to identify actions being taken and to identify priority actions needed to be undertaken to minimise the effects of the COVID-19.
The core topics that were discussed were:
1. Social Protection: ensuring effective response and inclusive recovery in the context of covid-19 in Africa;
2. Crop calendars and recommended actions during the COVID-19 outbreak in the Africa region;
3. Measures for supporting domestic markets during the covid-19 outbreak in Africa;
4. Intra-African trade, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the COVID-9 pandemic; and
5. Safeguarding input supply chains for small-scale agricultural producers in the context of COVID-19 in Africa.
The outcomes of the Ministerial meeting were captured in a political declaration that was adopted by the Ministers at the end of the meeting. The declaration is attached for reference.
About the STC on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment
The Specialized Technical Committees (STCs) of the African Union are thematic committees and are answerable to the Executive Council. Each STC is composed of Member States’ ministers and senior officials responsible for sectors falling within their respective areas of competence. The STCs work in close collaboration with AUC departments to ensure the harmonisation of AU projects and programmes as well as coordination with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
The STC on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment reviews the strategic goals and identifies synergies and linkages, as well as implications for achieving the goals of the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods; boosting the agenda for attaining food and nutrition security; reducing poverty; boosting intra-African trade; and enhancing resilience to climate change, related shocks and disasters.
Source: African Union