By Rogers Aghan, March 21, 2023, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr. Samia Suluhu, Hassan, on March 17 officially launched Africa’s Food System Forum 2023 at State House Tanzania. Africa’s Food System Forum is a premier platform for boosting the agriculture and food systems agenda in Africa.
This year’s forum entailed Recovery, Regeneration, and Action plans with the three elements being coined as the key themes of the forum. The building of better food systems is the backbone of Africa’s solutions to food systems transformation. The move identifies three steps toward achieving food system transformation.
Recovery constituted the need for decisive and precise measures and actions to salvage the constant need for the recovery and rebuilding of food systems considering the shocks and crises that have occurred in the past. Regeneration, the second element among the themes called for the urgent need to regenerate natural resources like water and soil. These resources are critical for sustainable food production. Action, the last element among the themes constituted the need to execute the forum’s mandate with respect to addressing different challenges facing food systems with climate change appearing at the top of the list. Food insecurity and food waste are also critical challenges that seem to hinder food systems in Africa.
The forum will shine a light on the role of youth and women through refurbished commitment in the food systems dialogue, with a focus on regenerating agricultural interest as a way to create wealth in the continent.
President Suluhu reiterated that there was a need to involve youth and women in discourses regarding Africa’s food system while addressing the meeting during the launch in Dar es Salaam.
She explained; “For several decades, Tanzania has relied upon subsistence farming. Hosting the Africa’s Food System Forum 2023 is critical to our nation considering that over 25 percent of the Gross Domestic Product is generated from agriculture. The Tanzanian Government has deliberately made a plan to prioritize this sector to boost the livelihoods of our citizens. We are doing this through vital programs inspired by our hosting and the knowledge garnered in the 2012 AGRF Summit. Our focus is geared toward ensuring the youth are actively involved in agricultural reforms and investments in our country. It is my hope that the hosting of this forum is one step forward and an important move to attain the expected results in our agricultural sector.
Additionally, Tanzania as the host of the forum announced to the world its aim to become a food hub for Africa. President Suluhu called on the international community, partners of Africa’s Food Systems Forums, the private sector, and development players to contribute fully to the forum on the aspect of agricultural sector development thus strengthening food systems in Africa.
H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, the chair of the forum noted the significance of the continent’s need to move beyond planning to combat food insecurity by executing and actualizing commitments. He called for innovation, partnership, leadership, and homegrown solutions to solve emergent agricultural and food systems challenges.
The Africa Food Systems Forum is set for September 5th-8th 2023 in Dar es Salaam Tanzania, with a pre-summit event slated for September 4th 2023. The summit will gather a diverse group of stakeholders including policymakers, researchers, leaders, governments, and private entities. Also, farmers and youth leaders will be actively included to ensure agreement on practical actions and solutions are made. These discussions are important in driving Africa’s food security forward and creating better livelihoods for all.