IFAD reaffirms conquering hunger through agriculture
ABUJA- THE International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, reaffirms conquering hunger through agriculture in the rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa.
This was stated by the President, IFAD, Gilbert Houngbo, while expressing concern over migration of young people from rural areas to urban centres in Africa, and even travelling on dangerous routes to Europe for greener pastures.
Houngbo who was former Prime Minister of Togo took over from Kanayo Nwaneze as the new elected IFAD boss on February 14, 2017, said food security and nutrition were essential, but it has become imperative for governments in Africa and development partners to look beyond that, and rather make it a business that generates wealth, employment and income for the people living in the rural areas.
According to him, his own personal experiences make him critically aware of the challenges rural families face and how the lack of infrastructure and opportunities can drive young people to leave their homes to seek a better life.
He said: “My understanding of the economic side of food production goes back to when I was in primary school. Food security and nutrition are essential, but we have to go beyond that and really aim at the fight against poverty and look at agriculture as a decent income-generating activity.
“It is totally unacceptable that when I was a youngster of eight years old, I had to walk four kilometres every morning to go and get water for the house, and a few years later I had to walk 20 kilometres every day to get to high school.
“And it is unacceptable that kids today have to go through the same thing 40 to 50 years later. So I cannot rest when I see those situations.”
He stated that made his priority include making sure that IFAD continues to have the resources to invest in rural areas so that they become places of prosperity and hope, where people can build decent lives and not be compelled to migrate.
“My goal is to make sure that, at the end of my term, IFAD’s impact on poverty alleviation through agriculture and nutrition has decisively increased.
“The fact that IFAD is small and agile is strength. We need to maximise how to use that strength so we can really deliver on the ground. We need to make our case to our major resource providers that we can do more, not by saying it, but by doing it”, he added.