Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has warned about growing food insecurity in Africa and urged the leaders and stakeholders to demonstrate strong commitment to deal with the problem.
He noted that Africa remained the only continent where food security continued to be a challenge despite the advancement in agricultural production technology.
“We have the land, labour and available techniques. Why can’t we produce what we eat?” he questioned.
Africa annually spends US$35 billion on food imports.
Addressing scientists at the Crops Research Institute (CRI) at Fumesua in the Ejisu-Juaben Municipality, Mr Annan emphasized that the agricultural sector needed to be radically transformed to maximize crop yield, export and farmers’ income.
Mr Annan, accompanied by his wife, Nane, was there to lead discussions on how to promote sweet potato for health and wealth in Ghana and West Africa.
The programme had been organised by the CRI and the International Potato Centre (CIP) to share experiences and expertise for continuous production of high-yielding, disease-resistant and nutritious varieties of sweet potato, adapted to local agro-climatic conditions and consumer preferences.
Mr Annan said the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), of which he is a key member, is determined to build the capacity of small-holder farmers, agricultural scientists and other stakeholders to increase food production.
“We are investing in various training programmes and systems along the food production value chain to revolutionize the agricultural sector, in order for the continent to become part of the global food security systems.”
Dr Stella Ennin, Director of the Institute, noted that the discussions would look at the challenges and opportunities in sweet potato production. She called for increased budgetary allocation to CRI to improve its research activities, to enable it to develop improved crop varieties to feed the people.