African Union leaders designated 2022 as the year of nutrition, and First Ladies attending the ongoing 12th Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Kigali have committed to advocate for improved feeding on the continent to ensure better welfare of the people. While speaking a special event of First Ladies themed; “Increasing Access to Healthy Diets in the AU Year of Nutrition”, First Lady Jeannette Kagame said that good nutrition is the cornerstone of health, peace, holistic wellness and prosperity. “This stage is the ideal setting to discuss an issue so pivotal to Africa's accelerated economic growth, to the development of our continent, and, I dare hope, the future of Africa's green revolution. It presents a prime opportunity to effect ground-breaking and lasting change,” she said. She however added that although the facts are alarming, they not damning since there are solutions to be considered. According to her, budget reallocation, strategic policy adjustments, and determined advocacy could put the continent on the right track to meeting the global goal to end hunger by 2030. The First Ladies also discussed increasing access to healthy diets in Africa, and advocacy for nutritious feeding whilst protecting our environment. “Good nutrition is the cornerstone of health, peace, holistic wellness and prosperity. It is well known that people with healthy eating habits and patterns avert obesity and Non-Communicable Diseases, notably heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers. Therefore, to champion for good nutrition across the world, is a necessary feature of any responsible leadership,” Mrs Kagame said. The Global Report on Food Crises released in May this year pointed out that the alarmingly high incidence of acute food insecurity and malnutrition, which starkly exposes fragility of global and local food systems that are under mounting strain from the increased frequency and severity of weather extremes, the Covid-19 pandemic, increasing conflict and insecurity, and rising global food prices. The First Lady said: “We are told that a projected 660 million people may still face hunger by 2030, half of whom will be on our continent! This reiterates why peace and security are non-negotiable. One of the main drivers of food insecurity in Africa, is conflict. Conflict creates internally displaced person who are no longer able to till their lands and maximise production.” Former First Lady of Ethiopia, Roman Tesfaye, equally called for actions and advocacy to address nutrition saying that, “If we are to bring down the mortality rate of children in Africa, we have to work on nutrition issues with a sense of urgency.” She noted that women are concerned about nutrition more than anybody else. “We are happy that it is now a concern for all in world, including men and women. If we are dedicated to bring down the mortality rate of children in Africa, we have to work on nutrition,” Tesfaye added. She gave an example of her country saying that in Ethiopia, children who participated in school feeding programmes reported improved academic performance, gained weight and had reduced incidence of dropping out and absenteeism. The African Union Commission’s Commissioner for Rural Economy and Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko also made reference to the numbers from the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022 saying that Africa is backsliding and bearing the heaviest burden with 278 million people hungry in 2021. “That represents 22 per cent of our population on the continent. We are not happy to see these statistics because it is our fear that we can’t feed our people. Whenever statistics of food security are out, we are always the last yet we have nearly 60% of the world’s uncultivated agricultural land and all the required ecosystem to feed our people. If we don’t act now, the numbers of Africans with no access to food will continuously increase, “she said. For the actions to happen, she said that First Ladies are already concerned and want to see action happening in addressing hunger. Ghana's First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo who delivered her address virtually also said that food insecurity rates in Africa remain unacceptably high and that about 60 per cent of Africans are affected with moderate or severe food insecurity. Other participants at the summit included Auxillia Mnangagwa from Zimbabwe.