A study by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has revealed that 20 million people from East African are affected by food insecurity.
This calls for the alignment of the region’s policies and strategies as well as formulation of common positions and voice on the matter.
Antonio Pedro, the Director of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) revealed the figures at the 14th Intergovernmental Committee of Experts Meeting in Kigali, and called for collective discussions, continued exchange of experiences and best practices.
The four day meeting, under the theme: “Enhancing Food Security in the Eastern African Sub-Region” kicked off yesterday and will continue to March 18, 2010.
In his speech, Pedro suggested that they discuss agribusiness development in the sub-region.
He said, more attention should be directed towards the development of regional value chains to bridge the gap between food production and food security.
“To close the cycle, these discussions would not be complete if we don’t address the issues of subsidies, market access and tariff and non-tariff barriers beyond our region,” he said. Pedro called upon participants to explore the potential offered by regional integration, in particular the possibilities of increasing the levels of coordination in programme delivery, rationalization and harmonization of activities and building synergies to maximize impact and avoid duplication of efforts.
The meeting is aimed at harmonizing on-going food security initiatives in the sub-region as well as catalyzing efforts from stakeholders to implement the initiatives at all levels.
Stakeholders will also asses the economic and social conditions in the sub-region and forge partnership to spearhead regional cooperation and integration.
According to the UNECA Sub-Regional Office, East Africa (SRO-EA) the EAC is the sub- region that is most affected by food insecurity.