Former President of Nigeria, 87 year old Olusegun Obasanjo, and Ex-Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Desalegn Boshe, have amongst other things warned that COVID-19 response should be focused on food security, agribusiness, and rural development.
Following the tumbling in the oil barrel price, and how much it has already affected the smooth operation of OPEC Countries and other oil dependent Countries, it is however obvious that other options have to be explored to keep the country or just half of it afloat during a time like this.
The Ex-African nations’ leaders gave the warning in a publication on the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s website on Thursday.
Foundation for Agriculture has long been laid, and it’s growth had been on a good track until Covid19 emerged. While it’s importance had been made known for the longest time, young Nigerians are taking advantage of it, either participating in it, or investing into it. But what is clear is that the foundation has been laid long before now, and Nigerians have embraced it.
It said, “Africa has so far escaped the worst health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the continent looks like it could be the worst hit from the economic fallout of the crisis: 80 million Africans could be pushed into extreme poverty if action is not taken. And disruptions in food systems raise the prospect of more Africans falling into hunger.
With WHO saying that this pandemic might never go away, it is however scary for some people to continue with their routine, but going to the farm is social distancing and can actually be practiced, unless the means to get there involves mixing up with people.
“Rural people, many of whom work on small-scale farms, are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of the crisis. It is therefore vital that the COVID-19 response addresses food security and target the rural poor.
“Agriculture contributes 65 per cent of Africa’s employment and 75 per cent of its domestic trade. However, the rich potential of agriculture as a tool to promote food security and fight poverty is at risk from the effects of COVID-19.”
It added, “The effect of restrictive measures on food trade is especially worrying, in particular for food-importing countries, but also because of the shrinking export markets for the continent’s farmers.
“African governments have defined stimulus measures to mitigate national and regional economic impacts of COVID-19. As they do, they must remember that investments in agriculture can be up to five times more poverty-reducing than investments in other sectors.
“Small farms everywhere traditionally make a huge contribution to global food security. Around the world, small-farm dominated systems produce 50 per cent of all food calories on 30 per cent of the world’s agricultural land. In sub-Saharan Africa, however, the role of small-scale farms is even more significant: 80 per cent of farms are small in most of these countries.”
Data from the World Health Organisation showed that there are over 72,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases on the African continent.