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Urgent intervention needed to address food prices

by Edwin Tshivhidzo
on 20 May 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

High food prices and conflicts need to be addressed as a matter of urgency, according to the African Union New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD) workshop currently underway in Pretoria.

Delegates at the workshop called on governments to speed up intervenes regarding high food prices and ending the conflicts emerging in the African region.

More than 17 African countries participated at the workshop held to discuss the suitable plans for the intervention on what is steadily becoming a crisis.

In an exclusive interview with BuaNews, Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) in South Africa, Ms Sheila Sisulu said the rapid rise in food prices was a call for concern.

"Governments must intervene to make sure that the innocent vulnerable people are not starved.

"Policies must be relooked infavour of the vulnerable and to ensure more production in the area of agriculture," Ms Sisulu said

He expressed concern on the recent conflicts which left many people displaced throughout the African continent saying these are some of the issues that governments must address as a matter of urgency.

"They must work towards ensuring that people are protected from high food prices and unnecessary conflicts," she said.

Among other things, the workshop seeks to mobilise all member states to prioritise security and the availability of food supply, especially to the vulnerable groups which are women and children, refugees in the different countries and the poor.

Although it is believed that food prices are influenced by production costs such as fuel, delegates at the workshop believe that this could be addressed.

AU Director for Agriculture Ahmadu Babagana told BuaNews that concrete actions were needed to address the escalating food prices.

"Plans of actions are urgently needed to generate more investments especially in the areas of agriculture," he said.

"The situation is quite serious and that all countries must prioritise easy access of food," he said.
NEPAD is designed to address the current challenges facing the African continent.

It was launched in 2001 with eight main sectors to reduce the development gap between Africa and the rest of the world.

And these include issues such as the escalating poverty levels, underdevelopment and the continued marginalisation of Africa needed a new radical intervention, spearheaded by African leaders, to develop a new vision that would guarantee Africa's Renewal.

These also include ensuring good governance as a basic requirement for peace, security and sustainable political and socio-economic development.

Nepad Head of Agriculture Professor Richard Mkandawire added his voice saying there is a need for the protection and support of the vulnerable groups from high food prices.
"This must be addressed before it becomes a major global crisis," he said, adding thorough researches must be conducted to find best possible solutions to the current situation.

Last month Nepad member states meet in Dakar to discuss global challenges facing the continent such as poverty and underdevelopment.

President Thabo Mbeki attended the summit, which also focus on democracy and sustainable economic growth on the continent. - BuaNews

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