UN Agriculture Organization Calls For Halt to Inequality and Injustice


Monrovia – United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said that the lack of political will is undermining the fight against hunger, and has called for political leaders to end inequality and injustice if the fight will be won.

Report by Willie N. Tokpa – [email protected]

FAO’s Country Representative Marc Abdala on Monday said it was important that the international community urgently addressed problems of inequality and injustice in the wake of political threats to hunger fight.

Abdala emphasized the need for various countries across the World to in place policies that guaranteed equal rights for their access and use of the natural resources including land rights which in most instances is a pivotal burden.

Speaking with FrontPage Africa at the celebration of World Food Day in Monrovia, he revealed that commitment to improve agriculture related production and productivity aimed at addressing agriculture, food security and nutrition was a major priority at many international meetings, naming the 2003 Maputo Agreement and the 2014 Malabo Conference in Africa.

“International efforts toward climate change action and support need to be action-oriented and geared towards effective implementation of the commitments made by countries such as the COP21/Paris Agreement in last December,” Abdala said.

The FAO Country Representative has called on countries concerned with agriculture growth to nurture and promote the spirit of mobilization, which prevailed in the various international meetings and effectively ensure increase climate funding, developing expertise and ensuring the transfer of technology to countries, most specifically those at risk.

This, according to him, will contribute to building countries local capacity to adaptation and mitigation to climate change manifestations and potential shocks.

Solidarity to Mitigating Climate Change

Impact of climate change has been linked to the planet’s field, fisheries and forests to migration of people from rural areas of developing countries, with the most recent data from FAO showcasing that the numbers of climate refugees growth swelling the ranks of excluded and forgotten, who are being marginalized from human family.

This data, according to Abdala, extends to Liberia with numbers of families being homeless and impoverished due to some natural disasters such as flood and disease outbreak.

Recently at the celebration of World Food Day in Rome, Pope Francis expressed concern that a growing number of actors in agriculture believed they are omnipotent or are able to ignore the cycle of these seasons and to improperly modify the various animal and plant species, leading to the loss of variety that exists in nature and must have its role.

However, FAO Country Representative said nothing threatened more than climate change but believed that building a stronger solidarity, stronger actions, better partnership and innovation including insurance schemes will protect families and take risk out of humanitarian response programs.

“We must change the way we approached food and agriculture. Part of that change is ensuring rural smallholder producers are more resilient than ever before to the impacts of a changing climate,” he quoted an official of the International Fund for Agriculture Development.

Furthermore, Abdala wants a nutrition-sensitive agriculture be developed through the integration of nutrition into agriculture policies and programs, disclosing that there is an increasing recognition of the role of agriculture to improve nutrition, which is reflected in existing commitments at global, regional and sub-regional levels, naming the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and Framework for Actions, United Nations Decade on Nutrition, African Union 2014 Malabo Declaration and ECOWAS Zero Hunger Initiative among others.

According to him, the responsibility lies in the hands of everyone to develop more sustainable and equitable food system, end hunger, promote healthy diets reduce waste and conserve biodiversity while adapting to climate change and mitigating its effects.

Abdala reminded ECOWAS member-countries of their commitment toward the empowerment of rural women in terms of securing their access to, and control over land finance, technologies, services and markets.

“Despite these commitments, the sad truth is that rural women still lag behind in accessing key productive resources essential for food security and nutrition for their economic empowerment.

The celebration of the International Day for Rural Women provides the opportunity to celebrate rural women’s important roles in food production and processing, food security and nutrition as well as reduction of rural poverty,” The FAO Liberia Boss intoned.

In the wake of called for ECOWAS member countries to exert efforts in expanding rural women’s opportunities in agriculture value chains within the framework of public-private partnerships and other private sector investment, Abdala said ECOWAS Commission and FAO were jointly implementing a technical cooperation project with the goal of ensuring that agriculture transformation and inclusive agriculture growth fully benefits and empowers women and youth farmers in West Africa.

He pledged the commitment of FAO in collaboration with the Liberian Government, towards supporting rural women in Liberia through technical and economic capacities growth in order to enhance their productivity and improve their competitiveness.  

Abdala termed rural women as important elements to agriculture transformation and sustainable development agenda particularly in Liberia.

Collaborating for Rural Development

FAO Country Representative, Abdala maintained that its constant support to government and partners was important in addressing the main challenges for incorporating social protection into national strategies and action to fight hunger that promotes greater policy coherence and synergies between social protection, food and nutrition security, agriculture development, natural resource management and rural poverty reduction.

He said “FAO is focused on incorporating social protection into national strategies and actions to fight hunger and malnutrition, maximizing synergies between social protection and agriculture policies and articulating a coordinated strategy for rural development and poverty reduction as well as incorporating social protection into strategies and investment plans to increase resilience and adaptation.”

Abdala is curtained that collaboration for rural development involves strengthening human and institutional capacities to manage policy processes in coherent manner that provides policy advice and support to design and implement programs.

In achieving these goals, FAO said it had strengthened its commitment by placing social protection at the center of its renewed strategic framework and establishing an inter-divisional team which will work in partnership with all relevant stakeholders at international, regional and country levels.

This, according to him, is the only way of ensuring the wellbeing of ecosystem and rural populations as well as the reduction of emissions for growing food in a sustainable way.

Meanwhile, Andala has reassured FAO continuous presence alongside the Liberian government and the population of Liberia and partners in observing World Food Day to raise awareness about global hunger, malnutrition and ensure food security and nutritious diets for all.