Food Systems Summit dialogues to be held across the country
The Ministry of Agriculture will host dialogues for farmers across the country to gather inputs for a United Nations global Food Systems Summit to be held in September 2021.
Minister of Agriculture, Jabulani Mabuza announced at a workshop on food security strategies at household level held at the Happy Valley Hotel, Ezulwini, on the 24th May 2021, that the Summit seeks to address issues on food systems and will identify areas of intervention that can ensure that everyone has access to food. “I would like to urge all of you to prepare and make contributions to the summit when presented with the opportunity to do so,” said at the workshop attended by senior officials in the Ministry and chief executive officers from agriculture parastatals.
World Food Programme (WFP) supported the two-day non-residential workshop.
The Minister highlighted that the Ministry and stakeholders in the sector are implementing a number of programmes and initiatives in an effort to combat food insecurity. “Some few years back we launched an input subsidy programme in an effort to increase grain production,” he said. “We still have not achieved our desired goal. We also launched a backyard garden programme to ensure availability of vegetables for family consumption. This did not yield the desired results.”
The Minister revealed that the Ministry has now come up with a programme that seeks to promote other agricultural enterprises that can be established at household level. These include rearing of small livestock such as rabbits, indigenous chickens and others to meet the protein requirements for the family and ensure a healthy balanced diet. The programme is called the “Asidle Kwetfu” (Let’s eat our own food).
Mabuza noted that the country has adequate land and water resources that can be put into good use to attain Food Security. He, however, acknowledged that some parts are drier and require targeted water harvesting and irrigation development interventions for sustainable production. “It is my belief that we can improve the country’s food security situation using knowledge obtained through the training by the extension service personnel from the different cooperating partners,” he said.
Speaking in the same occasion, WFP Head of Office, Cissy Byenkya called upon development partners to align themselves with the needs and strategies defined by the Government. She noted that currently there was a lot of duplication of effort. “We have a big challenge with coordination,” she said. “We are duplicating.”
She also urged all partners to be accountable to the promises they make. “Let’s not make empty promises,” she said.
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