Lack of investment in agriculture locked West Africa in hunger crisis

Speaking at the launch of the West African Church Leaders’ Summit on Maritime Safety, Security and Development, the Rev. Dr. Tolbert Thomas Jallah, Jr. Secretary – General of the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in West Africa calls on church and political leaders together in the sub – region to take concrete action to eradicate hunger, promote adequate nutrition, and strive towards just and sustainable food systems. The church summit is at the sideline of the First Maritime Safety and Security and Development Extraordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Governments of the African Union taking place in Lomé, Togo, from October 10 – 15, 2016.

He alluded to the fact that many countries in West Africa lack key agricultural infrastructure, such as enough roads, warehouses and irrigation. Which has resulted into are high transport costs, poor storage facilities and water supplies. Rev. Dr. Jallah maintained the situation has limited agricultural yields and the access to food security in the region.

He said for example, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are among the poorest countries in the world, where most of the population rely on the land to make living and to feed themselves. In these countries, poor harvests in staple crops such as millet have led many people, especially children and women chronically undernourished, and eventually die from hunger. This also has significant affected pastoralists and small scale food producers.

He calls on governments and international partners to investment more in improving land management, using water more efficiently and making more resistant seed types available to small scale farmers in the sub – region. This will save the region again from crises, and promote peace and stability.

The Summit for the church leaders from Benin, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Niger and Togo is the start of the observance of the “Annual Churches’ Week of Action on Food and Nutrition Security”; which covers the World Food Day (16 October) as well as the International Day for Disaster Reduction (13 October), International Day of Rural Women (15 October) and The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October.

Read the Keynote Address

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