By Prossy Nandudu
African countries have been asked to stop conflicts because they affect production resulting into food insecurity on the continent.
The call was made by the commissioner for rural economy and agriculture at the African Union, Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, at a joint meeting of fisheries and agriculture ministers at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.
“These conflicts should stop. Member countries must stop engaging in useless conflicts. These cannot help us achieve the food security agenda of making sure that Africa is able to produce enough food for its people by 2025,” said Tumusiime.
Tumusiime was responding to a question raised by a member in the meeting on whether Africa was in position to produce enough food for itself despite the fact that some countries are engaged in war at a time when the rest of the continent is experiencing good rains for crop production.
“In Somalia for example, a force has been set up to try and reduce conflict. We have a zero tolerance on conflict. The onus is on the leadership in individual countries to ensure that conflict is reduced. Since the rest of the continent is peaceful, we want to see them maximize their potential and produce more food that can feed their people and members countries when conflicts come to an end,” added Tumusiime.
Countries that have consistently provided food to troubled member countries include Uganda that has been sending food to S.Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo among others.
The joint ministerial conference under the theme “Transforming Africa’s Agriculture for shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods through Harnessing Opportunities for Inclusive, Growth and Sustainable Development” was aimed at discussing and examining the progress of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) implementation.
On her part, fisheries state minister, Ruth Nankabirwa, explained that the Ugandan government is promoting aquaculture as one of the ways of increasing fish production across the country.
According to Nankabirwa, once illegal fishing methods that deplete water bodies are eliminated, young fish will be protected enhancing reproduction, hence promoting the AU agenda of ending hunger and improving on the nutrition of the masses.
The minister said Uganda loses close to sh800m in illegal and bad fishing practices. She said her ministry has come up with ways to eliminate the bad practices.
“We have come up with two action plans, one promoting aquaculture and the other is issuing of vessel identification numbers plates to authorized vessel to fish. This will lock out the small vessels that fish indiscriminately,” said Nankabirwa.