UNGA President canvasses inclusive agric policies to end hunger

74th UNGA presidency: Mohammed-Bande spells out his vision
Tijani Muhammad Bande
Access Bank Plc

President of the United Nations General Assembly, Amb. Tijani Muhammad-Bande, on Wednesday called for inclusive agricultural policies to boost the fight against poverty and hunger.

He made the call during an interactive dialogue on “Targeting Hunger: South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Transforming Agriculture’’ at the UN Head headquarters in New York.

Muhammad-Bande, who is Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, said for agricultural policies to succeed, they must address the “historical and structural inequalities’’ undermining efforts to end hunger.

“Agricultural policies are development policies and they focus on mitigating hunger sustainably, creating jobs, generating incomes, and contributing to poverty eradication.

“These policies must pay due consideration to smallholder and family farmers, who produce almost 70 per cent of the world’s food.

“These 500 million food producers are often trapped in poverty, and even vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition,’’ he said.

The PGA, whose priorities include zero hunger and poverty eradication, said efforts must also be intensified to link smallholder farmers with buyers, technology suppliers and financial institutions.

According to him, progress on eradication of hunger or poverty is impossible if smallholders are left behind.

“It is our collective duty to ensure that everyone everywhere has access to adequate nutritious food. Food must be both accessible and affordable for all.

“This is particularly important for the 48 million children around the world, who are presently affected by stunting and wasting,’’ he said.

Muhammad-Bande also urged countries to focus on what he called the “female face of farming.”

He said women constituted almost half of the agricultural labour force in developing countries, but they get “only a fraction of the land, credit, agricultural training, information and inputs’’.

“Indeed, only 10 per cent of total aid for agriculture, forestry and fishing is directed towards women in agriculture.

“We must redouble our efforts and create policies and conditions that will not only alleviate the suffering of 820 million people who experience hunger today, but eliminate hunger in our world beyond 2030.

“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognises that Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1: No Poverty, and SDG 2: Zero Hunger, must be addressed in unison,’’ he said.