The African Union (AU) theme of 2022: “Strengthening nutritional resilience and food security on the African continent: strengthening Agri-food, health and social protection systems for the acceleration of the development of human, social and economic”, took centre stage when members of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), currently on an official visit to the Kingdom of Morocco, met with the Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development, Waters and Forests, Mr. Mohamed Sadiki.
Within the framework of the Parliament’s oversight, advisory and consultative functions, the delegation led by the President of the PAP, HE. Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira, was sensitised on the Moroccan model and the Kingdom’s strategies to guarantee food security and nutritional resilience.
According to Mr. Sadiki, Morocco has been making a concerted effort to reduce its internal regional inequalities and has gone some way towards “territorialising” both sectoral policies and democratic decision-making processes. Interventions aimed to improve the food security and nutrition (FSN) situation in marginalised areas range from human development to rural infrastructure provision and the promotion of endogenous development potential in local areas.
Additionally, a Nutrition Strategy has contributed to the achievement of the aims of the National Human Development Initiative and to food security more generally. The second strategic pillar of the strategy is focused on increasing the country’s supply of safe food by increasing the agricultural capacity of smallholders.
It is also important to note that the meeting took place in the context of a recent report by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which notes that Morocco's produce output, such as wheat, fell over the past few years, indicating that the effects of climate change, such as significantly decreased rainfall, are the main cause. The concerns were exacerbated by the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, which caused wheat prices –along with other essential goods– to rise substantially. A situation in which many African countries find themselves.
Minister Sadiki briefed the PAP delegation on measures taken by the Moroccan government to address the situation. Among other things, he highlighted how the government raised its budget dedicated to subsidies in response to the crisis, in an attempt to protect its citizens’ purchasing power.
In August 2022, the PAP held a workshop on the AU theme for 2022, in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and the FAO. The workshop agreed that African Parliamentarians can play a critical role in advocating and lobbying for enabling laws and policies that promote the agenda of food and nutrition security at the national, regional and continental levels.
The leadership of the Continental Parliament is therefore using its first official visit to emphasise the need to include Parliamentarians in multisectoral approaches to sustainably transform nutrition and food systems to deliver healthier diets.
The PAP delegation has further called on the AU Members States to develop strong, prioritized country strategies to fight hunger and malnutrition in all its forms in the continent.
The President of the PAP is accompanied to the kingdom of Morocco by the 1st Vice President, Hon. Prof. Massouda Mohamed Laghdaf (Mrs.); 2nd Vice President, Hon. Dr Ashebiri Gayo; 3rd Vice President, Hon. Lúcia dos Passos (Mrs) and 4th Vice President, Hon. Francois Ango Ndoutoume. Other members of the delegation include Hon. Terrence Mondon (Seychelles) Chairperson of the Eastern Africa Caucus; Hon. Dr. Sherif El-Gabaly (Egypt), Chairperson of the Committee on Cooperation, International Relations and Conflict Resolution; Hon. Kumbi Lomi Bedo (Ethiopia), Rapporteur of the Committee on Cooperation, International Relations and Conflict Resolution; Hon. McHenry Venaani (Namibia), Deputy Chairperson of the PAP Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration Matters and Chief Advisor to the President of PAP; Hon. Kampamba S. Mulenga (Zambia), Member of the PAP Committee on Rules and Privileges; and Hon. Thandi Z. Motsa (Eswatini), Member of the PAP Committee on Transport.