Blue Economy viewed as critical component for Africa’s food and security and central in the development of Africa’s Maritime Capacity
As part of the debate on the theme of ‘Agriculture and Food Security’ the Seychelles delegation to the African Union Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, emphasised the need to view the ‘Blue Economy’ concept as an enabler in achieving food security.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Paul Adam, highlighted the challenges of agriculture and food security in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and expressed appreciation for the support being given to SIDS agriculture by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The Chief Executive Officer of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), H.E. Mr Ibrahim Mayak, with the participation of H.E. Dr. Carlos Lopes, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, H.E. Dr. Graziano da Silva, Director General of FAO and H.E. Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.
“SIDS are the most exposed to the risks of climate change, whilst the relative lack of land and isolation from markets are challenges to the economic chain of agriculture. But in this year of Small Island Developing States, we believe that it is not only possible, but essential to find innovative approaches to strengthen agriculture and food security in our island nations- particularly through improving efficiencies and raising quality” the Minister remarked.
The Minister especially underlined the fact that Africa must also look at its oceans and seas in strengthening food security:
“We cannot allow Africa’s seas to be forgotten spaces. They are feeding millions of Africans, and have the potential to contribute much more if managed sustainably. This is what a blue economy approach entails- managing our oceans for shared prosperity”.
The Minister also emphasised the problem of maritime connectivity, as effective agriculture, fisheries and food security also depends on an effective trading network.
“We need to strengthen our maritime infrastructure both in terms of fisheries management and production and in terms of trade. Islands can export fish, but are also seeking quality imports from closer to home to be able to feed our tourism industry- but the availability of reliable sea-routes is still inadequate” stated the Minister.
The Minister highlighted that the question of food security must also be looked at in the context of Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy, and the need to create the right framework for trade and preservation of value chains across Africa’s borders.
The challenge of energy in relation to food security was also put forward by the Minister echoed by other island members, and the need to adopt practical ways in which renewable energy projects could be married with agriculture, fisheries and food security projects.