FAO Conference Discusses Policy Framework for Integrating Africa’s Agricultural Production Targets with the SDGs




8 April 2016: A report, titled ‘Boosting Africa's Soils: From the Abuja Declaration on Fertilizers to a Sustainable Soil Management Framework for Food and Nutrition Security in Africa by 2030,' explores how various regional plans for enhancing agricultural productivity can take “better consideration of the approaches and needs of African farmers under the umbrella of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”


Published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the Global Soil Partnership (GSP), the policy document was discussed at a high-level session on the sidelines of the 29th FAO Regional Conference for Africa (ARC29), which took place from 4-8 April, in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.


Convened under the overall theme of ‘Transforming African Agri-food systems for Inclusive Growth and a Shared Prosperity,' ARC29 comprised a Senior Technical Officers Meeting from 4-6 April, and a Ministerial Roundtable on 7-8 April, that focused on, among other sub-themes: the impacts of global food and agriculture trends on national and regional actions in the context of the SDGs; public-private partnerships for inclusive growth; national and regional capacities to effectively implement commitments and increase investments; and South-South Cooperation among African countries. In his opening remarks, Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, emphasized that the eradication of hunger remains at the heart of FAO support, highlighting ongoing initiatives such as the design and implementation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Zero Hunger Initiative and the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) Regional and National Agriculture Investment Plans to address food security and nutrition.


The FAO policy document notes that “Africa as a whole remains largely food insecure,” despite progress made on the policy and investment front since the 2006 ‘Abuja Declaration on Fertilizers for an African Green Revolution,' which sought to address low agricultural productivity on the continent by increasing fertilizer use from 8.0 kg/ha to 50 kg/ha by 2015. The document cites recent estimates by the FAO's 'Status of the World's Soil Resources' report, which found that 40% of African soils were subject to moderate to severe degradation as a result of soil erosion, soil nutrient depletion, soil organic matter decline as well as soil biodiversity loss.


The document emphasizes that sustainable soil and land management in Africa is a prerequisite for achieving targets in at least four SDGs: 2.4 (ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production); 15:3 (combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world); 3.9 (substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination); and 12.4 (achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle).


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