Panafrican News Agency

Kenya: FAO chief highlights role of agriculture in preventing conflicts

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Food security and agriculture have an essential role to play in preventing conflicts and crises on the African continent, blunting their impacts and acting as engines for post-crisis recovery.

This was the central message of FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva to African leaders and international development actors gathered at Nairobi's Kenyatta International Convention Centre Nairobi on Saturday for one of the foremost summits on African development, Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI).

"Ending hunger and malnutrition, addressing humanitarian and protracted crises, preventing and resolving conflicts, and building peace are not separate tasks, but simply different facets of the same challenge," Graziano da Silva said.

He made the remarks at a side-event on ‘Peace and Food Security', hosted by FAO, at TICAD VI, which runs from 26-28 August.

Graziano da Silva was among the high level delegates who attended in the opening ceremony of TICAD VI launched by the President of the Republic of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta and Japanese Prime Minister, Minister Shinzo Abe.

The conference, which brings together policy makers, UN agencies and financial institutions, among others, aims to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and their partners and mobilize support for African-owned development initiatives.

The link between conflict prevention and development is of particular importance in the region, which is host to nearly 60 per cent of active UN Peacekeeping Missions.

And whilst armed conflicts across Africa as a whole have decreased in recent years, this trend has been uneven across the continent.

"Much of FAO's work aims at promoting sustainable development and building the resilience of rural populations," Graziano da Silva said, giving concrete examples of countries where agricultural support helped secure the transition from wars to sustainable peace, including Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"By supporting agriculture and rural development, we help create jobs, provide income and boost youth employment. This can help prevent distress migration and radicalization, as well as mitigate disputes over depleted resources," he said.
-0- PANA DJ/MA 27Aug2016