A high level event, Nourishing Africa through improved nutrition and sustainable food systems was held on the margins of the 32nd Ordinary Summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at which the African launch of the EAT-Lancet Commission Report on Food, Planet, Health, took place.
The African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD) CEO, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, opened the meeting and declared that, “Most of the stakeholders are convinced that we need to address nutrition challenges in Africa. Therefore, this report highlights one critical area, that of re-orienting agricultural production from just producing food in huge quantities. The quality of the food that is produced needs to improve sustainably.”
He further highlighted that solutions to the challenges faced by the continent include connecting smallholder farmers to markets; capitalising on the potential of informal markets that offer easy access and affordability of food, and; promoting regional integration in order to have better operating regional markets.
Ms Sacko Josefa Leonel Correa, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture commended the EAT Lancet Commission Report for outlining what needs to be done to attain better nutrition. “It is possible to feed the whole world sustainably,” the Commissioner reiterated.
In agreement with the other speakers, Dr Gunhild Stordalen, EAT Executive Chair and Founder stated that, “If we get it right, food is a powerful tool for action and change. With this report at hand, we need to ask ourselves questions on how we can make sure that we actually produce food that we need for better nutrition and sustainability.”
The EAT-Lancet Commission finds that:
Healthy diets include food quality and quantity, meeting daily energetic needs of individuals (±2500 kcal per day) with approximately 50% consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, 30% of energetic needs coming from grains, preferably whole grains, greater proportion of beans and pulses in diet, and more moderate consumption of meat ranging between 0-186 g per day.
Science targets for environmental propose limits on food production to ensure a functioning and resilient Earth System. The Commission provides science targets for greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, water use targets to preserve environmental flows, nitrogen and phosphorus applications targets to limit water pollution while closing yield gaps, land targets to protect biological carbon stocks, and biodiversity targets to halt the loss of biodiversity.
In 2050, we can globally feed a healthy diet to a population of 10 billion, but this will require significant efforts in shifts to healthy diets, reducing food waste and loss by half, and sustainably increasing food production.
Adhering to the report’s findings will address many of the challenges outlined above and can unleash unprecedented progress towards the bold visions of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030.
Source NEPAD agency