African countries urged to review food security strategies

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Ghana and its neighbouring countries on the African continent have been urged to review their agriculture and food security strategies to reduce the dependency on other countries around the world.

The Global Monitoring for Environment and Security and Africa (GMES & Africa) said this had become necessary after the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict exposed some significant gaps in the continent’s agriculture and food security strategies.

Dr Tidiane Ouattara, the Coordinator of GMES said that: “The Ukraine crisis showed Africa that food security is an issue because we depend on Ukraine for several things and on Europe also for several things. It means that Africa now has to rethink its agriculture and food security strategy.”

He noted that data acquisition and processing had become more than critical because it was a pillar for decision makers to develop good policies, and had appropriate interventions, which was being provided by space science and technology.

Dr Ouattara said this at workshop in Accra on best practices in data acquisition and data processing as an enabler for addressing daily needs of scientists and citizens as well as national development issues.

“We have to talk together to share best practices and to look at how to complement each other. Together we are stronger and Africa should speak one language,” he said.

Dr Kwame Agyekum, Marine Remote Sensing Scientist, added that data was important for Africa in utilising its resources for the benefit of the citizenry, and national development.

He said that: “You realise that Africa is endowed with a lot of resources. We have vast oceans and very fertile lands. We have realised that we need to manage these resources, but we need to collect information about these resources first.”

That, Dr Agyekum said, was being done through partnership between the African Union (AU) and European Union, adding that the meeting was to enable stakeholders strategise and “take advantage of data to make good use of our resources.”

The maiden Continental Service Workshop on Coastal and Marine Services of GMES & Africa was convened by the African Union Commission and attended by leading implementers and partners.

They include University of Ghana (UG), Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Regional Economic Communities and European Technical Institutions.

The GMES & Africa phase II is a continuity of phase I of the programme that is looking at building on the achievements of the first phase.

Representatives of the five Regional Economic Communities in Africa, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA, GMES & Africa Project Management Unit and African Union Commission Departments were at the meeting.

Others were European Partners, including European Commission’s Directorate for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship & SMEs (DG-GROW), European Space Agency, European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, and the Joint Research Centre.

By Francis Ntow, GNA

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