June 20, 2023 (ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and with financial support from the World Bank, organised a two-day high-level ministerial meeting to validate the IGAD Regional Food Safety Strategy.
The meeting was inaugurated by H.E. Mohamed Ahmed Awaleh, Minister of Agriculture, Water, Fisheries, Livestock, and Hydraulic Resources from the Republic of Djibouti, H.E. Dr. Girma Amante, Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources from the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and Mr. Daher Elmi, Director of Agriculture and Environment Division at IGAD, representing the IGAD Executive Secretary.
In his welcome remarks, H.E. Mohamed Ahmed Awaleh underscored the importance of harmonising food safety and post-harvest loss management standards, practices, and procedures across member states. By achieving this, the region can foster seamless regional trade and bolster food security for its people.
“Together, we can construct efficient, resilient, and sustainable food systems, ensuring the prosperity of our nations and the well-being of our citizens,” he affirmed.
In his opening speech, H.E. Dr. Girma Amante shared a concerning statistic, revealing that half of the nutritionally dense foods produced in sub-Saharan African countries are lost along the value chain, from production to consumption. Thus, prioritising effective post-harvest management emerges as a strategic imperative to increase food availability and ensure broader access for the regional population.
Mr. Daher Elmi shed light on the Food Safety Strategy’s ambitious goals, aiming to address persisting challenges related to food insecurity, vulnerability reductionresilience enhancement, and socio-economic development within the region.
“IGAD remains dedicated to the implementation of these strategies, working in close collaboration with member states and development partners, as we strive towards achieving sustainable development goals and the AU Agenda 2063,” he stated.
The ministerial meeting was preceded by a technical experts meeting that brought together representatives from member state ministries and government agencies in charge of Agriculture and Food Safety.
The overarching objective of the IGAD Regional Food Safety Strategy is to strengthen national and regional food safety systems within the IGAD region, ensuring the utmost safety of food and promoting fair practices in food trade.
The IGAD Regional Food Safety Strategy (2023-2027) stands as a testament to the collaborative efforts between IGAD and FAO. This pioneering strategy underwent rigorous validation in March 2021 by food safety experts and stakeholders from IGAD member states.