Macky Sall Cautions Imposition Of Trade Restrictions Amidst Food Security

Amid growing global concern about threats to food security, Senegalese President, and the Chairman of the African Union (AU), Macky Sall has warned against the idea of imposing trade restrictions.

President Sall gave the warning while speaking at the recent Food Security Summit which was held on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Global partners, African leaders who spoke at the summit, pledged to act “with urgency, at scale and in concert” in responding to the current food insecurity and nutrition crisis unfolding around the world.

The event which was attended by representatives from the (AU), European Union (EU), United States, Spain, Colombia, Germany, Indonesia, and Nigeria, also issued a joint declaration affirming their commitment. The leaders also noted that overcoming global food insecurity would require innovative partnerships drawing in a wide range of key stakeholders in the global community.

The AU chair also noted that around 800 million people were currently experiencing hunger, an increase of 150 million since the onset of COVID-19, according to a recent UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report

“When a crisis of this magnitude hits the world, every single country suffers”, Sall said. He added that the situation worsened due to the war in Ukraine, which has triggered a sharp rise in food and fertilizers prices. What is urgent today is to work together to ensure openness and transparency of markets for grains and fertilizer so that all countries can have access to them in accordance with international trade rules”, he further explained.

The Senegalese leader commended the African Development Bank (AfDB) for swiftly launching its $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility to avert a looming food crisis. The Bank’s facility will facilitate the production of 38 million tonnes of food, representing a $12 billion increase in output in just two years.

In his remarks, the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken called on wealthy countries to provide more emergency food assistance for those who needed it.

“We have to strengthen global food systems and help countries develop the capacity to produce their own food so that we can prevent new crises and build resilience to further shocks… We need durable agricultural production. We have to respond to the emergency, but we also have to set ourselves up for the long term”, he stressed.

Similarly, the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz called on governments, the private sector, the research community and civil society to join the Global Alliance for Food Security, an initiative launched by the world’s most developed economies (G7) and the World Bank in May.

Sholz, current chair of the G7, cautioned that climate change was likely to sharpen food insecurity, demanding a response. “It is essential that at COP27 in Egypt in two months, all countries must have the political commitment and momentum for ambitious climate action…we need to see action now”, he said.

In their joint declaration, the leaders highlighted seven actions set out in the Roadmap for Global Food Security. A Call to Action, which emerged from the Food Systems Summit held in 2021. The actions include keeping food, fertilizer, and agricultural markets open and avoiding unjustified restrictive measures, such as export bans on food and fertilizer, which increase market volatility and threaten food security and nutrition globally.

It also seeks to accelerate support for sustainable agriculture and food systems by bolstering productivity, particularly in the most affected countries, to build their resilience and boost domestic production, including supporting an energy transition that is just and equitable to make them more resilient and available to producers of all scale, including smallholder farmers.

Others are, to increase investments in research and technology to develop and implement science-based, climate-resilient agricultural innovations, including seeds, that contribute to building sustainable and resilient agricultural and food systems.

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