African Parliament moots model law on food security

The Pan African Parliament Committee on Agriculture has been granted leave to commence continent-wide consultations on the draft model law on food security and nutrition.

The model law is intended to act as a source of inspiration for countries that aim to develop national or sub-national legislation on the right to adequate food and food security and nutrition.

When adopted, the law shall govern issues related to food security and nutrition including the availability, accessibility, stability and utilisation of food and the realisation of the right to adequate food.

The model law addresses various issues surrounding food security and nutrition including food reserves, school food and nutrition, food fortification and diversification and food safety, market and trade.

Members debating the motion said food security was important in Africa, a continent where, despite the vast arable land, lots of people especially children go hungry. Members said investing in agriculture would lead to development of the continent as the majority of people especially women are engaged in it.

Hon. Yeremia Chihana (Malawi) however noted that food security and investing in agriculture would only succeed if the main challenge of foreign land ownership is addressed in various countries.

“We need to address the challenges of land being owned by foreigners and over dependence on foreigners for all farm inputs,” he said.

Hon. Evangelina Filomena Oyo (Equatorial Guinea) said there was need to have food security in order to address the issues of poverty and hunger on the continent. She however warned African governments to watch out for genetically modified foods getting into their countries, as some of them are to blame for some of the diseases affecting people.

Hon. Jacquiline Amongin (Uganda), who serves on the committee, observed that although Africa can feed the world, most of its people sleep hungry and live on less than $1 a day.

“The model law is in line with addressing Africa’s Agenda 2063, which prioritises agriculture; and the Malabo Declaration which is aligned with the comprehensive agricultural development plan,” she said.

Agenda 2063 is a grand strategy intended to transform and develop ‘Africa into a powerhouse for the future’. The Malabo Declaration on accelerated agricultural growth and transformation for shared prosperity and improved livelihoods was adopted by African Union Heads of State and Government in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in 2014 in which Heads of State made various commitments including ending hunger and halving post harvest losses by the year 2025.