by Christine Lagat
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The UN food agency on
has called on countries in the Horn of Africa region to embark on
radical overhaul of agricultural policies coupled with targeted
investments in climate resilience in order to contain endemic food
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Representative in Kenya Gabriel Rugalema said that robust policy
frameworks, increased funding and technology adoption were required
to enhance food production in the Horn of African region amid harsh
"The Horn of African region is facing the worst food crisis in
recent history but the situation can be reversed if countries
explore new policies, technologies and innovations to enhance
resilience of farming and pastoralism," said Rugalema.
He spoke in Nairobi during a forum on ending hunger in the Horn
of Africa that was attended by representatives from governments,
multilateral agencies and academia.
The UN Office on Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in
its latest update said an estimated 26 million people are food
insecure in the greater Horn of African region.
Rugalema noted that climatic shocks, outdated agricultural
policies and under-investments in resilience projects have
undermined efforts to feed a growing population in the region.
"Impacts of drought are still being felt in a huge swathe of the
Horn of African region.
The twin challenge of urbanization and rapid population growth
have also adversely impacted on food and nutrition security,"
He added that technology-driven agriculture accompanied by
streamlining of key value chains like storage, distribution and
marketing is key to end the hunger crisis in the region.
"We must invest more resources and expertise in soil health,
proper crop husbandry, storage and market access as we chart a new
roadmap to eradicate hunger and malnutrition in this region," said
Patrick Kormawa, the FAO Sub Regional Coordinator, said that
enhancing productivity in the agricultural sector in the region
hinges on reformed policies, investments in irrigation, research and
"Governments and the business sector should also invest in the
infrastructure to promote value addition and marketing of farm
produce," Kormawa remarked.
He added that political goodwill is key to hasten implementation
of a continental pact signed by African Leaders in June 2014 to end
hunger and malnutrition by 2025.