The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has called for renewed commitment to eliminate undernutrition and hunger in Africa.

 FAO’s 2017 report on the  State of Food Security and Nutrition in the world indicated that civil conflicts and adverse climate trends had led to an increase in the number of hungry people.

Hunger-fighting initiatives in Africa need to be deepened and broadened to put the continent back on track to eliminating the scourge of undernutrition, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva told heads of state and government gathered in Addis-Ababa for the African Union (AU) summit, a statement from FAO media room said.

“Achieving zero hunger in our lifetime is still possible,” Graziano said. “(It) will require a redoubling of current efforts and a push for political commitment and timely concrete actions such as never seen before.”

The FAO DG spoke at a high-level event in Addis Ababa to review and renew the 2013 partnership forged between the AU, FAO and the Istituto Lula – to end hunger and malnutrition.

That reversal of decades of steady progress in hunger reduction was “extremely worrisome”, Graziano da Silva said, but Brazil’s decade of concerted action to lift millions of people out of poverty and hunger was proof that with conviction progress can be made quickly.

“We are facing a new promising scenario that renews our optimism,” he said, noting UN Secretary -General Antonio Guterres’ robust insistence on fostering peace, the first disbursements of the new Green Climate Fund set up to help countries most affected by climate change, and signs of an improving global economy.

“The majority of undernourished people in Africa live in countries affected by conflict. Hunger is almost twice as high in conflict-affected countries with a protracted crisis.  Stronger commitment by governments, the African Union and the United Nations is needed to promote peace, human rights and sustainable development,” Guterres said.

 At the end of the meeting, attendees agreed on a joint communiqué that includes an 11-point action plan for AU Member States to renew their commitment to ending hunger in Africa by 2025. It includes investing in sustainable agriculture and social protection programmes.

Investment in agriculture development is “the single most effective way to provide opportunities for families to generate income and improve nutrition in Africa,” Graziano da Silva said.