2010 “Borlaug Dialogue” on Food Security

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From: 13/10/2010
To: 15/10/2010
Location: Des Moines, Iowa, USA

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is participating in the World Food Prize-2010 Borlaug Dialogue taking place from 13-15 October 2010, in Des Moines, Iowa, USA.

“The Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium” is held each year in conjunction with the World Food Prize award. The annual "Davos-style" dialogue brings together international experts and policy leaders to address cutting-edge issues in food and nutritional security.

Through the International Symposium, known informally as the Borlaug Dialogue, the World Food Prize Foundation helps build alliances in the struggle against world hunger and malnutrition.  This year’s event on the theme, “Reaching and Partnering with the World’s Smallholder Farmers”, continued a three-day dialogue that will address thee critical issues: Smallholder farming and rural livelihoods, grassroots and collaborative partnerships toward food security.

At this important Dialogue, the Bank’s Vice President for sector Operations, Mr. Kamal Elkheshen, is presenting the Bank’s interventions in support of smallholder farmers as entrepreneurs and innovators. The recurrent crises since 2008 have clearly demonstrated the fragile nature of the agriculture sector in Africa, in spite of the huge unexploited opportunities, Mr. Elkheshen noted. He also emphasized the need for Donor agencies and development partners to make additional efforts to deliver on their global commitment and especially for Africa to increase financing to the sector especially in the area of infrastructure technical assistance, and research and development.

The event comes at a time when there are renewed fears about a food crisis as a result of the spike in wheat prices. Indeed pockets of severe food shortages in Africa, especially in the Sahel region, which is projected to record a cereal deficit of about 1.6 million tonnes, or US$ 503 million to cover the import bill. Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, has had to buy wheat on the spot market, in response to the Russian ban on wheat exports. Other countries such as Tunisia and Algeria are following suit, ostensibly to avoid a repeat of the ugly scenes recently observed in Mozambique when bread prices were increased.

Given that there are currently 44 low-income food-deficit countries in Africa, and that growth in food output is below population growth, there is need for concerted efforts to increase food production. This underscores the need to translate the US$ 30 billion in aid commitments, in response to the 2007 – 08 food crisis, into real financial flows to Africa.

The AfDB, as the preferred partner for Africa’s development, allocated UA 1.9 billion in response to the 2007 - 08 food crisis.

The Bank is closely involved in activities organized to commemorate this year’s World Food Day on 16 October. The institution fully supports the annual even as a major opportunity to increase public awareness on food and hunger problems on the African continent

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