KIGALI, (Xinhua) --
African economies should take the lead in embracing
crop genetic varieties in a bid to enhance food security and
sustainable agriculture, experts said Wednesday.
They made the call during the African Union regional forum on the
Implementation of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic
Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in Kigali, capital city
The treaty was adopted by the Thirty-First Session of the Conference
of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
on Nov. 3, 2001, whose objectives are the conservation and
sustainable use of all plant genetic resources for food and
agriculture and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits
arising out of their use for sustainable agriculture and food
Rwanda hosted the meeting from Sept. 19 to 20 that paves way for the
upcoming 7th Session of the Governing Body of the ITPGRFA
in Kigali from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3, 2017.
The two-day meeting that attracted agriculture experts from across
Africa and beyond aimed at discussing the contribution of plant
genetic resources towards increasing agricultural productivity and
food sufficiency on the continent where food insecurity is most
“In most countries of the continent, problems related to
malnutrition and low crop yield are the primary food insecurity
concern. Plant genetic resources and resilient seeds have high
chances of boosting yield and making existing crop fields more
productive,” said Kent Nnadozie, secretary for ITPGRFA.
According to ITPGRFA, plant genetic resources are the raw materials
of new crop varieties that are essential to humankind’s fight
Janet Edeme, Acting Director of Department of Rural Economy and
Agriculture of African Union Commission, called on African
governments and institutions to provide conducive environments for
crop genetics to thrive and contribute to poverty and famine
“Investments are needed in agricultural research, crop biodiversity
and development to ensure new crop seeds have a positive impact on
productivity and ultimately improve the livelihood of farmers,” she
Janet Edeme said the forum provides a platform for Africa to
negotiate joint position on biodiversity conservation and use on
seeds under ITPGRFA.
The meeting also dwelt on how agriculture can adapt to a changing
climate so as to build a resilient food production system in Africa,
basing on available crop diversity.
Participants called for the involvement of farmers in activities
such as plant breeding, variety selection and conservation of
improved seed varieties.
Hunger is on the rise in the world as, overall, hungry people
increased to 815 million in 2016 from 777 million in 2015, according
to a FAO’s report. Among 815 million hungry people, 243 million are
in Africa, said the report.
The report said Africa has the highest hunger rate in the world as
hunger affects one-in-four people on the continent on average,
compared to the global rate of one-in-10 people.