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CABI tackles invasive species in Africa

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Invasive species threaten both natural biological riches of the earth and the wellbeing of people

The spread of invasive species is now recognised as one of the greatest threats to the wellbeing of the continent and the delivery of Sustainable Development Goals.

Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Patrick Ralotsia said this Wednesday at Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI)’s African Regional Consultation and Invasive Policy summit held under the theme; ‘Working in Partnership for a sustainable future. The summit ends tomorrow (Thursday) at Cresta Lodge.

Different African members of CABI met to discuss issues related to improving Agriculture in Africa. Ralotsia said the issue of invasive species is creating complex and far-reaching challenges that threaten both natural biological riches of the earth and the wellbeing of the people. “Direct and indirect health effects are seriously increasing and the damage to native biodiversity is often irreversible,” he said. The effects may also be exacerbated by climate change.

“It is expected that CABI will do the good work of assisting member states to formulate policies and research initiatives that are meant to minimise losses to Agricultural production thereby realising and attaining food security,” said Ralotsia.

He said by 2050, Agriculture will need to produce almost 50 percent more food, feed and biofuel than it did in 2012 just to meet demand. Head of Division, Agriculture and Food Security Division at African Union Commission (AUC), Dr Simplice Nouala Fonkou, also said that the rapid growth of African population will suddenly lead to food demand in the future therefore a lot has to be done.

“Africa is facing a rapidly growing population. It is projected that Africa’s present population of about 1.3 billion will increase to about 2.5 billion by 2050. This development will in turn lead to a rapid escalation of food demand,” said Dr Fonkou.

He said that Africa would then have to increase its food production by 70 percent by 2050 to be able to feed its population. “Because invasive species are transboundary in nature, there is need to strengthen partnership and regional coordination and collaboration in order for the effective management and control of invasive species,” said Dr Fonkou.

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Women challenged to step-up food production

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National Development Bank CEO, Lorato Morapedi has challenged women to take up more agribusiness ventures to cut down on the country’s food import bill.
With an annual P7 billion food import bill hanging over the country, Morapedi said women can significantly trim it down. “We need to get out of our comfort zones, let’s open our eyes and seize the opportunities,” said Morapedi, adding that women need to work in groups.
She emphasized that women should leverage on collective expertise found in clusters to grow the country’s food production sector.
“Grab the opportunities that exist with the food value chain,” she said, citing that women have been hard-hit by COVID-19 in their endeavors to put food on the table.
She further implored women not to shy away from finance development institutions (FDIs) to finance their projects. Morapedi bemoaned that a handful people are willing to go into food production despite the high import food bill that the country faces.
Very few people are doing food production; people are lazy to go into food production,” said Morapedi. She also highlighted that the country’s major supplier, South Africa is also not coping as COVID-19 challenges unravel.
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Sun ePaper Wednesday 05 August 2020

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