Parliamentarians visiting a dairy processing plant in Githunguri on the outskirts of Nairobi. (Image @FAO/Abebe D. Banjaw)

MPs Push for Climate Actions to Avert Food Crises in East Africa

Parliamentarians drawn from Eastern African nations agreed to champion the cause for swift and determined climate actions to avert food crises and malnutrition in the subregion.

The subregion hosts almost 50% of the undernourished people in Africa despite having less than 25 % of the continent’s population.

Extreme weather events, which mainly occur due to climate change, are among the major triggers of such predicament, subregional director of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) David Phiri says.

The action to avert the crisis was the subject of discussions at the Eastern Africa Parliamentary Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (EAPA FSN) meeting in Nairobi.

The parliamentarians reiterated that the subregion should not continue as a drought and famine hotspot while having all the agricultural resources needed to feed itself and the whole of Africa.

The MPs also expressed their resolve to climate action after discussing the intricate relationship between climate change and the urgent challenges of food insecurity and malnutrition.

The primary objective of these actions is to combat the persistent challenges presented by droughts, floods, landslides, and the emergence of pests, affecting agricultural production in the subregion.

Topics ranging from current legal and policy issues and gaps related to climate action and food systems transformation to opportunities for financing mechanisms were discussed during the meeting.

Call to action

Kenya’s National Assembly Speaker and MP Moses M. Wetang’ula pointed out that Africa has struggled with poverty and hunger despite having all the necessary agricultural resources and policy instruments.

The speaker urged fellow MPs to shift their attention towards fulfilling the crucial investment requirements for agriculture as outlined in Africa’s policy framework for agricultural transformation.

This policy, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), stipulates that countries allocate ten percent of their national budget to the sector.

The MPs were also advised to actively engage in efforts to transform attitudes within diverse communities concerning food production, processing, consumption, and post-harvest management.

This collective effort is essential to create a connection that offers hope and a healthy life for its people, Wetang’ula noted.

Backed by FAO, the Nairobi gathering was the fifth annual Assembly meeting the Alliance held since the MPs from 11 eastern African nations forged the Alliance in April 2019. The alliance also has the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) and the IGAD Inter-Parliamentarian Union (IPU) as its members.