Minister Arefaine Berhe on the occasion of World Food Day
Ladies and Gentlemen!
At the outset I warmly welcome you all for taking your time to participate in this year’s World Food Day. The theme of this year is “Our Actions are our Future – A Zero Hunger World by 2030 is possible.”
Before we talk about our actions, I am sure, you can appreciate that proper diagnosis about the situation on the ground must be made. Eventhough achieving Zero Hunger is a function of concerted efforts among many sectors, the most significant actor is the agricultural sector simply because about eighty percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas where people depend on agriculture, fisheries and forestry for a living.
As it is documented by the relevant global institutions and especially the FAO, conflict, climate, the economy, inequality are some of the reasons why the goal of Zero Hunger World may seem more difficult to achieve than before.
It is to be remembered that world leaders met in 1996 and 2001 to reduce the number of hungry people by half by 2015. This happened to be a miserable failure. A 2017 FAO report shows that more than 820 million people. (Almost the same as that of 1996) world-wide still suffer from chronic hunger and under nourishment.
Considering this background, the different actors including the Government, small holder farmers, small and medium commercial farmers, The Crop and Livestock Corporation, research institutions, extension networks, academia, development partners, the private sector, and the media must play their respective roles in a coordinated fashion inorder to create a Zero Hunger World where no one is left behind come 2030.
The basis of this noble mission is clear and enabling policy and strategy which is consciously and responsibly shared by the different players.
In the Eritrean context, we are well on track to meet the SDG goal number 2 with our clear focus on intensification, integration and value addition to achieve food and nutrition security.
We have a very clear strategy for the bulk of our farming public, which is the small holder farmers. It is called “The Minimum Integrated Household Agricultural Package (MIHAP)” whose document is in your bag and whose documentary you are about to see.
For the other category of farmers, we have embarked on ambitious programmes of multiplication of improved seeds like wheat, sorghum, pearl millet, potatoes etc. in clusters inorder to impact on the overall productivity. We are establishing farmers field schools, even if they have to be under tree shades, throughout the country, so that farmers can meet regularly to share experiences from one another and from the extension agents which at this time, are being assigned in villages or cluster of villages in a specific area.
The Research, Extension, Regulatory, Higher Institutions of learning, Forestry and Wildlife Authority, and related sister sectors are also playing their part to increase agriculture production and productivity while protecting the environment.
All of the above mentioned coordinated actions are making tangible difference for the better and it is, indeed, true that OUR ACTIONS ARE OUR FUTURE – A Zero Hunger World by 2030 is Possible.
In conclusion I would like to express my gratitude to all those who have contributed to the endeavor of achieving a hunger free world and appeal to them to step up their efforts.
Finally, I commend the organizing committee for a job well done and at this opportune time, I would like to inform the audience that we are expecting very good harvest because of the good and well distributed rains plus the effort of our farmers.
Thank you for your attention!