Shiri calls for anti-poverty policies



Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement minister Perrance Shiri has made a clarion call for policies that will help in eradicating hunger and poverty in Africa.

Addressing delegates at the civil society consultation for the 31st FAO regional conference for Africa yesterday, Shiri said home-grown policies were fundamental in providing policy options.

The conference, held in Harare and drew participants from across Africa, is a precursor to the FAO Africa regional conference to be held in Victoria Falls from March 23-27.

“The time is now for Africa to develop home-grown policy solutions that are effective in addressing our unique and peculiar development challenges. Thus, this space is fundamental in providing a pool of policy options for consideration at regional and national levels as you are aware that we have the agenda 2063 which we are rallying behind as Africa in our quest to have the Africa We Want.”

Over 750 million people in Africa are poverty stricken and the number will keep rising if there are no stop-gap measures to stem the tide, experts have warned.

“The civil society is pivotal in this endeavour. In this regard, this conference is happening at an opportune time as the continent continues to face challenges in attaining food and nutrition security and sustainable development owing to adverse effects of climate change and variability,” Shiri said.

The minister reiterated that agriculture was two to four times more powerful at reducing hunger and poverty than any other sector as well as the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Shiri said the government of Zimbabwe through his ministry was in full support of the forum and was looking forward to a successful discussion towards the issues to be addressed at the conference.

“The government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement is pleased to support and be part of this forum and is looking forward to successful discussions towards specific agenda items of the 31st FAO ARC, as well as evaluating progress made by FAO in the previous biennium.”

He urged civil society organisations to review and advise on plans, programmes and projects which might help in solving problems of respective regions and priority areas of work in Africa.

Speaking during the same event, FAO representative Berhanu Beldame said his organisation supported the other civil society organisations in discussing matters that affected agriculture and related subjects.

Beldame said food insecurity remained rampant in Africa and that called for more collaboration among stakeholders to eliminate hunger.