As the EURACTIV website has announced, the EU is about to strengthen its relationship – and cooperation – with Africa, with the hope of promoting sustainable food systems and help those affected coping with the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The African continent was already assisted in its agrifood sector by a 12-person task force since the beginning of May 2018, a mandate prolonged this year after the Covid-19 events. The effects of the pandemic in the continent have actually caused an increase in domestic production up to 25%, with countries like Ghana boosting its production of staple crops such as rice and maize.

In the meantime, the EU has provided financial support and technical investment to the African continent. In early December, €180 million were allocated to the fishing industry in Tunisia; the Europe-Africa Research & Innovation Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA), has already been focusing on Africa’s long-term agriculture sector; and in June this year a platform was launched by the EU and the AU (African Union) to bolster sustainable and substantial investment in the continent’s agribusiness sector.

What seems to be remaining now is to promote a “Farm to Fork” vision for African agrifood sector. As many farmers in the African continent are small-scale producers, they are targeted by the threats posed of a global pandemic like Covid-19 even more than bigger producers, consequentially struggling not only in their production, but in their subsistence.

As Dr. Donald Brown, associate vice-president of the Programme Management department at the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has stated, directing African agriculture towards a higher degree of sustainability will help better achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Brown figures the EU to provide “leadership, transferring knowledge and nurturing local solutions, and providing ample financial resources to agricultural development”.

Initiatives like the Yield Uganda Investment Fund have already generated positive outcomes like providing services to small-scale producers, and generate employment for women and youth. Resilience for farm producers comes directly from their ability to proactively respond to external threats, this coming from committed and benevolent administrations. We look forward to seeing where this re-established relationship will go.

Tags: Agrifood, EUagri, Covid19, Africa relations