THE Sasakawa Association will work with the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), to help double rice production in Africa to 50 million tonnes by 2030. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the announcement at the Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) symposium held during TICAD7.
‘Japanese technology can play a key role in innovation which is key to agriculture,’ Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told delegates.
Discussions at the Symposium focused on Africa’s youth bulge, unemployment rates, agricultural innovations and technologies, solutions and job creation opportunities in the agricultural sector.
‘We’ve always believed in the agriculture potential of Africa,’ said Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon foundation. ‘We are paying more attention to income-generating activities. We want to help shift the mindset of small-holder farmers from producing-to-eat to producing-to-sell. We are hopeful that Africa’s youth can take agriculture to a new era, and that they can see a career path in agriculture,’ he added.
In a keynote address, African Development Bank Group President, Akinwumi Adesina, called for urgent and concerted efforts to ‘end hunger’.
‘In spite of all the gains made in agriculture. We are not winning the global war against hunger. We must all arise collectively and end global hunger. To do that, we must end hunger in Africa. Hunger diminishes our humanity,’ Adesina urged.
According to the FAO’s 2019 State of Food and Security, the number of hungry people globally stands at a disconcerting 821 million. Africa alone accounts for 31 percent of the global number of hungry people – 251 million people.
Commending the Sasakawa Association’s late founder, Ryochi Sasakawa, for his tireless efforts in tackling hunger, Adesina said: ‘Passion, dedication and commitment to the development of agriculture and the pursuit of food security in our world has been the hallmark of your work.’
Between 1986 and 2003, Sasakawa Association in Africa, operated in a total of 15 countries including – Ghana, Sudan, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, Mali, Guinea, Zambia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Mozambique.