File photo shows UN Food and Agriculture Organization side-event titled "End poverty and hunger and secure the right to food" is held at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy on June 6, 2018. (Photo: Xinhua/Alberto Lingria)
NAIROBI, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- A United Nations official on Monday hailed the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) for new initiatives aimed at supporting food security in Africa.
Gabriel Rugalema, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative in Kenya, said that new initiatives rolled out on food security and agricultural growth by China will help African countries achieve their industrialization goals on schedule.
China has pledged at the event that it will support Africa in achieving general food security by 2030, work with Africa to formulate and implement a program of action to promote China-Africa cooperation on agricultural modernization.
During an interview with Xinhua in Nairobi on Monday, Rugalema said apart from food availability, the new initiatives will also help transform agriculture to become an employer, hence changing the lives of people.
Rugalema noted that in addition to putting in place infrastructural development in road and rail network, food security remains a key factor towards improving livelihoods of African communities.
He said that the uplift in infrastructure done by Chinese companies is a major enabler for agricultural development through opening new markets for farm produce.
"Through China's support in developing roads and railway lines, unreachable parts of the continent where initially people took two days to reach have become reachable within 10 hours of travelling," said Rugalema.
He noted that just like China, Africa will stand to achieve its industrialization goal after attaining food security.
"China's cooperation with Africa has offered farmers an opportunity for selling their crops and livestock in time hence making profit," said Rugalema.
He noted that through FOCAC initiatives, African countries are due to see markets for their produce expand.
Rugalema called on the Chinese part to bring agricultural technologies that the continent needs to help increase its productivity.
He observed that Africa requires affordable technologies such as processing plants and maize dryers to help manage food wastage.
"We require new drought-tolerant rice varieties that are being grown in China to help improve food security in the continent," Rugalema told Xinhua.
The UN official challenged African countries to embark on greening the environment by embarking on planting of additional trees and grasses to improve food security in arid and semi arid areas, and called on China to share its experience in forestation.