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EALA MPs push for food security interventions

The East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) Committee on Agriculture, Tourism, and Natural Resources has called for collaborative efforts among East Africa Community (EAC) partner states to end hunger and boost food security.

Committee Chairperson Hon. Francoise Uwumukiza said the region was racing against time to end hunger by the year 2025 calling on partner states and agencies to scale up efforts to achieve the target.

“This is a tough goal to achieve in less than two years. That is why we are adding more fuel to our zeal to make sure we achieve something within that short period,” she said.

Climate change, she said, was the biggest impediment to the realization of the goal calling for concerted regional efforts to mitigate the adverse effects of the phenomenon.

Uwumukiza who led committee members on an oversight mission of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) in Kisumu said a regional approach to addressing climate change was paramount to ensure steady production of food that is secure, sustainable, and safe.

LVBC which is a specialised agency of the EAC charged with the responsibility of overseeing sustainable development of the Lake Victoria Basin, she said has done a commendable job in addressing food security concerns and climate change.

The committee, she said, would support LVBC’s programmes and projects to ensure that the EAC region becomes food-sufficient.

Hon. Francois Ngate EALA MP representing DRC Congo said the region was endowed with large agricultural land which if properly utilised the 2025 target of ending hunger in the region could be attained early.

Agriculture, he said, was the mainstay for communities in the region but continues to be through to the periphery with a lot of focus laid on harnessing natural resources.

This, he added, was the leading contributor to strife in the EAC region urging member states to prioritize agriculture for food security and regional integration.

Zipporah Kering, EALA MP representing Kenya said the region must adopt climate-smart agricultural practices to build resilience and bolster food security.

Measures, she said, must be put in place to scale up production and ensure that the food produced satisfies the needs of the population before being sold to other parts of the world.

“Before we take food outside the East Africa Community, we must ensure that our people are well fed,” she said.

Dr. Abdula Makame, EALA MP representing Tanzania said the region has made great strides in boosting food security.

He lauded LVBC for reviving the research vessel RV Jumuiya which broke down 13 years ago saying through research, the agency would be able to address gaps in food production in the region.

On his part, Hon. Gideon Thoar Gapta EALA MP representing South Sudan said the assembly has passed a policy on the management of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to come up with resolutions.

The oversight, he said was very critical since the committee would retreat to write a report which the Sectoral Council of Ministers would use.

“This is going to help us see what we can offer as a region to boost food security,” he said.

LVBC Executive Secretary (ES) Dr. Masinde Bwire said the agency has implemented various projects and programs to help meet the target of ending hunger in the region by the year 2025.

The agency, he said would continue to promote sustainable agriculture through best practices and technology to help boost food security.

The oversight activities are in line with the EAC treaty on cooperation in agriculture and rural development which targets to achieve food security and rationalize food production across the region.

By Chris Mahandara

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