ETHIOPIA – A high-level ministerial meeting convened by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has successfully validated and endorsed the IGAD Regional Food Safety Strategy and Post-Harvest Loss Management Strategy.

Attended by Agricultural Ministers, IGAD member country representatives, ambassadors, and FAO delegates, the meeting marked a significant milestone in addressing food security challenges in the region.

Agriculture Minister Girma Amente emphasized the importance of the endorsed strategies as crucial steps towards developing effective solutions for post-harvest losses and enhancing food safety systems in the IGAD region.

He highlighted the strategies’ alignment with the 2014 Malabo Declaration, which aims to reduce post-harvest losses by 50 percent before 2025, and the Sustainable Development Goal 2, focused on ending hunger by 2030.

Minister Girma emphasized that the regional food safety strategy would provide a harmonized framework to implement activities and address various food safety and quality issues affecting consumer service and overall food and nutrition security.

“The regional food safety strategy for which we have come together  to validate will hopefully provide as well as harmonize framework to implement activities.

“It is also pivotal to mitigate various food safety and quality problems that negatively impact consumer service and progress towards achieving food and nutrition security,” he said.

The prevalence of unsafe food negatively impacts consumer sales and hinders the region’s competitiveness in both African and global agri-food markets.

Addressing food crisis and promoting regional trade

With the IGAD region facing a food crisis, Minister Girma highlighted the criticality of the regional food security strategy to enhance inter-regional trade in agri-food products.

This approach includes efficient movement of surplus food to deficient areas, stabilizing food prices, and ultimately improving food security in the region.

The regional food security strategy is essential for addressing the pressing food insecurity challenges faced by IGAD member states.

Minister Girma pointed out that Ethiopia’s food safety and quality strategy aligns with the national food and nutrition policy endorsed in 2018.

Additionally, the food and nutrition strategy, approved in 2021, recognizes food safety and quality as a pivotal pillar.

Somalia’s Agriculture and Irrigation State Minister, Asad Abdirisak Mohamed, stressed the importance of cooperation among IGAD member countries to effectively implement the regional food safety and post-harvest loss management strategies.

He further emphasized the need for all IGAD states to adopt national food security strategies to address the recurring food insecurity challenges in the region.

The domestication of the food security strategy across IGAD member countries is expected to prevent significant losses of metric tons of food and save millions of USD.

This unified effort is crucial for achieving sustainable food security and addressing the complex food challenges faced by the IGAD region.

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