On May 28th, Theo de Jager, president of the World Farmers’ Organisation, joined as a speaker the virtual event « COVID-19, Flattening the Food Insecurity Curve in Africa », hosted by the World Trade Organisation within the « Trade Dialogues on Food » initiative.
Third of a series of dialogues with experts from governments, non-governmental organisations, businesses, academia, think tanks and foundations, the event focused on Africa’s responses to the COVID-19 crisis to flatten the food insecurity curve.
The other participants in the event included: Trudi Hartzenberg, Executive Director TRALAC (Trade Law Center, South Africa); Junior Davis, Head of Policy Analysis and Research Branch, Division for Africa and LDCs at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); Edwini Kessie, Director, WTO Agriculture and Commodities Division; Halima Noor, Senior Trade Advisor, African Union; Doaa Abdel-Motaal, WTO Agriculture and Commodities Division.
WFO President stated that farmers are suffering greatly from the breakdown of crucial channels which allow food to travel from the farm to consumers, via restaurants, canteens or school feeding schemes. Many of these have been shut down completely.
« Despite lockdowns, farmers have kept on working to feed an increasingly worried, if not desperate, population. It was up to the farmers’ responsibility and sense of duty to embrace risk. Because of lack of market for their produce, farmers who accessed financing for their production costs are NOW not able to repay the loans! «