EAC & The Horn

Agri-food systems: Agra amplifies the role of MPs

Lawmakers in Kenya and around Africa are taking center stage in the transformation of agri-food systems, recognizing the pivotal role of policy and legal frameworks in achieving food security.

A meeting convened by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) brought together MPs from key committees, including Finance, Budget, National Planning, Agriculture, and Food Security to deliberate on the critical matter.

The gathering aimed to explore ways to enhance parliamentary involvement in Kenya’s agri-food systems transformation, underscoring the urgent need for increased policy interventions in the agricultural sector.

Dr. John Mutunga, Chairperson of the Agriculture and Livestock Committee, noted that the agricultural sector is the economic backbone of many African countries.

He stressed the critical role policymakers play in formulating and implementing policies that drive the green revolution in Africa, highlighting the potential for transformative change.

AGRA’s Vision and Parliamentary Support

Representing AGRA, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, the organization’s President, underscored the importance of involving lawmakers in fostering sustainable food systems in Africa.

The meeting served as a crucial component of AGRA’s efforts to build a strong agency of action and collectivism, promoting parliamentary support for the implementation of national food system pathways.

Dr. John Macharia, AGRA’s Kenya Country Director, reiterated the significance of parliamentary retreats in steering the course towards inclusive agri-food transformation.

Founded in 2006, AGRA is an African-led organisation focused on putting farmers at the centre of our continent’s growing economy.

Read also: AGRA champions sustainable business models at Davos

Africa Food Systems Parliamentary Network (AFSPaN)

The retreat operated under the umbrella of the Africa Food Systems Parliamentary Network (AFSPaN), an initiative aimed at mobilizing parliamentary support for inclusive agri-food system transformation across Africa.

Launched officially at the 19th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) Partnership Platform in Lusaka, Zambia, AFSPaN brings together parliamentarians from national, regional, and continental bodies, focusing on key committees such as Agriculture, Environment, Food Security, Finance, Budget and Planning, and Trade.

AFSPaN seeks to catalyze change by fostering collaboration between stakeholders to advance the continental agenda for an inclusive agri-food system transformation.

The success of similar engagements in Ghana and Nigeria, and the ongoing efforts in Kenya, sets the stage for future collaborations in Malawi.

The anticipated outcomes include increased parliamentary support for continental goals, enhanced capacity building, and the establishment of a coalition between parliamentarians and non-state actors to advocate for more robust national-level initiatives.

Partnerships for impact

AGRA collaborates with organizations such as Care International, ActionAid, Policy Link, ONE Campaign, IFPRI, Akademiya 2063, and Shamba Centre. This collaborative effort aims to strengthen the collective impact of government decision-makers, Parliament, and non-state actors.

Together, these entities advocate for food system pathways and leverage outcomes from the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) to create a sustainable and resilient agri-food system.

Lawmakers are emerging as key drivers of change in the transformation of agri-food systems, recognizing the need for strategic policy and legal interventions.

The collaboration between AGRA and parliamentary bodies through AFSPaN reflects a commitment to fostering inclusive agri-food system transformation across Africa.

As Kenya takes bold steps towards sustainable agriculture, the engagement of lawmakers is pivotal in shaping a future where agriculture not only thrives economically but also contributes to broader societal and environmental goals.

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