Japan has said it will work to help double rice production in Africa.
President Shinzo Abe said the Sakakawa Africa Association will work with the Japan International Cooperation Agency to raise production to 50m tonnes by 2030.
Speaking at a symposium during the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), Abe said: “Japanese technology can play a key role in innovation which is key to agriculture.”
Youth unemployment, agricultural innovations and technology were among the topics discussed at the event. Yohei Sasakawa, chairman of the Nippon Foundation, said: “We’ve always believed in the agriculture potential of Africa.
“We are paying more attention to income-generating activities. We want to help shift the mindset of smallholder farmers from producing-to-eat to producing-to-sell. We are hopeful that Africa’s youth can take agriculture to a new era, and that they can see a career path in agriculture.”
Akinwumi Adesina, group president of the African Development Bank, said: “In spite of all the gains made in agriculture. We are not winning the global war against hunger. We must all arise collectively and end global hunger. To do that, we must end hunger in Africa. Hunger diminishes our humanity.”
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2019 State of Food and Security, there are 821 million hungry people globally, with 251 million in Africa, accounting for 31% of the total.
Leaders and senior officials from 42 African countries are reported to have attended TICAD 7, taking place this week.
Abe said Japanese investment in Africa had reached $20bn over the past three years and he pledged that the government would “put forth every possible effort so that the power of Japanese private investment of twenty billion dollars in three years should, in the years to come, be surpassed anew from one day to the next”.
He spoke of the African Clean Cities Platform, under which Japan, UN organisations and 36 countries in Africa have joined forces to reduce, reuse and recycle waste.
In an address UN secretary-general António Guterres stressed the importance of education and tackling climate change.
“I see Africa as a dynamic continent of opportunity where winds of hope are blowing ever stronger,” he said.
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