African Farmers Association of South Africa (Afasa) youth chairperson Kea Mnguni represented the country alongside other young farmers at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture conference in Berlin, Germany where she participated in discussions on how to end world hunger.
Mnguni said twenty young farmers from across the world were invited to draft the young farmers’ statement under the theme “joining forces for a zero hunger world”.
An eye-opening experience
“I gained valuable insights into global collaboration and working with young farmers worldwide, reinforced the significance of international collaboration in working jointly to achieve the set sustainable development goals.
“This collaborative effort showcased the commitment of young farmers globally to address challenges and find practical solutions for sustainable agriculture, particularly focusing on the zero hunger sustainable development goal,” she said.
Mnguni said there is a lot of young farmers can do to ensure that there is enough food for everyone in their respective countries, however, that would only be achievable if there are solid and proactive collaborations.
“Government and private support is crucial in acknowledging and assisting us in the need to end hunger in the world. Therefore a holistic approach in tackling issues within the agricultural sector necessitates a comprehensive, nuanced approach rather than a blanket solution,” she explained.
Mnguni said the conference highlighted the importance of raising awareness and finding innovative ways to work towards solving challenges faced by young people in agriculture. It requires specific, practical solutions tailored to diverse contexts.
“The conference spent much time in emphasising inclusiveness in sustainable food systems, especially involving vulnerable groups like youth and women, [which] is crucial for holistic progress,” she said.
What South Africa can do
According to Mnguni, the world is viewing South African agriculture as a vital contributor to global food security, with a growing focus on sustainable practices.
“The South African delegation conveyed a message centred on achieving a zero hunger world through sustainable food systems, highlighting responsible agricultural practices, and ensuring communities have control over their food systems,” she said.
She expressed the importance of supporting resilient and sustainable supply chains capable of enduring challenges while upholding sustainability. Furthermore, she underscored the significance of minimising food loss and waste in production and distribution, advocating for a focus on efficiency to reduce wastage in the food supply chain.
Mnguni said farmers are not only producers but carers which means strengthening vulnerable groups by addressing their needs – particularly youth and women – throughout the agricultural value chain to ensure their active participation and empowerment.
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