On 12 December 2018, AfREC Research Fellow and Director of the UWA Institute of Agriculture, Prof. Kadambot Siddique, attended and presented at the launch of the University of Pretoria’s ARUA Centre of Excellence in Food Security and High Level Panel Discussion on the Future of Food in Africa. UWA signed an MoU with the University of Pretoria on 27 August 2018 during the launch of AfREC, and also renewed its MoU with the University of Ghana in May 2018.
The African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence (ACoE) in Food Security was awarded to the University of Pretoria, partnering with the Universities of Nairobi and Ghana, Legon in 2018. The ACoE will be officially launched on 12 December 2018 in Pretoria immediately preceding the opening of the Science Forum South Africa (SFSA 2018). A prime motivation behind the ACoEs is to create an engaging network of talented researchers to move institutions forward in pursuit of a common goal. It is recognised that finding solutions to food security challenges in Africa is a huge and challenging task, and there are many local and internationally-based organisations working in the African food and agriculture domain. The aim of the ACoE in Food Security is not to duplicate efforts, but to create a critical mass of researchers working synergistically.
There are several drivers emerging that may radically affect the development of global food systems: climate change and its impacts, growing malnutrition in all its forms (including obesity and the non communicable diseases associated), environmental degradation, inequality, and the rise of nationalism. Collectively, these drivers make the future more uncertain than before. In Africa, food systems remain a key challenge at the intersection of hunger, poverty and health. Women and children are particularly at risk. Grain yields remain well below the world average. Low productivity, inadequate policies, and chronic underinvestment are at the heart of Africa’s food and nutrition insecurity and the prevalence of extreme poverty. However, Africa has the potential to become the world’s agricultural powerhouse.
Given the unprecedented changes at a global scale, and the persistent challenges facing the African food system, what will the future of food be on the continent? The panel will explore this question from a global, continental and national perspective.
For more on the Centre of Excellence, see: