The Intergovernmental Development Authority is now moving to adopt what it terms as new strategies to improve the food security situation in the region in the wake of crises such as climate change, floods, conflicts and economic shocks in order to build resilient communities.

The Authority held a two-day high-level workshop and a ministerial meeting in Nairobi under the theme Accelerating Food Systems Transformation Agenda in the IGAD Region that facilitated the governments of Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan in sharing successful actions and common challenges to accelerate efforts to address the prevalent food insecurity in the region.

Dr. Fatuma Adan IGAD Head of Mission Kenya says the food security situation in the region is not getting better.

“Governments and development partners are putting their best foot forward. We have had the soil health conference here in Kenya as well as other high-level meetings to address this, it is because of the climate change crisis that the food security situation is not getting better but countries are also investing heavily to ensure they are able to cope and build resilient systems in case we have shocks,” said Dr. Fatuma

According to IGAD, approximately 24% of the population in East Africa faced significant food insecurity in 2023. Between April and June in 2024 it is projected that more than 7 million individuals in South Sudan and over 3 million in Somalia will face severe levels of acute food insecurity. An estimated 16 million people in Ethiopia are expected to need emergency food assistance in 2024.

EU Delegation Kenya Programme Manager Stephen Wathome says Kenya still relies on imports of maize as the country only produces 30million bags of 90kg against a need of 54million bags annually.

“We have currently major challenges which are currently affecting all these countries in terms of food production and these are aspects to do with climate nexus, biodiversity, soils, and on the other hand something that is becoming increasingly of concern is more less the coordination and governance aspects because we have the scenario where people are unable or do not have the resources to purchase food even if the food is available,” explained Wathome.

IGAD says the crises affecting the region including floods, drought, conflicts and climate change have heavily affected the food security systems hence the need to come up with new strategies, policies and systems.

‘Though individual members states have put in a lot of resources and investments to address these multiple crises, it needs concerted efforts and we want to see what is it that we can do differently based on our capacity and resources in order to build systems that would help our member states and communities be resilient to those shocks,” added Dr. Fatuma, IGAD Head of Mission, Kenya.

FAO Resilience Team Leader for Eastern Africa Cyril Ferrand called for integration for partnerships between stakeholders. He said the region has made a great deal of effort in bringing capacity to collect, share and have technically sound information on early warning systems but the deficit is on translation of the technically sound information into intervention that is basically implemented with no delay.

“The humanitarian development system is basically lacking a little bit of skill from time to time, so very often when we are facing a crisis there is an investment in life saving that is quite significant unfortunately, we don’t see the same level of investment at skill for resilience investment. If we want to be transformative, we have to no option but going faster and at scale and that’s what is missing in the region when we are looking to climate adaptation in particular,” he added.

Some of the resolutions reached for the three member states include striving to ensure a strategic balance between humanitarian and development priorities, focussing on rehabilitation efforts, development, sustainable programming and solutions that incorporate humanitarian-development-peace approaches and address food crises at their roots.


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