The aim is to discuss the importance of international agricultural trade and an integrated trade system for global food security in order to archive major relevance in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations, in particular SDG 2 – end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture – and SDG 12 – ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. The focus of this panel will be on agri-food trade with African countries, the importance trade has for agricultural development and the role of food security within African countries.
Agri-food trade is increasing for most African countries, driven by population growth, a changing consumption pattern and limited growth in national and regional production. In most Sub-Saharan countries, because of insufficient infrastructure it is often cheaper to import from global markets than to import from the remote hinterland or from neighbouring countries. Still 31 African countries continue to need external food aid (FAO 2019). Most forecasts now estimate that crop yields will decline in much of Africa and the developing world as a result of the effects of climate change. The hardest hit areas coincide with the regions that are also expected to produce the highest population growth rates in the coming decades. In this context, it is particularly important to explore the future sustainability and resilience of agri-food production in Africa.
The food trade balance has worsened in most African Countries over the last decades (FAO) and in particular basic food commodities such as cereals, dairy products, edible oils and fats as well as meat products are increasingly imported. With the African Union Malabo Declaration from June 2014, African countries committed to triple intra African trade by 2025. The African Free Trade Area is an ambitious project of the African Union. If achieved, this may help to improve food security and contribute to the achievement of SDG 2 in Africa. Panel discussions points are:
Luis Eugenio Basterra has an academic background in agricultural sciences. Following his studies he has gained a long experience in the design, formulation and implementation of agricultural policy, developed during 20 years of applying science and technology to political decision-making.
Luis Basterra has held many different posts: in the government of the Province of Formosa, he was Undersecretary of Employment (1996 –2000) and Undersecretary of Commerce and Investment (2000 –2003) in the Ministry of Economy Public Works and Services, followed by an appointment as Minister of Production and Environment (2003 –2009). At the national level, he was vice-president of the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) (2009 –2011), and currently he holds his second elected mandate in the National Congress, as representative from the province of Formosa (2011 –2015 / 2015 –2019).
He has taken on key tasks in the field of science and policy, not only as vice-president of INTA, which is the leading agricultural research institution in Argentina, but also as president of the National Commission for Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, and as a vocal legislator on the Commissions for science and technology, natural resources and the conservation of the human environment; population and human development; and on the national Parliamentary Task Force against Hunger. He is also a member of the International Consultative Committee on Cotton.
As Minister of Production and Environment of the Province of Formosa, he has convened scientific-technical teams on land reform and land-use planning. His resulting technical and administrative interventions have promoted land-use, tenure and natural resource use which were socially and environmentally sustainable and provided for decision-making that supported both stable production and natural resource conservation.
As a representative in the national Parliament he has sustained a variety of strategies of communication and coordination between science and policy. This has permitted him to author and present legislative proposals to which the scientific community and stakeholder groups had provided important input within a framework of an open science-policy dialogue. Amongst his legislative projects were the creation of the marine protected area of Namuncura-Burdwood Bank, and the initiation of the marine conservation programme of Pampa Azul. In addition, he obtained approval by the lower house of Parliament for two bills on the improvement of agricultural soils, and on the manufacture, registration, sale and control of plant protection products.
His work on the Birdwood Bank and Pampa Azul was of geopolitical importance. His initiative to open the legislative process to participation by civil society organizations and to promote the networking of these organizations, permitted a collaborative production of technical information which fundamentally strengthened the democratic legitimacy in this development of national strategic public policy.
In all places where Luis has held office, he has always promoted lines of work which generated a scientific technological debate that allowed to develop a shared vision between different actors of public policy. As vice-president of INTA, he has promoted the inclusion of research on ecosystem services in the context of agricultural production.
H.E Mr. Oumer Hussien Oba is the current Minister of Agriculture leading the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and its affiliate institutions, mainly the Ethiopian Research Institute, the Federal Cooperative Agency (FCA), Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) and the National Research Council (NRC).
H.E Mr. Oumer Oba is an Executive Committee member of Prosperity Party in his political career.
H.E Oumer was born from a very well respected ethnic Oromo farmer’s family on September 15, 1972 in the Arsi, region of Ethiopia. He has been exposed to farming at an early age instilling in him the discipline of hard work, the willingness to go the extra miles to get things done and to work with diverse community to solve multitude of problems at the grass root level and beyond.
H.E Oumer has served as Director General of the Ethiopia Revenue and Custom Authority; Vice President of the Oromia Regional Government; Head of the Bureaus of Urban Development and Agriculture with the rank of Vice President of Oromia Regional Government; Deputy Head for Bureau of Finance and Planning; Zone Administrator, Heads of Zone Finance and Planning; Head of Trade and Industry, Head of Culture and Tourism Departments. He started his career as a teacher in Ministry of Education. He has served over 10 sectors in the last 20 years.
In addition he is currently a board member of Development Bank of Ethiopia, Industrial Parks Development Corporation and Agency for Civil Society Organizations.
H.E Oumer received his BA in Economics in Ethiopia and his Master’s in Business Administration in International Business (MBA-IB) from Greenwich University in London.
He and his wife, Mekida Shale Gebewo, are parents of two daughters called Semira and Hawi and two sons called Fraol and Fuad.