Trade policy: a vital tool to ensure healthy diets and better nutrition.

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On 11th – 14th June in Nairobi, Kenya, the 15th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme Partnership Platform (CAADP PP) took place ¬†with a focus on the theme “Enhancing Trade and Market Access for Accelerated Agriculture Transformation”. Governments and technical partners from across the continent met to share best practice and identify new strategies to enhance intra-regional trade in agricultural commodities and services.

High-level participants included the African Union’s Commissioner for the Department for Rural Economy & Agriculture, Executive Directors from the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Ministers of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Members of Parliament from various National and Regional Legislative Assemblies, and representatives from USAID, BMGF, DFID, WB, IFPRI, AGRA among others.

An in-depth analysis of the needs of the sectoral partners was held to take full advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA) and to achieve the Malabo targets of tripling intra-Africa trade in Agricultural commodities and services by 2025.

Dr Agnes Kalibata, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and member of the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, provided a keynote address, highlighting how instrumental the CAADP agenda has been in rallying national governments and the global community to place agriculture at the centre of economic transformation. “Government and partners must now ensure that issues and initiatives on food and nutrition security are not left out of the discussions“. Dr Kalibata challenged CAADP stakeholders on the “need for government and partners alike to look at agricultural transformation holistically with a food system lens, and to highlight issues of food safety, availability and affordability of nutritious food“.

The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition sees trade policy as a vital tool for governments to better ensure the delivery of healthy diets and nutrition for their citizens. Trade has a significant impact on food supply, quality and price, and much can be done to align policy-making with the implementation of national dietary guidelines and public health goals.