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HM the King Makes Food Security Strategic Priority for the Kingdom
20/05/2022
United Nations - His Majesty King Mohammed VI has made food security a strategic priority for Morocco, said, in New York, the Kingdom's permanent representative to the UN, ambassador Omar Hilale.

"Food security is a strategic priority for Morocco and is at the heart of its new development model by 2035", Hilale said during an open debate of the Security Council on the maintenance of international peace and security, chaired Thursday by the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.

He noted that under the high guidance of HM King Mohammed IV, Morocco continues to strengthen its development strategy "Green Morocco Plan" launched more than a decade ago, noting that a series of sectoral strategies including "Generation Green 2020-2030", and the National Strategy of the Blue Economy strengthen this ambition.

"The Moroccan approach promotes an integrated process, that of socio-economic development of the rural world and investment in agriculture, as a sector offering tremendous opportunities for wealth creation and employment for youth and women," said the ambassador.

He, in this context, stressed that to build resilience, it is imperative to invest in sustainable food systems and foster new opportunities in this sector for women farmers and youth, noting that strengthening the agricultural sector can create jobs and enhance self-sufficiency, boost local production and ensure food security and sovereignty within each national context.

Hilale also noted that the interest of the Kingdom of Morocco in the elimination of hunger and the promotion of sustainable agriculture, emanates from a deep awareness of the challenge of food security in the world and in the African continent in particular.

"Today, more than 800 million people around the world suffer from chronic food shortages every day and one in five people are estimated to be undernourished in Africa, representing more than 281 million Africans," he said, adding that in 30 years, Africa will have to feed twice its current population. "Unfortunately, the continent continues to import more than 43 billion dollars of net food per year and therefore remains dependent on imports to feed a growing population," he lamented.

He added that food insecurity is also exacerbated by the effects of the Covid-19 crisis, climate change, as well as by armed conflicts that have a real impact on food supply chains at the global level and disrupt imports of staple foods.

"This situation causes an increase in prices on international markets and has major repercussions on the stability of the most vulnerable countries, because the scarcity of resources and the sudden rise in food prices fuel social unrest," said the Moroccan diplomat.

He pointed out that Morocco has always invested in agriculture through South-South cooperation in Africa, which has more than half of the world's uncultivated arable land.

Stressing that Africa has a young population and a huge continental market of more than one billion people, Hilale said that Morocco strongly supports the African Free Trade Area which has the potential to stimulate the exchange of food products between African countries at lower cost, improve the incomes of farmers and promote agribusiness.

He recalled that the Kingdom has signed more than 38 agreements and conventions in the agricultural field with 18 African countries, as evidenced by the partnerships recently launched with Ethiopia and Nigeria for the production of natural fertilizers. Morocco has initiated a rich and diversified triangular cooperation with the support of the FAO and several tripartite agreements have been signed in this framework with Mali, Senegal, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Eswatini and Cameroon, he added.

"It is also in the same spirit that the Triple A Initiative for the Adaptation of African Agriculture to Climate Change was launched at COP22," said the ambassador, noting that this initiative has been able to accompany so far no less than 7 countries on the African continent. "The Triple S Initiative, launched in 2016 with the Republic of Senegal, also aims to support Sustainability, Stability and Security in Africa through the vector of agriculture," he stressed.

Hilale recalled that more recently, Morocco and the United Nations jointly organized an African Regional Dialogue prior to the UN Food Summit, mobilizing more than 40 African ministers and decision-makers, to highlight the priorities, opportunities and courses of action for a successful transformation of food systems in Africa, taking into account the constraining global context.

He also noted that Morocco "remains convinced that innovative partnerships in this area will deepen and develop promising synergies," stressing that effective cooperation between the United Nations and Member States, but also with the private sector is essential if we want to achieve this goal.

"It is through innovative partnerships between all these stakeholders that we can aspire to eliminate world hunger, strengthen agricultural sovereignty within countries, produce quality food locally, efficiently, sustainably and address the multiple and interrelated challenges of food insecurity, peace and international security," concluded Hilale.