His Excellency, Mr Mehmet Mehdi Eker, Minister of Food, Agriculture and Livestock of the Republic of Turkey
Honourable Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Excellencies, Ambassadors and Heads of Delegations
Distinguished delegates and representatives of International Organisations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Honourable Ministers and esteemed guests, let me first and foremost take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to His Excellency Mr Mehmet Mehdi Eker, Minister of Food, Agriculture and Livestock of the Republic of Turkey and his team of experts for the kind invitation extended to South Africa to participate in this very important G20 Agriculture Ministers Meeting to deliberate on the urgent need to establish an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable global food system that generates reduced food waste and losses in the interest of achieving food security.
Honourable Ministers and distinguished guests, the need to feed 9 billion people in the next few years is a practical reality that the global agricultural sector must be prepared for. In response to this challenge, South Africa fully supports the establishment of sustainable food systems that are based on increased agricultural production and productivity more efficient, sustainable and responsible use of natural resources ensures food security, inclusive of smallholder farmers and create economic and social opportunities through decent employment, especially for rural women, youth and the disabled. The aforesaid principles are also supported by the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), a continental blueprint for the development and growth of agriculture in Africa. South Africa therefore appreciate and support the mainstreaming of food security issues in the Development Working Group (DWG) agenda as captured in the Food Security and Nutrition Framework already endorsed by the G20 leaders in 2014.
South Africa further notes with concern that globally, about one third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted throughout the food chains due to lack of proper harvesting techniques, storage including cold chain systems, processing facilities, transportation and inefficient marketing systems. The challenge of high post harvest food losses and waste is even more serious for smallholder farmers in developing countries with severe implications for food security and threatened livelihoods.
Honourable Ministers and distinguished guests, the observed negative impacts of food waste and losses on food security therefore call upon us, as a collective and under the leadership of the G20 to rally the private sector and allied international organisations to develop practical solutions with a view to reduce the extent of food waste and losses on our food systems.
In the process of establishing mechanisms to achieve more sustainable food systems and reduction of food losses and waste, South Africa encourages the G20 leadership to also establish sustainable partnerships with other regional and continental programs such as the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) under the New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD) as platforms for global networks for coordinated global actions. South Africa therefore wishes to propose the following actions to be considered as interventions to achieve sustainable food systems and reduction of food losses and waste:
Strengthen collaboration and investments in technology development, adoption and transfer aimed at increasing production and productivity particularly for smallholder farmers in developing economies,
Develop programs aimed at equipping farmers, particularly smallholders with efficient harvesting techniques to reduce harvesting losses
Increase investments in marketing infrastructure such as, ambient and cold storage including cold chain systems for perishable products, processing or value adding facilities, packaging as part of establishing efficient marketing systems,
Facilitate investments in transport logistics to improve the efficiency of moving agricultural cargo within and across economies,
Invest in off-farm infrastructure such as rural roads, rail, electricity and water to support agricultural development.
Establish farmers markets in rural areas and link them with mainstream markets,
While the above mentioned measures emphasise the reduction of wastage from production and processing side, it is also vital to curtail food waste at the end of the value chain by providing incentives to retailers and food outlets that donate unsold food to the needy.
South Africa further appreciates the achievements of the G20 to date in the areas of agriculture and food security, particularly on the establishment of the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) and related projects to promote the transparency of global agricultural markets as well as increasing production and productivity in a sustainable manner.
In closing, South Africa is pleased with progress made thus far and is confident that the experience gathered so far on measures aimed at achieving sustainable food systems and reduction of food losses and waste should be consolidated into a well-coordinated and practical global Action Plan for implementation by the G20 collective.
Issued by: Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Source : South African Government