Rome, 15 October, 2010

While delivering a keynote address at the 30th World Food Day Ceremony in Rome on 15 October, resident Paul Kagame said that food security must be seen by all as a national issue that must be country-initiated and driven, from policy and strategy formulation to project design and implementation, in order to facilitate productive cooperation with partners on the basis of national goals and priorities, and ensure food security. “The alternative was bypassing government systems, which would scatter or compromise national efforts to address hunger,” he said.

President Kagame noted that more needs to be done to increase access to agricultural inputs, more investment in research and technological development, and the creation of appropriate conditions to render inputs more affordable for the average farmer. Regarding the damaging effects of climate change, President Kagame called for improvement of early warning systems by investing in meteorological capabilities in developing countries.

Pointing out that sustainable food security will be attained within the overall framework of poverty eradication, President Kagame also highlighted the importance of land tenure and appropriate land management systems; investment in infrastructure such as roads, markets, irrigation, and storage systems.

President Kagame thanked WFP for assistance rendered to Rwanda during the emergency phase following the genocide and pointed out that the time was right to partner on more sustainable actions with the organization, including working jointly to create vital assets such as terraced land, dams, tree plantation and improved roads and housing.

“These are the kinds of interventions that would help stimulate local food production, enable our farmers to increase their yields and generate incomes. And if rolled out across Africa, they would help create food sufficiency and alleviate poverty,” the President said.