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13.01.2011 Press Release

Food Security Crisis: Africa's time is now

By Prody MWEMENA MUMBA
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Lisbon forum to focus on finding innovative solutions to counter food crisis in Africa

13 January 2010, Brussels, Belgium

Delegates at the upcoming AGRITEC ID-EMRC International Business Forum due to be held in Lisbon, Portugal on the 20 – 21 January 2011, will focus on ways of boosting innovation in the agricultural sector throughout Africa in a bid to boost Africa's global agribusiness potential. Jointly organised by Brussels-based EMRC International and the Portuguese Industrial Association and with the support and presence of the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries of Portugal Mr. António Serrano, the forum will address the scope of the role that Africa can play in alleviating the growing global food crisis.

“Open any newspaper this week and you will be most alarmed at the increasingly worrying news surrounding food shortages around the world. Analysts at the FAO (the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation), one of our partners, have released their January report on rising food prices and the warning bells continue to ring. The situation is becoming increasingly urgent and we need to act and mobilise solution-finding now. We are delighted to welcome the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fishiries of Portugal to our event next week – his presence will further endorse our collective mandate.” Idit Miller, Vice President and Managing Director of EMRC.

The 'FAO food price index' report examines the price of a food basket composed of meat, dairy, cereals, oil and sugar ; its findings show record highs in global food prices in December, surpassing the highs of the 2008 food crisis. While food rioting around the world currently does not compare to what was experienced during 2008, it is necessary to ensure continued successful and improved food production in Africa to prevent further civil protests as seen in Algeria this week and Mozambique in 2010.

The pressing food crisis challenge will be top of the agenda for the around 250 agribusiness delegates representing multinationals, financial institutions, SMEs and governments from Africa and around the world due to convene in Lisbon at the AGRITEC ID-EMRC International Business Forum 2011 from 20 to21 January. The plenary sessions and workshops will address the topics of boosting the private sector, creating market access, commercial agriculture, growing agriculture through innovative finance and encouraging regional trade, presenting case-studies and success stories that give ammunition to elevating agribusiness across Africa. Central to driving agribusiness growth in Africa is the forming of business partnerships – delegates representing the agro-food, agri-business, and sustainable development sectors will be able to network face-to-face during the dedicated B2B sessions.

“Over the last few years our organisation has focused our resources on promoting the wealth of business opportunities available in agribusiness in Africa – reiterating the fact that a number of territories across the continent hold the potential to play a formidable role in abating the looming food crisis first and foremost on its own doorstep, for its own people and of course globally. , We need to ensure that Africa continues to step up to the plate so we can make sure that the large-scale unrest and problems experienced since 2008 are quelled. We believe that by continuing to bring the right players to the table, to form partnerships and plan future African-based projects together, we are at least taking a step, a big one, in the right direction,” confirms Idit Miller of EMRC.

EMRC International, AIP and their partners the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), KPMG, the Industrial Association of Angola (AIA), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and INSEAD Business School, Amiran Kenya, The Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) and The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) urge all parties that wish to play their role in boosting innovation in African agriculture to join them in Lisbon from the 20-21 January 2011.

To register for the AGRITEC ID – EMRC International Business Forum please visit www.emrc.be

For more information on participation and meeting opportunities, please contact:

Inês Bastos
EMRC Project Manager
Tel. : +32 2 626 1518
Fax : +32 2 626 1516
Brussels, Belgium
[email protected]

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