Draft model law on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) applauded by Plenary

The Pan African Parliament has adopted the first draft model law on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) in Africa at the just ended Third Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament. The Model Law is expected to create an enabling environment for the realization of the right to adequate food.

The adoption comes against the backdrop of the resolution undertaken by the PAP on 2 November 2018, which underscored the importance of a Model Law on FSN to catalyze and inform processes for the development and strengthening of pertinent laws in African countries.

The Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment was subsequently mandated, together with the Pan-African Parliamentary Alliance on FSN, to lead the formulation of a Model Legislation.

Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Hon. Mai Mahmoud EBRAHIM said the Law would serve as a guide and source of inspiration for countries that aim to develop national legislation on the right to adequate food and food security and nutrition.

“This Model Law on FSN will make a significant normative contribution to improving FSN on the continent and can catalyze the effective implementation of and delivery on the goals of the Malabo Declaration, the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals and the aspirations of the Africa Agenda 2063,” said Hon Mai Mahmoud Ebrahim.

The law covers a wide spectrum of issues including spelling out the duties of the state and non-state actors, food safety, food market and trade, food labelling, marketing and advertising, national food reserves and legislative measures.

Hon. Jacqueline AMONGIN from Uganda called for primary stakeholders to pay attention to the roles clearly spelled out for different sectors and groups of people.

“Africa has high incidences of malnutrition and we still have people going to bed without a meal. The Model Law on FSN has clearly cut roles and is inclusive of women, civil society organizations and the youth,” she said.

Hon. Evangelina Filomena Oyo EBULE of Equatorial Guinea spoke on how the model law would prop up local agriculture and address the poverty scourge saying the framework would ensure that governments are able to support local agriculture for production of healthy and affordable food.

“I am particularly pleased that the draft model law also covers issues of access to agriculture inputs and services. Our major concern as Africa, is that most our land is still in the hands of foreigners who acquired it for free. We need to move fast on this one and ensure that our people have access to land,” added Hon. Jeremia CHIHANA from Malawi.