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African experts says access to clean energy key to boosting food security

By Yan

Image Energized Report Press Release

NAIROBI, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- Greater investments in off and mini-grid technologies are required to transform smallholder farming in Africa and achieve food security amid rapid population growth, experts said in a study released in Nairobi on Thursday.

The experts from Malabo Montpellier Panel in their report titled "In Energized: Policy innovation to power the transformation of Africa's agriculture and food system," said that access to clean energy will improve productivity at smallholder level to alleviate poverty, hunger and malnutrition.

"Access to reliable, affordable and sustainable sources of energy to prepare land, plant, harvest, process, distribute and cook food will ensure that Africa's agricultural sector can respond to this demand, all within the context of climate change and scarce natural resources," said Ousmane Badiane, co-chair of the Malabo Montpellier Panel.

He said that universal access to cleaner sources of energy is key to enhancing production, processing and consumption of nutritious food in a rapidly urbanizing African continent. The report from leading African scholars said the continent can leverage off-grid projects to boost uptake of clean energy among small-holders and revolutionize food production systems. According to the report, nearly five million families in Africa installed solar home systems in 2018, hence boosting the continent's green agenda.

The report said that achieving universal energy access in Africa will require investments worth about 120 billon U.S dollars annually until 2040. It proposed development of energy policies that prioritize health and food security agenda in Africa amid climatic shocks that have worsened rural poverty, hunger and diseases. The experts from Montpellier Panel said that access to renewable energy will benefit African women through spending less time to collect fuel for cooking alongside minimal indoor house pollution.

Joachim Von Braun, a co-chair of the panel said that access to clean energy will reduce exposure to noxious fumes among women and girls in Africa whose contribution to the continent's food security is profound.

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