Prior to serving (until 2017) as Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union Commission (AUC), Rhoda Peace Tumusiime held various senior positions in the Government of the Republic of Uganda, including those of Commissioner for Agriculture Planning and Commissioner for Women and Development. She holds a Bachelors’ Degree in Agricultural Economics, a Masters Degree in Economics, Planning and Managing Rural Development, and a Diploma in Women and Development.
Throughout her career, she has demonstrated leadership and championed causes including women’s empowerment, poverty eradication and agricultural development. Her portfolio as AU Commissioner covers multiple Ministerial sectors ranging from crop agriculture, livestock, fisheries, forestry, land, water, environment, climate change, climate services, disaster risk reduction to rural development. Food and nutrition security remain central in her schedule. Among the key policy frameworks in this regard is the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) adopted by Heads of State and Government of the African Union in 2003 in Maputo, Mozambique. Through CAADP, AU Member States committed to allocate at least 10% of national budgets to agriculture in an endeavor to achieve agricultural sector growth.
To mark the 10th anniversary of the Maputo Declaration, the AU declared 2014 as a Year of Agriculture and Food Security, Commissioner Rhoda Peace, who worked tirelessly and was instrumental in ensuring that countries renewed their Maputo commitments, by agreeing on a concrete set of goals. This commitment was given in July 2014 by AU Heads of State and Government, in what is now known as the Malabo Declaration for Accelerated Africa Agriculture Growth and Transformation. Key among the outcomes of the Malabo Declaration is emphasis on innovation and agribusiness in terms of skilling young people in agro-processing and agri-business thereby promoting food and nutrition security reducing post harvest losses as well as youth employment and wealth creation.
What drives Commissioner Rhoda Peace? She wants to see an Africa that is food and nutrition secure, and therefore, dignified, at peace with itself and prosperous. She aspires for a more collaborative effort aimed at overcoming obstacles to achieving sustainable African socio-economic development including hunger, malnutrition and poverty as well as unemployment especially of the youth. She hopes to see more African political leadership and ownership toward sustainable agricultural development.
Above all else, because agriculture remains the back-bone of the survival and sustenance of our households, communities and nations, she wants more nations implement agricultural and rural sustainable development initiatives that will lift people out of poverty while advancing food and nutrition.
“African countries have committed to halve post-harvest losses by 2025 through the Malabo Declaration. Actions and investments must follow. Food wastage is a lost opportunity to contribute to the Ending of Hunger target in Africa. We must reduce unacceptable levels of food wastage by investing more in smallholder friendly and gender sensitive post-harvest technologies in order to increase food supply and reduce food insecurity in Africa.” — Rhoda Peace Tumusiime