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Monday, 06 September 2010 15:48

African Agriculture Needs Foreign Investment

By Kester Kenn Klomegah and Miao Huixia

ACCRA, Ghana, Sept. 6, 2010 (Buziness Africa) - Mr Kofi Annan, Chairman of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), has attributed the continent's inability to harness agricultural potentials to neglected agriculture policies and inadequate investment in the sector.

 

"The time is right to invest in African agriculture and our small-holder farmers," Annan said when addressing the first ever AGRA forum in Accra, capital of Ghana.

Experts estimate that Africa would need US$32 billion to US$39 billion annually to achieve the full economic potential of its farm sector.

 

The forum aimed to share experiences of various agricultural programmes of African countries for adoption to increase food production is being supported by African Development Bank, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), NEPAD, Rockefeller Foundation, Standard Bank and Yara International.

The former UN Secretary-General, who was addressing about 700 participants, pointed out "If we prioritise our investments and work together in partnerships, we can deliver long-term solutions to hunger and poverty, and propel our continent on a path to prosperity."

 

Mr Annan told the AGRF delegates that Africa with a lower density of critical infrastructure than Asia needed a massive investment in the agriculture sector.

 

He said already about 19 countries on the continent had put in place plans to accelerate their annual agricultural growth by six per cent a year.

"This is the time to scale-up progress to achieve a uniquely African Green Revolution," said Mr Annan.

 

He said for the AGRF to succeed, funds must come from a combination of sources including African governments, overseas development assistance, foreign direct investment, philanthropic contributions from within and outside Africa and Africa's private sector.

 

He said the AGRF would promote investments and policy initiatives that would drive income growth for African farmers in an environmentally sustainable way.

"Let us leave this forum with the determination to transform smallholder farms into productive, profitable businesses and to help ensure an Africa, which is food and nutrition secured and prosperous. Let's get on with it."

 

He said AGRF would also show progress in unlocking Africa's agricultural potential and facilitating sustainable economic growth thanks to new investment and public-private partnerships, helping to meet the UN Millennium Development Goal of halving hunger by 2015.

 

Jorgen Ole Haslestad, Chief Executive of Yara International, said "I am convinced that we will achieve a lot in the next three days. We are optimistic that this forum will cement the alliance of public-private partnerships and strengthen the resolve to drive sustainable farming in Africa", he added.

 

Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of NEPAD, said the success of 21st century Africa would be defined by such efforts that were drawn up around agriculture and infrastructure in order to move crops and agricultural products from the land to existing and new markets.

 

He said Cooperation must also stretch from the highest levels of government and business to the farmers who toiled the fields.

 

He said the AGRF should work to provide the space for the participants to come up with concrete actions on how to fast-track this transformation agenda in Africa's agriculture.

 

"Through our collective efforts on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, we are supporting the transformation of African agriculture in order to reduce poverty and halt the marginalization of Africa in international markets" he said.

 

Mr Mizengo Kayanza Peter Pinda, Prime Minister of Tanzania, also noted "The world is recovering from global food and financial crisis. As a result the number of undernourished people has increased. Africa must take the bull by the horns and end the structural reasons that prevent it from feeding itself."

 

Sharing experience of his country, he said in the 1970s, policies of structural adjustment "abolished all forms of support for farmers," with a devastating effect on small-holders in particular.

 

"During this time the use of fertilizer and other farm inputs declined, along with agricultural production. But today, Tanzania approaches agricultural development "on our own terms," Mr Pinda said. He said the Tanzanian Government launched a voucher programme in 2005 and 2006 to enable small-holder farmers access improved seeds and fertilizer.

 

Mr Pinda said "In 2009, the Government launched the Kilimo Kwanza, which means Agriculture First in Kiswahili, to transform agriculture into a modern and commercial sector. The Programme has resulted in maize surpluses."

 

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, noted that agriculture development on the continent had been difficult to sustain in the past, particularly when some countries experienced a change of political leadership.

 

"Partnerships between philanthropic organisations, the public and private sectors offer a solution. These would make sustainability possible," he added.

 

A group of senior African parliamentarians has supported former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s call to action at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF).

 

“The AGRF is the most bold and holistic approach to getting Africa’s agriculture really on course,” said Dr Alhassan Ahmed Yakubu, Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, Food and Cocoa Affairs, in the Parliament of Ghana.

 

“It has identified all stakeholders without exception to come on board to share their experiences,” said Dr Yakubu.

 

H.E. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union Commission, echoed the sentiment in a speech summarising the second day at the AGRF: “Parliaments must lead the way and help spearhead the achievement of the green revolution at country levels.”

 

The comments followed a panel session attended by AGRF Chairman, Kofi Annan, on the theme: mobilizing parliamentarians for action. Mr Annan challenged the group: “if politicians don’t lead, the people will make them lead.”

 

He heard views from influential parliamentary committee chairs, including the Hon. John M. Mututho, Chair of the Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Cooperatives, Parliament of Kenya.

 

The Hon. Ms. Wonekha Oliver, Chair of the Committee on Agriculture, Livestock Industries and Fisheries, Parliament of Uganda and Patricia Hajabakiga, Member of the East African Legislative Assembly, and a former Environment Minister in Rwanda, were also at the panel session.

 

The moderator of the meeting, former British MP, Tony Worthington, noted that agricultural parliamentary committees need to be better supported to play their roles, through capacity building initiatives.

 

The parliamentarians lauded the efforts of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the Association of European Parliamentarians for Africa (AWEPA) to launch a capacity building initiative in support of agricultural parliamentary committees in Africa.

 

In an afternoon press conference, the Ghanaian Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Kwesi Ahwoi, also issued a call to action for all stakeholders to support the AGRF-backed breadbasket initiative. The initiative will bring new funding to Ghana’s northerly region to help transform agricultural production. It is intended that other countries follow the breadbasket model.

 

“African governments must see agriculture at the top of their development agenda,” added Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

 

Простая кассета способна была сделать это.

Эти смотры никогда до "Игры для мальчиков семи лет"добра не доводят.

Я хотел бы разобраться в деле, "Полем полем полем белым белым полем дым скачать"касающемся дельфинов, обвиненных в убийстве.

Привет, ответил мальчик с должной осторожностью.

Я слышал, он "Скачать песни даны"был у русских в списке смертников.

Ей ампутировали правую ногу, "Скачать музыку из фильма титаника"и теперь она коротала время, заматывая вокруг маленькой культи шелковый шарф, она снова и снова завязывала "Ключи для кис 2012"и развязывала его, словно бесконечно упаковывала посылку.

 
AfricnGrowthWorldSafaris_

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