Time for African Green Revolution is Now!- International Leaders declare

Posted: September 3, 2010 in Agriculture/Poverty, Economic Reporting
Tags: , , ,

International Leaders at the ongoing African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in
Accra have renewed their commitment to transform agriculture in Africa into a productive and profitable business aimed at ending hunger, whilst eliminating poverty in the sub-region. “The time for African green revolution is now”, declared the International Leaders at the AGFR on Thursday.
Inspired by the potentials that exist on the African continent, the leaders called for the strengthening of agricultural institutions, increasing investments and getting the right policies that will sustain agriculture in the sub-region. They also stressed the need to foster public-private partnerships, since it is crucial towards sustaining success in the agricultural sector.

“While technology, especially improved crop varieties, fertilizers and irrigation are essential components for productivity, it was agricultural policies that actually drove the success that was achieved in Asia. Until African countries shape their own Agricultural Policies based on realities, they will not be able to achieve a sustainable Green Revolution”, noted Mr. Mizengo P. Pinda, Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania.

According to him, for Africa to achieve its aim of becoming self sustainable in food production, it must revamp its Agricultural Policies, focus on support for its farmers on a consistent basis, support the private sector and ensure that markets work for millions of its farmers.

“Africa must take the bull by the horn and end the structural reason why it has not been able to feed itself. The global food crisis has provided that impetus for action, where we can say never again, Africa has the potential”, he added.

The AGRF, chaired by former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, is being held for the first time in Africa. With more than 800 delegates, it is one of the continent’s major gatherings of both public and private players focusing solely on agricultural development.

The event was opened by Mr. Kofi Annan, alongside the Vice President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, Jørgen Ole Haslestad, CEO of Yara International and Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Current Ministers and former Ministers from Nigeria, Tanzania and Malawi are also attending the AGRF.

Mr. Kofi Annan in his address stressed the need to empower Africa’s smallholder farmers, majority of who are women. “They are the people who grow our food. Transformative change will enable them to leave behind subsistence farming to run their farms as businesses and to market their surpluses”.

According to Mr. Annan, African agriculture must take a quantum leap by joining forces to achieve transformative change.  “Working together, we have the power, and partnerships are crucial to success”, he said to the applause of the gathering.

According to him, experts estimate that Africa will need $US32-39 billion annually to achieve the full economic potential of its farm sector, not including the cost of climate adaptation.

To that effect, Mr. Annan urged governments in the sub-region to take the challenge of developing Africa’s breadbaskets and transport corridors. “This is the time to scale-up progress to achieve a uniquely African Green Revolution. So much is at stake, and the time is ripe.

Today, as never before, the world cares about food production. It cares about water, it is concerned about climate change”, he noted.

The Vice President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, addressing delegates at the forum tasked African Leaders not to loose sight in initiating programs aimed at food security.

Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of NEPAD, commenting at the forum said: “the success of 21st century Africa will be defined by efforts drawn around agriculture and infrastructure – in order to move crops and agricultural products from the land to existing and new markets.  Cooperation must stretch from the highest levels of government and business to the farmers who toil our fields.”

The AGRF builds on meetings held in previous years in Oslo, Norway, at which governments and private sector companies agreed to energise an agricultural revolution through better policy and new catalytic private sector investment.

Executives from agribusiness and finance companies are preparing to form new partnerships to help Africans transform agricultural production in a way that improves food security and builds a greener future for the continent.

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