PDF Print E-mail

African Ministers of Agriculture urged to support small holder farmers

African Ministers of Agriculture have been urged to accelerate investment and broad-based transformation in support of smallholder farmers. The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), made the call at the 28th African Regional conference got under way in Tunis. In a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the FAO noted that Africa had made “Important economic progress and agricultural successes, yet remains the world’s most food insecure continent.’’ It said that relatively low levels of agricultural productivity, low rural incomes and high rates of malnutrition still characterized the continent. According to the statement, Africa has recorded continuous economic growth since 1999, accompanied by improved governance and human development indicators. It said that seven out of the top ten fastest growing economies in the world were in Africa. It noted that Africa’s annual total GDP grew on average by 4.8 per cent in 2000-2010, up from 2.1 per cent in the previous decade. It added that the agricultural sector’s growth rates in the same period were 3.2 per cent and 3 per cent respectively. The continent, it said, had also achieved a series of agricultural successes in major areas, including the intensification of staple food production, improved varieties of banana in eastern and central Africa. It also mentioned high-yielding varieties of maize in east and southern Africa, and productivity gains in cotton production in Burkina Faso and Mali and in tea and floriculture in East Africa as other areas of successes. Nigeria’s Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, asked how African leaders can build on this progress in the statement. He suggested they could provide stable agriculture and fiscal policies that encourage investment. Tijani, immediate past Minister of State for Agriculture, recalled the pledge made 10 years ago by African leaders in the Maputo. They promised to allocate 10 per cent of the individual countries annual budgets to agriculture. He underscored the importance of “strengthening governance and accountability mechanisms that contribute to more systemic implementation of policies and programmes.

“These actions are critical to trigger a transformation in the capacity of countries to deliver sustained and broad-based agricultural growth and development.” The statement said that the conference would advocate for providing the enabling environment to end hunger on the continent by 2025. It would primarily focus on increasing the potential of agriculture, fisheries, livestock and forestry as a source of employment and income for African youths. Others are women and men who engage in these sectors for food and nutrition security as well as agri-business ventures aimed at increasing family incomes. According to the agency, the food security situation in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa continues to be of particular concern. It noted that 11 African countries, including Nigeria, had already met the first MDG target to reduce by half the proportion of hungry people between 1990 and 2015.

Similarly, Djibouti, Ghana, and São Tomé and Príncipe – have also met the 1996 World Food Summit goal to reduce by half the total number of the hungry, which FAO considers to be more ambitious. FAO’s Regional Conference for Africa is taking place from 24-28 March in the Tunisian capital. According to the statement, the 54 African countries, all of which are FAO members states will participate in the conference, 30 of which will be represented at ministerial level. In addition, Austria, China, the Dominican Republic, France, Italy, India, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, U.S. and the Holy See will attend as observers. March 26th, 2014, Source: http://royaltimes.net

 

Agriculture

S5 Box

S5 Register

*
*
*
*
*

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.