African countries should engage permanents sectaries in the ministries of agriculture in the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP).
The permanent secretaries are the primary custodians of government policy and accounting officers in the ministries.
The call was made by the head of the CAADP Coordinating Unit at the African Union Commission, Komla Bissi, while meeting Permanent Secretaries from countries under the African Union, on Thursday in Accra, Ghana.
"You notice that at country level, the chief accounting officer of the ministry is the permanent secretary so in rolling out this plan, we consider it necessary to bring the them on board as they implement Agriculture based investment plans at country level," said Komla Bissi.
According to Bissi, African heads of state recommitted themselves to another 10 years of agriculture transformation through the CAADP context in 2014, in Malabo.
The Malabo declarations emphasize implementation and delivering result and impact and this implies critical; attention reforms to economic and development policies to enhance the capacity and ability to design and implement agriculture transformation programs.
"For their commitment to become effective, it calls for a new thinking in terms of planning and the way country processes are coordinated for Agriculture based investments. In rolling out these commitments, our intention is to strengthen the capacity of the implementers at country level who are the Permanent Secretaries," said Bissi.
The two-day retreat, organized by the African Union and New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) was aimed at bringing together PSs to reflect on how far they have come over the last four years of CAADP implementation and also take stock of what needs to be done, the next years.
The meeting was also aimed at identifying what kind of support will be required by individual countries from lead financing institutions like AUC, NEPAD, FAO so as to support individual countries implement their agriculture plans.
NEPAD's program officer, Unami Mpofu added that without the support of the PS' leadership in the agriculture ministries, agriculture transformation as envisaged through CAADP may not be realized.
"So it's very important, to engage with the PS have them own and understand the agenda so that we can have him rally support from other ministries and peers with in the sector which will lead to a multispectral implementation of the agenda," said Mpofu.
Mpofu added through the meeting they hope to endorsements from PS, so as to have clarity and direction of how they will be reaching individual countries in terms of support to their agriculture investment plans.
In the same meeting, the Ghanaian Minister for Food and Agriculture, Mohammed-Munira Limuna (Alhaji) said that much as the sector is faced with numerous challenges such as low uptake of modern technologies, depleting natural resources especially water and climate change negative impacts, solutions that can be adopted to counter them at national level should be sought and implemented.
The 2nd Retreat, brought together over 100 participants - Permanent Secretaries and CAADP Focal persons of Ministries of Agriculture, Rural Development, Livestock and Aquaculture and the Regional Economic Communities