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AU countries told to align agriculture development plans to Malabo declaration

By Prossy Nandudu

Added 8th September 2016 12:15 PM

In Malabo heads of state committed themselves to commit at least 10% of national budgets towards agriculture for increased production and achieve sector growth of a minimum of 6% annually.

AU countries told to align agriculture development plans to Malabo declaration

Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta

In Malabo heads of state committed themselves to commit at least 10% of national budgets towards agriculture for increased production and achieve sector growth of a minimum of 6% annually.

Countries under the African Union have been asked to streamline their national development plans for the agriculture sector to the Malabo declaration. The call was made by Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta at the official opening of the 6th Africa Green Revolution Forum at the same time celebrating 10 years of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), at the UN headquarters in Nairobi on Wednesday.
 
"That way we shall be in position to identify priorities, budget and plan for them and if possible seek partnerships along that line and move the sector," said Kenyatta.

In Malabo heads of state committed themselves to commit at least 10% of national budgets towards agriculture for increased production and achieve sector growth of  a minimum of 6% annually.

With increased investment there will be enough food, employment for the youth, transition from small holder farming to commercial, increased incomes for the farmer and improved nutritional levels in the population.

To show his commitment as head of state, Kenyatta pledged that his government will invest additional Ksh200bn over the next five years into agriculture, targeting at least 15,000 young farmers.With such financing, young farmers will be supported to access markets, get finance, engage in agro processing, and acquire machinery, insurance, technologies among others.

Reason is that the continent is comprised of over 70% of youth who should be included in governments agriculture plans to help produce more for the continent ;but also get gainful employment in the process and live dignified lives, explained Kenyatta.

"If we all do the same, we shall have fulfilled the pledge made in Malabo of reducing hunger, unemployment among the youth, facilitated commercial farming and promoted intra-regional trade since there will be more produced by the farmer," said Kenyatta.

The meeting is running under the theme Seize the moment, and Deliver major new investments for African Agriculture. It is reminding leaders to make new commitments and increase funding in new investments for African farmers and agriculture businesses.

For a transformation to be realized according to President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, agriculture should be linked to a broader transformation agenda of countries through priority sectors like energy and road networks, advised Kagame.

He added that 70% of the population in Rwanda depends on agriculture which contributes to 32%  the GDP indicating that there is greater potential of transforming agriculture for better success stories. This has been possible because they aligned they aligned the priorities in the development plans.

"We have been able to do this by encouraging crop intensification, proper land management systems to avoid land conflicts, mechanization of agriculture, provision of improved seed among others to promote sector growth," said Kagame.

Commissioner Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union Commission said implementation of the commitments is still lacking in many countries while the sector has grown in countries that are implementing the agenda like Rwanda, Ethiopia.

"Commitments at country level should be implemented and this can be done with support from donors, civil society organizations, legislators among others," she said.Dr.Agnes Kalibata from AGRA said for transformation to be replied, there is need for partnerships for technology transfer and research to help farmers with lasted tools and technologies that can increase production.

To help steer the transformation, it was important to engage heads of state in this year meeting to listen to concerns of the stakeholders and make decisions.


"To do things differently, we decided to invite our leaders to seize the moment and talk about their contributions and deliberate strategies to pursue and help a farmer who is getting frustrated," explained Kalibata.

 

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