NAIROBI, Kenya, May 4, 2012 - An appeal has gone out to African nations to use agriculture to combat food insecurity, unemployment and population increase in the continent. Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union Commission, made the appeal at the 8th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme’s Partnership Platform in Nairobi.
The Commissioner, who was among the main speakers at the conference, praised countries that have increased their funding of agriculture in line with the goal of CAADP initiative. She urged them to ensure implementation of their agricultural investment plans and to meet their funding commitments. Noting that this year’s meeting was taking place when the Horn of Africa and the Sahel regions are experiencing drought and food insecurity, she said 70 percent of the population in the Horn lack food security. Food insecurity and malnutrition are a recurrent situation in the region, she added. The commissioner informed the meeting that the AUC, NEPAD Agency and the World Economic Forum would soon launch the Grow Africa Partnership platform, with the goal of “accelerating investments for sustainable growth in Africa agriculture.”
Also, the Director of Programmes at the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, Mrs. Estherine Fotabong, who represented Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, the agency’s chief executive officer, said Africa would need to match Asia’s agricultural productivity if it hopes to address the problems posed by rapid urbanisation, unemployment and massive population growth. According to her, Africa’s agricultural production doubled in the last 50 years while Asia’s output tripled during the same period. But with the right policies and support for the agriculture sector, the Asian success story could be replicated in Africa, she said.
Development partners, in an address delivered by USAID’s Jeff Hill, commended African countries and regional economic communities for raising their agriculture and food security agendas through the CAADP process. He assured African countries of partners’ collective political, technical and financial resources provided the CAADP initiative continues to impact positively on agricultural growth, poverty reduction and improved food and nutrition security.
The two-day meeting with the theme “Accelerating CAADP implementation for results and impacts” attracted about 200 experts, policy makers, multilateral bodies, civil society groups, development partners and farmers’ representatives from within and outside Africa.
CAADP is an Africa-owned and Africa-led initiative endorsed by the AU Assembly in July 2003 as part of the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to boost agricultural productivity.
For more information, contact:
Paul Okolo, NEPAD Agency; Paulo@nepad.org
Carol Jilombo, African Union Commission; Jilomboc@africa-union.org