Midrand, 20 April 2010 - Agriculture is the cornerstone of the African economy and it is crucial for African governments to step up their investment in this sector if hunger, food insecurity and poverty are to be eliminated, in line with the continent’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The delegates at the 6th Partnership Platform Meeting of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which will take place from 22nd - 23rd April 2010, at the Birchwood Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa, are expected to place strong emphasis on this increased investment.“If we are going to make poverty history in Africa, we have to improve food security, nutrition and incomes in Africa’s largely agrarian economies,” says Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA). “These are the interlinked goals of CAADP through which African governments are committed to an annual increase in agricultural productivity of 6% by investing at least 10% of national budgets in agriculture. The newly-established NPCA, an implementing agency of the AU, which has replaced the NEPAD Secretariat, will carry on working to ensure that countries have access to expert knowledge and resources for CAADP implementation.”The meeting will be attended by government ministers, high-level representatives from the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA), Regional Economic Communities, the African Union Commissioner for Agriculture, development partners and African Ministers of Agriculture and will provide an opportunity for peer interaction, review and experience sharing among the core institutions and partners involved in CAADP implementation. The forum will review progress and country-level experiences in implementation since the previous meeting in November 2009 as well as various strategic issues pertaining to the acceleration of implementation.“CAADP was conceived and led by Africans rather than being imposed from outside Africa,” explains Prof. Richard Mkandawire, Adviser for Agriculture and head of of CAADP at the NPCA. “Consequently it has achieved a level of unprecedented political endorsement and continent-wide focus.”Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union Commission says that this meeting will take place at a time when international and global dialogue is currently focused on agricultural performance, food security and climate change and this meeting will provide the opportunity to discuss policy design and ways to improve agriculture in Africa and the lives of farmers and farming communities.“CAADP’s agenda reflects a fundamental shift in the way Africa’s leadership looks at agriculture and its potential contribution to ending poverty and hunger. The African Union at country, regional and international level has placed agriculture, food and nutrition security high on the agenda and the development partners have pledged to step up their financial and technical support,” concludes Commissioner Tumusiime.