Wednesday, September 08, 2010

AGRA urges investment in science & technology

The first-ever three-day session organised by the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) under the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) ended in the city of Accra, Ghana, last Saturday, with participants calling for more investment in science, technology and research for food nutrition security among other agro-businesses.

A communiqué made available to ITRealms Online at the weekend, listed eight-point outcome of the meeting that attracted former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Prime Minister of Tanzania who represented the president, Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete to name a few under the chairmanship of the former United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan as the chairman of the alliance.

AGRF is a public and private sector-led forum which brings together African heads of state, ministers, farmers, private agribusiness firms, financial institutions, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), civil society and scientists to an African-led forum, with focus on promoting investments and policy support for driving agricultural productivity and income growth for African farmers in an environmentally sustainable way.

The communiqué also listed empowerment of women throughout the agricultural chain by accelerating access to improved technology, finance and markets; backing for the Impact Investment Fund for African Agriculture to scale up access to finance by farmers and agri-businesses; and accelerated access to improved seed by promoting the entire value chain, including support for plant breeding, seed companies and seed distribution systems.

AGRF also called for improved fertilizer supply systems and more efficient fertilizer value chains; more inclusive business models linking agri-business, commercial farms and smallholder farmers; better water management and mixed crop livestock systems; and to ensure progress is made on the firm commitments.

Government and development groups including the African Union and AGRA were also tasked to conduct peer review assessments to ensure various science and technology inventions and innovations are implemented as soon as possible.

Commenting on the forum outcome,  the chief executive officer of Yara and strategic partner of AGRF, Mr. Jorgen Ole Haslestad, said he was delighted to see that all agreed on monitoring mechanisms and its actions. 

On the road ahead, the communiqué stated that those implementing the new commitments would not lack resources.

Affirming this, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the organisation that founded AGRF alongside Yara, Dr. Namanga Ngongi, pledged his team would work with all partners.

“We pledge ourselves to work with all other key partners to ensure that capacity is not a limiting factor in the green revolution,” he said.

Appreciating the presence and participation of government leaders from various African countries, including Prime Minister of Tanzania, Mr. Mizengo Pinda, former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President of Ghana, Dr. John Dramani Mahama, AGRA chairman, Mr. Kofi Annan, noted that these leaders have thrown their political weight on the need to see Green Revolution in Africa.

“These gracious, impassioned leaders threw their political weight behind this shining moment of transformation for Africa,” he said, enjoining governments and parliamentarians to help eradicate poverty and realise the dream of a green revolution.

“The time for action is now. For as you leave this forum, you are carrying upon your shoulders the vibrant hopes of a generation and a continent. We will not dash the dream of the African farmer,” Mr Annan said, emphasising that with hands on the plough, Africans will till this beautiful land’s soil together, assuring that this hope of helping Africa to reap a bountiful harvest would not be dashed.

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