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Govt., partners’ commitments to Africa agriculture faltering

Abdoulie Janneh, UNECA bossAbdoulie Janneh, UNECA boss (Photo: uneca.org)
June 25, 2012

---ECA boss on years of neglect

Africa’s development partners have not delivered on their commitment to significantly increase support to agriculture on the continent, the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Abdoulie Janneh has said.

But at the same time, Janneh said that less than 10 African countries have themselves allocated 10 percent of their budget to agriculture as agreed at the African Union Summit in Maputo nearly ten years ago.

According to the ECA Executive Secretary, due to years of neglect, African agriculture is still marked by smallholder subsistence farms, low technology agricultural production systems and poor infrastructure.

He said private investment in the sector has also been impeded by a lack of enabling policy and institutional environments.

A press release from the ECA Information section said the commission’s boss was speaking during a side event on "Green growth and sustainable development: regional perspectives" organized by the five UN Regional Commissions during the recent Rio+20 conference.

In order to achieve food security, Janneh said Africa's agriculture needs to be transformed through an integrated approach to "more productive, competitive and market-oriented agricultural systems grounded on sustainable farming systems and business models."

He said the African Union's Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) could help Africa achieve this transformation.

CAADP is a coherent African-led and African-owned framework targeted at achieving an annual growth rate of 6 percent in agriculture,  developing dynamic domestic and regional agricultural markets making Africa a be exporter of agricultural products and strategic player in agricultural science and technology development and ensuring sustainable management of the natural resource base.

Janneh said that in order for Africa to realize the CAADP promise and its full potential of greening agriculture for enhanced food security, the continent's farmers should be "linked backward to agricultural input markets and forward to product markets which, with rapid urbanization, are increasingly demanding for processed food and agricultural products". 

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