Agriculture gets AU’s Priority

The 23rd Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit closed Friday evening with African countries pledging to give priority to increase their respective budgets to agriculture by 10 per cent.

This in line with Maputo declaration that calls for a minimum budgetary allocation of 10 per cent across the continent to address issues of food insecurity, hunger and acute malnutrition.

Speaking at the close of the Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the current Africa Union Chairman, President Mohamed Abdel Aziz, who is also the President of Mauritania said agriculture held the key for faster development of the continent.

“We are in agreement as leaders that some of the challenges of insecurity will be dealt with through heightened development in the continent and this includes agriculture that address food insecurity,” said President Aziz.

He said the AU had put priority in agriculture and set a target of 2025 when Africa will be completely free of hunger and malnutrition. Efforts towards ensuring food and nutrition security will be achieved through production of a wide range of crop enterprises that comprise of cereals, pulses, industrial crops, root crops, fruits and vegetables, cut flowers and; oil and nut crops.

He said governments in Africa must find ways of make agricultural inputs accessible and affordable in addition to employing modern technology for maximum yields. This can be achieved by, for example, establishing several fertilizer plants in every region of the continent so as to drastically cut cost.

Other issues given attention by the leaders include increasing trade among countries and working at having a continental free trade area.

The leaders pledged to fast-tract the Agenda 2063 and give feedback to the Vision that is already in draft form. It was agreed that development partners be involved so as to have a way of having post-2015 Agenda feed into Agenda 2063.

On proposed United Nations Security Council reforms and issues of Climate Change, it was agreed that Africa forges a common front so that by the time of United Nations General Assembly, the will be a common position across the continent.

On HIV/Aids, the countries are unanimous, they will continue fighting the scourge and closely work with development partners. They promised to explore ways of manufacturing medicines in the continent.