Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture Josefa Sacko has called on member states to invest more in irrigated agriculture so as to wean themselves from dependence on rainfed agriculture.
Speaking at the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Commissioner said irrigated agriculture will help member states increase agricultural production.
“Climate change is a major challenge to continued productivity, we need to begin to think differently so as to ensure that our continent has sufficient foods,” said Sacko
Sacko and the Director for Rural Economy and Agriculture Dr. Geoffrey Bahiigwa appealed to member states to also adhere to the commitments contained in the Malabo Declaration of 2014 on Agricultural Transformation dubbed, “Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods.”
The commitments include; the pursuit of agriculture-led growth as a main strategy to achieve targets on food and nutrition security and shared prosperity; commitment to enhance investment finance, both public and private, to agriculture; Commitment to Ending Hunger in Africa by 2025;
The others are, commitment to accelerate agricultural growth by at least doubling current agricultural productivity levels, by the year 2025 by sustaining reliable production and access to quality and affordable inputs (for crops, livestock, fisheries,); Commitment to Halving Poverty by the year 2025, through Inclusive Agricultural Growth and Transformation; Commitment to Boosting Intra-African Trade in Agricultural commodities and services;
The rest are; Commitment to harnessing markets and trade opportunities, locally, regionally and internationally; Commitment to reduce vulnerabilities of the livelihoods of the African population through building resilience of systems; and Commitment to a systematic regular review process, using the CAADP Results Framework, of the progress made in implementing the provisions of the Declaration.
The Commissioner together with the Director urged for investment in meteorological infrastructure in Africa so as to enable to collection of usable information that can be developed into policies for development.
“Access to usable data has been a major problem in Africa, hence we need member states to invest in such infrastructure so that when policies are made they are made from concrete data,” said Sacko.
Bahiigwa said the Fall Armyworm infestation is posing the biggest challenge to food security on the continent.
“We are working with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and at the same time collecting information and sharing it with member states to help find a solution to the pest,” said Bahiigwa.
He however and called for political will through the ministers of agriculture to enable the implementation of policies developed at the African Union.