African governments have been called upon to begin to address emerging challenges facing the agriculture sector if they hope to address increasing food needs.
Speaking at the African Union headquarters, the Commissioner in charge of Rural Economy and Agriculture Josefa Sacko called on African states to remain true to both the Maputo Declaration and the Malabo Declaration on Agriculture Transformation.
The Commissioner urged member states that are not on track to recommit themselves to CAADP Malabo Declaration of 2014 on agriculture transformation.
Noting that Africa is facing enormous challenges of climate change and food insecurity, Sacko said by aligning their national plans to the seven pillars agreed in the Malabo Declaration, African states will be able to grow the agriculture sector using targeted and strategic funding to the sector, “and improve the livelihoods of our people.”
She called on the African states to remain true to the Maputo declaration of 2003 and increase direct funding to the agriculture sector to 10% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“While farmers know their work and can produce enough to boost food security, lack of financing is the main constraint to scaling up agriculture on the continent,” she said and added, “We must make agriculture ‘sexy’ to get the youth engaged productively in agriculture so as to boost productivity and to view agriculture as a business.”
She asked member states to develop all inclusive land policies that allow the engagement of women in land tenure systems so as to involve the female gender productively in agriculture.
“If a woman do not have access to land, she will not have collateral for accessing financing,” said Sacko and added, “we are in the process of establishing the office of coordinator for land policies at the Department for Rural Economy and Agriculture.”
Speaking at the 3rd Leadership Retreat of Permanent Secretaries and Secretaries General of Agriculture meeting at the African Union headquarters, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sacko said “the African Union Commission, NEPAD Agency and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) consider that it is very important that Permanent Secretaries take the leading role in acceleration the technical aspects of the implementation of CAADP.”
She appealed to the PSs to critically discuss how Biennial Review Report can advance the agriculture transformation agenda in your respective countries.
“if Agriculture transformation can happen in one country, what will it require to make the same in other countries so that we collectively move as a bloc for the benefit of our citizens” she posed.
According to the report findings, only 20 countries of the 47 who reported are on track to achieving the Malabo commitments.
The seven commitments include; Recommitting on CAADP process, Enhancing investment Finance in Agriculture, Ending Hunger by 2025 and Halving Poverty through Agriculture by 2025.
The rest are; Boosting Intra-African Trade in Agriculture Commodities, Enhancing Resilience to Climate Variability and Enhancing Mutual Accountability for Actions and Results.