Cote d’Ivoire: African leaders urge further steps to actualize the green revolution

Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire (PANA) - The future of Africa’s agriculture looked brighter this week when leaders from across the continent converged in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, to discuss strategies to empower the African farmer to move their produce from the farms into larger industrial complexes.

At the 7th African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), which held its meeting 4-8 Sept. 2017 at the behest of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to explore strategies for industrializing continental agriculture, African political leaders offered solutions and discussed challenges to the continental green agenda.

“It could be done,” said Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, referring to the measures required to be in place for the continent to achieve a green revolution, including starting joint agricultural research institutes to cooperate in the delivery of solutions to countries key food security challenges.

The Liberian leader also called for proper land management strategies for agriculture. Insisting that forestry and mining were increasingly competing for agricultural land, the Liberian leader called for efforts to be intensified in order to make African agricultural land more economically productive.

“The issue of land in our countries has an economic impact. The access to agricultural land has been a challenge. Currently, only 4% of the land is under cultivation while forestry occupies 27%,” President Sirleaf told leaders attending the Summit in Abidjan, this week.

The Liberian leader regretted land disputes have partly impeded the growth of agriculture in her country.

Addressing the AGRF, Ivorian President Allassane Ouattara, said the continent’s agricultural progress was hampered greatly by the impact of climate change.

The Ivorian leader appealed to western nations to support measures to contain climate change.
When the African leaders met at this year’s AGRF Summit, which attracted one of the highest number of attendants, including several heads of state and government, the effort by the AfDB to boost agriculture financing dominated the discussions.

President Ouattara said the Bank’s "High Five," which puts agriculture as central to achieving Africa’s industrialization agenda, has helped to advance agriculture and make it central to government plans.

In Cote d’Ivoire, President Ouattara said agriculture contributed 16% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with at least 60% of the population living on agriculture.

President Ouattara said the fact that more people depended on a sector whose contribution to the national economy was still minimal, meant the challenge of growing agriculture still remained.

The Ivorian leader said the collaboration between agriculture and forestry could also impact positively on efforts to combat climate change.

The African leaders who attended the agricultural revolution summit emphasised the need for the agriculture sector to generate more jobs for the youth to stop the mass exodus out of Africa.

“Agriculture is a source of jobs. We need to educate our youth on the availability of the jobs in the agriculture sector. We need to do more to promote domestic investments in agriculture,” President Ouattara said.

Insisting on the need to expand the agriculture sector, President Ouattara said Cote d’Ivoire, which covers 320,000 square kilometers, was formerly a leading exporter of coffee before the sector collapsed.

The Ivorian leader said efforts to revive the sector saw it achieve a 9% annual growth between 2012 and 2016. “This is a considerable achievement,” President Ouattara said. Cote d’Ivoire has raised its food production to 24 million tonnes in 2016 from 16 million tonnes in 2011.

The African leaders, heads of international research agencies and financiers of agriculture, attended the AGRF Summit, which aimed to accelerate the financing of agriculture.

Current heads of state and former leaders, including former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria), Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania) and John Kufuor (Ghana), attended the Summit, which was due to end Friday, in Abidjan, with new financial investment pledges.

In 2016, at least US$30 billion was pledged for investment in Africa's agriculture sector.
-0- PANA AO 8Sept2017

08 september 2017 19:50:19

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