Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has been given a key role in the G8’s next phase of a shared commitment to achieve global food security, the Alliance said in a statement made available to PANA here.
It said the Scaling Seeds and Other Technologies Partnership, part of the new initiative focused on increasing agricultural food production in Africa, would be housed at AGRA and would focus on strengthening Africa’s seed sector.
“African food security will only be met by increased agricultural production,” the statement quoted Strive Masiyiwa, AGRA’s acting chair, as saying while addressing the G8 leaders and four African heads of state at the G8 Summit.
” The approach being put forward by the G8 is modeled on some of AGRA’s on-going work on behalf of Africa’s smallholder farmers and we are pleased to play a major role in this global initiative,” he said.
The Scaling Seeds and Other Technologies Partnership will strengthen the seed sector and promote the commercialization, distribution and adoption of key technologies to improve seed varieties, and other technologies to meet concrete targets in partner countries.
“AGRA is working with its main partners to create breadbaskets in Africa through support to smallholder farmers,” said Jane Karuku, AGRA President. “We are now seeing smallholder farmers prospering due to bigger crop yields and entire communities benefiting from the growth of small agribusinesses.”
AGRA has also invested in training African scientists who will develop research capacity, and strengthen the capacity of seed companies both technically and in terms of management capability.
It has established MSc and PhD programmes at 13 key African universities – more than 400 post- graduate students have been enrolled, a hundred of whom have graduated. This represents a quarter of the scientists known to be working in this field today.
AGRA’s experts believe that 1,000 new scientists in this field are required to sustain the Green Revolution. To date, these and other AGRA-supported scientist have produced 342 new crop varieties – a 100 percent increase in available improved varieties.
Host US President Barack Obama invited four African leaders to the recent G8 Summit at the presidential resort in Camp David to discuss food security in Africa.
The leaders are Presidents Boni Yayi of Benin, John Atta Mills of Ghana and Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, as well as Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
They were joined by business leaders and civil society groups to discuss agricultural development and food security in Africa as part of the G8 summit.
At the end of the summit, President Obama announced a US$3 billion pledge as a part of a policy to promote agriculture revolution on the African continent.
-0- PANA OR/SEG 23May2012