Africa urged to prioritize agricultural transformation
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, February 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The special meeting of the Permanent Secretaries of Ministries of Agriculture and Local Government and Development Working Group Leaders on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) National Agriculture Investment Plans ( NAIPs), on Country Post-Compact and Investment Plans Implementation, opened today 11 February 2014, at the African Union Commission Headquarters with a call for African leaders to place agricultural transformation at the top of their agendas.
Officially opening the three day meeting, Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture, H.E AtoTefera Derbew, said that without a successful agricultural transformation, it would be difficult to sustain agricultural growth.
“Agriculture transformation should still be high on the agenda and efforts should be exerted to include production and productivity to provide livelihood, raise income and create jobs and wealth,” he said.
Minister Derbew also commended the AU for declaring 2014 as the Year of Agriculture and Food Security noting that it would be an opportunity to review past CAADP implementation challenges and would afford stakeholders the chance to identify what works and to chart the way forward for the next decade.
AUC Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, H.E Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, applauded AU Member States for driving the CAADP agenda in their countries, thereby demonstrating ownership and leadership.
She expressed her delight that to date, 40 African Countries had signed CAADP compacts, many of which have credible National Investment Plans under implementation.
Mrs. Tumusiime noted that it was now more important than ever, not only to sustain the momentum of raising agricultural growth, but also to put in place a robust system of social protection that productively integrates vulnerable social groups to the growth agenda.
“Since our focus is on implementation for results and impact, we will emphasize on key instruments to help us achieve this objective and we will largely focus on monitoring and reporting progress in line with jointly agreed commitments and targets as well as mutual accountability,” she said.
Chair of the development partners' task team and Programme Manager of the European Union Delegation to the African Union, Mr. Eulogio Montijano, in his remarks, stated that there was need to support a sustainable and inclusive agriculture as a key engine of growth, jobs, poverty reduction and food security.
He said it was for that reason that the decision by the African Union to declare 2014 the African Year of Agriculture and Food Security was supported by development partners as it would give agricultural policies a renewed thrust for the next decade.
Mr. Montijano further acknowledged the CAADP Results Frameworks, which the AUC is currently defining, as an important tool, which should significantly contribute to better identifying the priority areas of the agriculture for growth agenda.
The three day meeting is meant to: i. Share National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs) implementation progress and challenges and identify lessons learned;
ii. Discuss and identify lessons from efforts to coordinate and align donor assistance to specific components of NAIPs;
iii. Review and discuss the 2014 areas of focus and work streams/thematic areas being proposed to sustain momentum and sharpen focus on implementation efforts;
iv. Review and discuss areas of focus to accelerate the impact of NAIPs and investments on poverty and hunger reduction.
Also in attendance was Sierra Leonne Minister of Agriculture, H.E Sam Sesay and other high level government representatives from Africa as well as international organisations and development partners.