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AGRF closes with concrete outcomes to transform African agriculture

Source: agrforum.com

Accra, Ghana, 4 September 2010 – A series of outcomes from the inaugural African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) has moved a united Africa forward in the quest to transform agriculture and tackle food security.

Closing the forum in Accra, Ghana, AGRF Chair, Kofi Annan, praised the efforts of public and private institutions, development organisations, the donor community and farmers, to accelerate the green revolution in Africa.

“Today we move forward, strongly united and passionately committed to the concrete actions that we have jointly developed,” said Mr Annan.

AGRF Executive Co-Producer, Akin Adesina, said the meetings kick-started a new phase in the African green revolution:

“We have brought together in Accra great minds and strong spirits who, even as they depart in different directions, will stay bound by the common purpose and firm outcomes we have agreed on here.”

On the third, and final, day of the event, the AGRF agreed to pool efforts and resources to scale up breadbasket project plans and investment blueprints for agricultural growth corridors.

Ghanaian Minister for Agriculture, Kwasi Ahwoi, invited new partners to join the Ghana breadbasket initiative.

The Prime Minister of Tanzania, H.E. Mizengo Pinda, agreed to finalise a blueprint for the Tanzania Southern Corridor by January 2011.

In a communiqué issued to delegates, the moderators of breakout panel sessions published a series of concrete outcomes of the AGRF, including:

· empowerment of women throughout the agricultural chain by accelerating access to improved technology, finance and markets

· backing for the Impact Investment Fund for African Agriculture to scale up access to finance by farmers and agri-businesses

· investment for science, technology and research for food nutrition security

· accelerated access to improved seed by promoting the entire value chain, including support for plant breeding, seed companies and seed distribution systems

· improved fertilizer supply systems and more efficient fertilizer value chains

· more inclusive business models linking agri-business, commercial farms and smallholder farmers

· better water management
· mixed crop livestock systems

To ensure progress is made on the firm commitments, the AGRF issued to delegates a detailed plan of action.

Government and development groups including the African Union and AGRA will conduct peer review assessments to ensure various science and technology inventions and innovations are implemented as soon as possible.

“I am delighted to see that we have agreed monitoring mechanisms on the actions,” said Jorgen Ole Haslestad, CEO of Yara, strategic partner of the AGRF.

Agri-business companies Yara and Syngenta said at the AGRF they are working towards a new land use initiative to create a fact-based dialogue and to better understand the interaction of agriculture and climate change.

The road ahead

Those implementing new commitments will not lack resources:

“We pledge ourselves to work with all other key partners to ensure that capacity is not a limiting factor in the green revolution,” said Namanga Ngongi, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the organisation that founded the AGRF alongside Yara.

Mr Annan thanked the government leaders, including H.E. Mizengo Pinda, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, and the Hon. John Dramani Mahama, Vice President of Ghana, who had taken part in the AGRF.

“These gracious, impassioned leaders threw their political weight behind this shining moment of transformation for Africa,” said Mr Annan.

And he urged governments and parliamentarians to help eradicate poverty and realise the dream of a green revolution.

“The time for action is now. For as you leave this forum, you are carrying upon your shoulders the vibrant hopes of a generation and a continent. We will not dash the dream of the African farmer,” said Mr Annan.

“With our hands on the plough, we will till this beautiful land's soil together, and help Africa reap a bountiful harvest.”