Year of agriculture and food security launched at AU summit
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, January 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Newly Elected Chairperson of the African Union (AU), Mr Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz who is also the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, today launched 2014 as the year of agriculture and food security, which also marks the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP).
The AU Chairperson noted that the year of agriculture and food security comes at the time when the AU is discussing the African agenda 2063 strategic frame work for inclusive growth and sustainable development.
“For most countries agriculture constitutes indeed the battle against poverty and hunger for which we can win with economic sustainability of agriculture investment”, he said. He added that this year it is a very important to focus on the transformation of agriculture for the prosperity of all and improvement of growth and sustainable development.
True to its name, the African Year of Agriculture and Food Security will be commemorated across Africa, in member states, Regional Economic Communities, continental organisations, and at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It will be a year that gives opportunities to communities, state and non-state actors in Africa to interact, express their voices on what works and chart the focus and targets for the next decade. The process will facilitate for this voices to contribute towards setting the agenda for sustaining the CAADP momentum which forms the basis for African leaders to recommit themselves towards realizing the vision set out in 2003.
It is significant to note that to date 34 AU Member States have signed CAADP compacts; 30 among them have developed formal national agriculture and food security investment plans – and these have become their medium term expenditure frameworks for agriculture, thus resulting in improved agricultural planning. At regional level, four (4) out of eight RECs have also signed Regional compacts out of which three have developed fully costed investment plans. On average public agricultural expenditures have risen by over 7 per cent per year across Africa since 2003, nearly doubling public agricultural expenditures since the launch of CAADP.
In terms of performance, annual agricultural GDP growth has averaged nearly 4% since 2003 – well above the agricultural GDP growth rates for the previous several decades. Several member states have also achieved significant improvements in tackling the challenges of hunger, undernourishment and extreme poverty. It is important to note that in most African countries, it is the improvement of agricultural performance that can contribute towards the achievement of pro-poor growth.