Dr Kofi Annan, Co-Chairman of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and former Secretary-General of the UN, said AGRA has reached 17 sub-Sahara African countries with 330 new crop varieties.
In a keynote address at the 2012 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Arusha, Tanzania, Annan said the crop varieties were developed by AGRA since its inception.
He said that more than one million small holder farmers had benefited through training on improved storage systems and post- harvest handling techniques.
While thanking AGRA supporters and partners, Annan stressed the need for African nations to tackle the legacy of chronic under-funding in agriculture if they must achieve the desired goals of food and nutritional security.
He added that the trend would ensure food security at home and help it continentally in the long-term, noting that the challenge was to realise a dream of a more prosperous and equitable future for all Africans.
“Global food system is under extreme pressure because of ever increasing food crisis, yet, it is also the continent with abundant land resources where long-term solutions to global food and nutrition security can be found,” he said.
According to him, much had been achieved in scaling up Africa’s Green Revolution by providing investments, but there is room for complacency and momentum must be maintained on action required by every partner.
He further said developed countries and private sector organisations must keep promises of increased support for Africa’s agriculture with all the uncertainty and fiscal challenges it faces.
The Chairman said African governments must uphold the bargain on agricultural investments to rise to at least 10 per cent levels of national budget as pledged under 2003 Maputo Declaration as well as the right policies toward public-private investments.
He called for increased support and recognition to small holder farmers most of whom were women who constitute the majority of farming population that would encourage subsistence, employment opportunities and businesses.
He added that AGRA supported climate smart transformations, capital investment in farming to address large scale land acquisition that risk giving away arable lands while strengthening the resilience of farmers to climate change.
In her contribution, Melinda Gates, co-chair, AGRA and joint founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, asked African countries to promote specific visions and to remain committed to agricultural developments with focus on small holder farmers to ensure sufficient food and rich nutritional contents for their communities.
In his address, the President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, expressed commitments to agricultural growth listing the country’s efforts in support of AGRA initiatives. Kikwete appealed to donor agencies to support Africa to realise its agricultural potential and called for increased investments in agricultural research, while ensuring that support move along with demands of small holder farmers in line with modern agricultural initiatives.
The three-day programme was attended by representatives of government, donor organisations and agricultural institutions.