By Jimoh Babatunde in Abidjan- Cote D’Ivoire
Nigeria has been chosen as one of the priority countries to benefit from the US $280 million Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA) launched today at the 2017 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.
The multi-million dollar partnership put together by the Bill & Melinda Gate Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is to catalyze and sustain inclusive agricultural transformation in at least 11 countries in Africa, which will in turn increase incomes and improves the food security of 30 million smallholder farm households.
Other countries in the innovative and transformative partnership and financing vehicle to drive inclusive agriculture transformation across the continent include Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique.
The PIATA is an important collaboration between donors that align behind the Malabo agenda agreed to by African Heads of State and Government in 2004.
PIATA is one of the various means by which each of the partners are supporting African countries to deliver on agricultural transformation as the partnership will allow partners to align and complement existing efforts, making new investments in developing input systems, value chains and policy where they will have the most impact.
Mr. Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director of Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office, while expressing happiness being part of the partnership said “ We see it as an opportunity to leverage even more from the partners and their huge networks, for greater impact .”
He added “we are looking forward to deploying the technologies that we have developed over the years, together with our shared knowledge and grant support, to work with our esteemed partners.
“Together we hope to catalyze Africa’s pursuit for prosperity through agriculture. PIATA is critical in our ongoing push to build the resilience of farmers and systems that affect them, especially in light of increasing challenges such as climate change, among others.”
Also speaking at the unveiling of the partnership, the Executive Director of the Global Growth and Opportunity Division of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Rodger Voorhies, said “We have seen significant progress when countries recognize the critical importance of agriculture to their economic development and help catalyze agriculture transformation with targeted investments, evidence-based policies and strong national plans.”
He said PIATA is an exciting platform that can help countries take the lead in driving agricultural transformation, “our investment reflects our desire to help countries develop high-quality plans linked to national and continental accountability frameworks.”
For Mr. Sean Jones, the Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Food Security, USAID, PIATA offers a new way of doing business across the many public and private actors working to ensure food security and economic growth as called for in country-owned visions and goals laid out in the Malabo Declaration.
“Agriculture is at its core a private sector enterprise, and one of the best bets for job creation and inclusive growth when the right policies and investments allow the private sector to flourish. This partnership offers an innovative mechanism to unlock this investment and realize many targets laid out in the Global Food Security Strategy approved by our Congress.”
While welcoming the new partnership, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President , Alliance For a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) , expressed her belief that the new initiative would contribute significantly to accelerating Africa’s path to prosperity by growing inclusive economies and jobs through agriculture.
“We have witnessed significant progress in our agricultural transformation over the past decade, with countries that have prioritized the sector recording notable drops in poverty levels, improved food security and inclusive economic growth.”
She added “PIATA will be critical in bringing key players together to support governments in their push to fully unlock the potential of Africa’s stallholder farming and agribusiness as the surest drivers of job creation and the continent’s inclusive economic transformation.”