Some 2000 delegates from across Africa gathered on Wednesday in Kigali, Rwanda for the 8th annual African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2018, aimed at developing strategies to increase yields and income for small holder farmers. According to AGRA, smallholder farmers produce about 75 percent of the food supply in Africa and yet account for 80 percent of the continent’s extreme poor people.
President of Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Dr. Agnes Kalibata said time has arrived for Africa to create economic stability through Agriculture. She said that capacity and the capability to deliver in Agriculture, in Africa is a major challenge. She emphasised that Africa should aim at increasing the production yields when they think of food production in their respective countries.
Professor John Mellor said that over the past decade African countries have been doing well in economic growth although Agriculture production is still lagging behind. This is a result of factors such as weak access to market, inadequate extension services and poor irrigation facilities, to mention a few. He said the theme of the workshop “Lead, Measure and Grow” is relevant and urged all of Africa to find ways to grow through Agriculture and leadership.
In a plenary debate, a delegate emphasised that people should refrain from depending on rain to produce food. “Crops don’t need rain, they need water,” he said raising a concern that in some cases, crops die near water streams while people claim to be waiting for the rain to plough. He said that people should change their mindset and work hard to produce food and reduce poverty in Africa.
Agriculture transformation affects African human capital, therefore the need for coming up with implementable strategies. “Without leadership, Africa will not be able to consolidate the mandate of Agriculture transformation, so we urge member states to design policies and implement them,” said Prof Mellor. He also urged countries to increase youth participation in Agriculture and not only to teach them about farming but also producing, packaging and marketing.
He said Agriculture education and training are also essential to make a transformation in Agriculture. So far, Botswana has the best soil for potatoes in Africa. Ministers from different countries of Africa will tomorrow (Saturday) on the last day of the forum meet, to find the way forward for improving the state of Agriculture in Africa.