ABABA, (Xinhua) -- Regional
institutions like the African Union (AU) must find ways to
enable African farmers entrepreneurs to get access to credit
from banks towards boosting agriculture and intra-Africa trade,
said Fracesco Rampa, Program Manager of the European Center
Development Policy Management (ECDPM).
Participation of farmers’
organizations is increasing in joint initiatives like the
comprehensive Africa’s agriculture development program (CAADP),
said Rampa to reporters revealing that the financial
institutions in Africa like banks are missing as they still
believe the agriculture sector is too risky. A high-level panel
on Wednesday convened discussion at AU Headquarters in
Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa in the context of the recently
adopted by AU heads of states of Malabo declaration on
accelerated agricultural growth and transformation in Africa.
The panel dwelt upon the main
drivers or blockages to intra- Africa trade and also ways of
meeting the target of tripling intra- Africa agricultural trade.
The multi-stakeholder dialogue
deliberated on ways to boost intra-African agricultural trade
through more effective continental and regional trade agreements
and the promotion of inclusive regional value chain development,
thus implementing the commitments and meeting the targets set by
African Heads of State in the Declaration.
During their summit in Malabo,
AU heads of states in June asked member states towards tripling
intra-African agriculture trade by 2025, which is very ambitious
target, recalled Rampa.
“And also heads of states in
June asked private sector and public sector to work together
to strengthen value chain in an inclusive way to benefit from
the increased activities in agriculture,” he said.
“This is very ambitious
target and today we started to address the how. So, once we
all agreed that these are important targets that we make sure
that everyone works in partnership to address those targets
and make sure everyone is on board to achieve them,” said the
AU member states look into the
next 10 years to achieve the target of tripling the intra-Africa
agricultural trade, which stands at 10 percent now.
Asked by reporters whether the
target will be achieved, he said, “If everyone believes that
CAADP is the unifying framework to achieve that targets, I think
we can make it. If everyone starts to go in different directions
it remains a chaos. But I think CAADP is an answer to try to
“They look it into the next
10 years. It is going to be a challenge because today
intra-African agriculture trade stands more or less only 10
percent of the whole trade of African agricultural goods also
compared to the rest of the world. So, we are quite far from
enhancing that and tripling it. But, I think that CAADP has
put in place the right public-private partnership approach to
In their deliberations,
participants of the multi-stakeholder dialogue today underlined
a couple of points including building trust between public and
private, and implementation of the already signed protocols,
according to the Programme Manager.
He stated that participation of
farmers’ organizations increasing in the common initiative like
He also underlined the need to
involve banks to make credit available to framers entrepreneurs.
“What is missing is the
financial institutions; banks in Africa still believe
agriculture is a bit too risky; very difficult for framers
entrepreneurs to get access to credit. So, I think institutions
like regional institutions AU must find way to involve banks,”
Experts urge African farmers
to seek loans for improved seed
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Africa’s soil
experts have called on the continent’s smallholder farmers to
get affordable loans to enable them purchase improved seeds and
fertilizers to boost production.
Bashir Jama, Director of Soil
Health Program with Alliance for Green Revolution for Africa’s
(AGRA), said in Nairobi late Tuesday that crop yields increases
when the soil health is improved with the support of
“Soil health alone cannot
make farmers feed the population and earn their deserved
profits from the activity,”said Jama, adding that the best
approach is one that integrates organic and inorganic sources
Jama told governments and
policy makers to support farmers in providing them with markets
to sell their produce, and also avail them with reliable
information to help change their way of operation given that
Africa’s soil is largely degraded.
He called for the involvement
of the private sector in smallholder farming, adding that though
lowly graded, small scale farmers play a bigger role in the
President of the International
Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) Isaac Bekalo observed
that the increasing population in the continent requires good
soil health to help boost food productivity. He said experts
must start giving advice to farmers in innovative farming
techniques that allow them earn profits in shorter periods.
“The policy on land ownership
by women and the youth need to be put in place to enable them
reap full benefits from farming given that they form the bulk
of farmers in the continent,” Bekalo said.
He said governments must start
giving farmers subsidies on seeds and farm implements as a way
of boosting their moral in farming.
“We must borrow a leaf from
Asia and Europe that had made a shift in their farming
techniques and are today giving food aid to Africa,” he added.
Lindiwe Sibanda, Chief
Executive of Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy
Network (FANRPAN), said that investing in soil health benefits
the livelihoods of millions of poor and disadvantaged farmers,
including women and young people. She called for intensified
training and capacity building of farmers and agro-service
Jama revealed that AGRA’s Soil
Health Program that was started in 2008 has created physical and
financial access to soil nutrients and fertilizers for about 4.1
million household farmers.
The program also aims to
improve these farmers’ access to appropriate knowledge,
agronomical practices, and technology packages on integrated
soil fertility management, and also influence policy
environments for investment in this technology.
African small scale farmers
call for increased spending in agriculture
SALAAM, (Xinhua) -- Small scale
farmers from eastern and southern African countries on Friday
urged governments in the region to increase public spending in
Alfayo Kurunah, the chairman of
the Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers’ Forum (ESAFF),
said small scale farmers were the majority of African citizens.
“We are much more able than
large-scale farming and agribusiness to contribute to the
African economic growth, generation of food security and
sustainability in agriculture,” he said in the commercial
capital Dar es Salaam.
The forum brings together small
scale farmers from Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda,
Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Madagascar, Seychelles, Mozambique,
Swaziland, South Africa, Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of
Kurunah said in 2011 Uganda
invested 6 U.S. dollars per year with a 1.4 agricultural sector
growth while Tanzania invested 18 U. S. dollars, achieving 4.1
agricultural sector growth.
He added that Rwanda, which
invested 43 U.S. dollars per capita, had higher agricultural
“This demonstrates that an
increase in per capita public investment in agriculture
contributes to increase in agricultural sector growth and thus
lifting the lives of small scale farmers out of poverty,” said
governments in the region should at least invest 10 per cent of
their national budgets to the agricultural sector.