By Christine Lagat
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Heads of state and
government from several African countries on Wednesday renewed
political commitment to hasten green revolution in the continent.
The leaders who spoke at the sixth Africa Green Revolution Forum in
Nairobi agreed that political action, financing, policy reforms and
technology adoption were key to revolutionize food production in
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in his opening remarks said that
a vibrant agriculture sector is key to socio-economic renewal across
the African continent.
"Agriculture provides an avenue for decent jobs and incomes for
key demographics like women and youth. The sector is eleven times
more effective in reducing poverty," Kenyatta said.
Thousands of delegates from government, industry, academia and
civil society are attending the sixth African green revolution forum
that runs from Sept. 5 to 9.
The high-level forum will discuss and adopt sweeping declarations
to advance food security agenda in Africa.
Kenyatta said that robust partnerships were an imperative to
strengthen the capacity of African countries to implement
continental instruments on advancing agricultural transformation.
He singled out speedy implementation of Malabo Declaration
endorsed by African leaders in 2014 to revolutionize farming in
order to boost food security and rural incomes.
"We pledged in Malabo to double agricultural productivity levels
by 2025 and make it a multi-billion dollar industry.
"Therefore, we must integrate continental vision of agricultural
transformation into domestic policies," said Kenyatta
He disclosed the Kenyan government will invest 200 million U.S.
dollars over the next five years to ensure young farmers have access
to finance, inputs and markets.
"The new financing will also support value addition and
agro-processing," Kenyatta told delegates
Transformation of the agriculture sector in Africa is directly
linked to economic growth, shared prosperity and peaceful
Rwandan President Paul Kagame said private sector investments,
adoption of improved crop varieties and streamlined value chains
will boost productivity of the agriculture sector in Africa.
"A transformed agriculture sector will be the bedrock of Africa’s
future prosperity," Kagame remarked, adding that supportive policies
alongside investments in energy and transport infrastructure will
enhance productivity of agriculture sector in Africa.
Rising land prices, soil
infertility inhibit Africa’s agricultural growth
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Agriculture experts on Tuesday cited declining soil
fertility and rising prices as key challenges inhibiting high
productivity in the agriculture sector in Africa.
Speaking at the ongoing Sixth African Green Revolution Forum in
Nairobi, the experts noted that 28 percent of rural Africa’s
cultivated land is considered to be degrading over time, a cause of
low food security and low economic growth.
Thomas Jayne, a professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food,
and Resource Economics at Michigan State University claimed African
farmers have used fertilizer for long and thus leading to diluting
of key nutrients in the soil.
Experts observed that even though there has been progressive
performance in the sector for the last 10 years, soil has lost
strength to boost production.
David Ameyaw, head of Monitoring and Evaluation for Alliance for
Green Revolution in Africa noted that land prices also appear to
have risen dramatically in areas of high agro-ecological potential
within reasonable proximity of urban areas.
“These trends have created new stresses on the ability of customary
tenure systems to protect small-scale farmers land from
encroachment. The region has experienced rising demand for
agricultural land both from international and national companies as
well as urban investor farmers,” Ameyaw said.
In Kenya land prices have increased by more than 100 percent in the
last decades. This has led to sale of prime agricultural land in
some of the counties near Nairobi.
Ameyaw said governments have also become increasingly aware of the
potential for revenue generation from the lease of agricultural land
and many are reportedly putting pressure on customary land
administration institutions to gain leverage over unutilized rural
“This trend is particularly problematic given that land rights under
most customary systems are almost by definition undocumented,” he
African farmers challenged by
limited market access
NAKURU, (Xinhua) --
As stakeholders in agriculture from different parts
of the world converge in Nairobi for a global forum to deliberate on
issues bedeviling farmers in Africa, the desire of Kenyan farmers is
that they find headway to their hurdles in accessing profitable
The week-long African Green Revolution Forum which kicked off in
Nairobi on Monday seeks to look into challenges of farmers in the
African continent and put forth action plans for solving them.
“Getting a market where you can sell your maize, potatoes, carrots
or any other produce and making a profit is a big challenge to
farmers,” said Margaret Munga, a member of the Mau Narok Rural
Farmers Sacco in Rift Valley, Kenya.
Many of the rural farmers who mainly depend on agriculture for their
daily livelihood are finding it hard to sustain their farming due to
low profits against high cost of farm inputs, she said.
“Helping farmers identify a good market and assist them access it is
the best way to assist them reap the benefits of their farming
activities,” noted the mixed small scale farmer who mainly grows
carrots, potatoes, green peas and rears dairy cattle.
For Samuel Muraya, a hardworking farmer in Bahati, north of Nakuru
County, finding a long-term solution to brokerage would give farmers
a broad advantage to huge profits.
Muraya grows peanuts, tomatoes, carrots, kales, spinach, and passion
fruits. He also has beehives and dairy cattle. He says his key
customers are the brokers who buy in bulk at their own predetermined
“Brokers know how to make money out of farmers. They will bargain
until you give up and sell to them at their own price,” he said.
“It is better you sell to them at a throw-away price than make a
total loss. You cannot afford to let go a customer because tomatoes
cannot stay for too long before they are consumed,” he added.
“I consider throwing away rotten produce a painful loss. That is
throwing away all the capital and the little profit you could make
out of it,” he said.
He said the rural farmers should be educated on how to overcome the
challenge of marketing the produce.
According to him, forming associations to collectively sell the
produce is a good practice but ensuring accountability, transparency
and sustainability is a major obstacle.
Kibet Korir, an agricultural specialist said rural farmers need not
just information on good farming practices but also profitable
“From my experience in training farmers, I have realized that they
are willing and ready to adopt new ways of farming to boost the
harvests,” he said.
“But the question is what happens after the high yields? Are they
able to say they significantly increased their profits by capturing
a well-paying market or they feel disappointed because they have to
sell them at the same throw-away price?” he said.
Korir recognizes the need to establish and efficiently implement
policies that support farmers in accessing the regional markets such
as in Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania.
report by Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
noted that linking the farmers to the urban centers where they can
access markets would stimulate agricultural productivity and further
Africa, at least 80 percent of the population live in the rural
areas and survive on farming activities, according to the Food and
Agriculture Organization. However, apart from limited access to
profitable markets, they also face numerous challenges including
fluctuating food prices, high-cost farm inputs, impacts of climate
change and soil infertility, among others.