NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya on Monday kicked off the 6th African Green
Revolution Forum (AGRF) to chart new path to transform the
continent’s agricultural sector and enhance food security.
A total of 1,500
agriculture experts, government leaders and high-level officials
from over 40 countries are attending the five-day meeting in
Nairobi, where they have promised to “seize the moment” and
deliver hundreds of millions of dollars in new investments for
African farmers and agricultural businesses.
Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said the
sector needs new transformation to lift the continent out of
abject poverty and low investment.
“We have over the
years witnessed attempts by various stakeholders to transform
the agriculture sector but real growth is yet to be realized,”
Bett told journalists in Nairobi.
“We need new
excitement in the sector, especially enticing the youth who
forms majority of the continent population and are quick in
adopting and implementing new technology,” he added.
participants of the forum are expected to demonstrate new
political will and commitments in order to upgrade the sector.
Heads of State from
Rwanda and Ghana are expected to highlight detailed, nationwide
agriculture development strategies covering multi-year spending
plans, policy reforms and accountability scorecards.
The theme of this
year’s forum is “Seize the Moment: Securing Africa’s Rise
through Agricultural Transformation.”
Bett explained that
a new approach is expected to transform the agriculture sector
in order to boost the state of smallholder farmers who are
majority in the sector.
“We believe Kenya is
the appropriate venue for this historic gathering because
farming and food production are the lifeblood of the Kenyan
economy and we want to set an example that others can follow,”
said Kenya’s Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Hon. Willy Bett.
“We are committed to
pushing through the policy and financial reforms that can make
farming and other agriculture businesses an economically and
environmentally sustainable way of life,” he added.
Alliance for a Green
Revolution in Africa (AGRA) President Agnes Kalibata said the
forum presents an opportunity for national governments, regional
and global players, the private sector and non-state actors to
advance policies, actions, partnership and to secure
She added that it is
expected to accelerate Heads of States commitments outlined in
the national agricultural and food security investments plans (NAFSIP),
the Malabo declaration and the AU Vision 2063.
Countries are also
expected to increase budgetary allocation in the sector to 10
percent as stipulated in the AU Maputo declaration on
agriculture and food security.
“The 2016 AGRF has
been designed to showcase examples of transformation in
agriculture in action, and to promote efforts to drive and
achieve scale and to foster accelerated impact,” said Kalibata.
She said the
agriculture sector has witnessed input from private sector
mainly in adoption and application of modern technology that
needs further support from the government.
Kalibata said the
sector is grappling with various challenges including grinding
poverty, insecurity, a lack of technology, low budgetary
allocation and poor market linkages.
Uhuru Kenyatta and other African leaders are expected to attend
the AGRF meeting.
This year’s AGRF
will feature many other heroes of African agriculture who are
committed to mobilizing the investments and partnerships that
can “seize the moment” for making Africa’s agriculture potential
Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Wireless who also
chairs AGRA’s Board, said while much has been accomplished over
the last decade, Africa needs to work far more aggressively to
tap the potential of agriculture and turn it into a powerful
engine of economic growth.
“Just as we have
seen in Africa’s telecom revolution, I believe the private
sector can become a force for social change by transforming
African agriculture,” he added.
investments in production, processing and marketing can ensure
that the soaring demand for food products among Africa’s urban
consumers delivers new economic opportunities for rural
communities and African youth.”