Political support crucial for agriculture in Africa

By Andrew Wasike

KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) – Agricultural progress in Africa can only be achieved if countries in the continent provide direct political support, delegations of an international conference agreed on Wednesday.

The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) gathered more than 5,000 participants — ministers and farmers — in Kigali.

A report titled "Catalyzing state capacity to drive agriculture transformation", released at the conference, revealed political support is even more crucial for agriculture than seeds, weather and soil.

It noted that African countries are struggling to follow the example of Asian countries in using agriculture to spark widespread economic growth.

Naming Ethiopia, Morocco and Rwanda as key countries which are combining political will and government action to invest in agriculture, the report said, they have been able to reduce rural poverty by a great margin.

Agnes Kalibata, head of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), shared some key findings with Anadolu Agency.

"The report agrees there is a need to invest at state capacity. So the key finding is we are going to drive the scorecard, and ensure that we are tracking what we are going to do, that includes how we [leaders] are doing, what our leaders are doing, and leadership is at all levels, it is not just the presidents, it is all across the board."

Jennifer Blanke, vice president of agriculture, human and social development at the African Development Bank, said that the conference came at an opportune time when Africa needs to solve most of its food problems.

"I think one of the the biggest things about the theme this year is that it is very much about leadership but also about market driven incentives and solutions and really looking at agriculture as business rather than sort of a social sector," she said.

Farmer John Ifue from Ghana told Anadolu Agency: "I came from my country to see how I can improve my agricultural produce, there are also some challenges we are going through at home which I want addressed like sourcing seeds and fertilizers."