Forum seeks for new push in Africa’s agricultural transformation

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Addis Ababa, 1 September 2014 (WIC) - The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) kicked off today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia aimed at accelerating the continent’s agricultural transformation.

The forum offers an opportunity for researchers and policy makers and government officials as well as the private sector to build a new consensus for transforming food production.

The forum comes after the African Union issued its Malabo Declaration in June pushing for accelerated agricultural growth. African leaders expressed commitment to bolster the underutilized agricultural potential of the continent.

The leaders called for doubling food productivity in Africa, halving poverty and significant progress towards the elimination of child under-nutrition by 2025.

“Africa’s smallholder farmers produce the vast majority of food grown on the continent and they are the backbone of a sector that employs more than 65 percent of all Africans,” said Strive Masiyiwa, chairman of AGRA. “So when businesses, governments, researchers and farmers work together to strengthen our food production and distribution systems, they are seeking commercial success that will be shared across African society—and particularly for the poorest among us.”

“I am proud that many African nations are becoming economic powerhouses, but without a viable agricultural sector and a strong rural economy, there cannot be a viable future for Africa,” said Kanayo Nwanze, president of IFAD.  “Scaling up productivity in African agriculture so that it contributes to the prosperity of the women and men living in rural areas are an absolute pre-requisite of prosperity for our continent.”

Addis Ababa is playing host to nearly 1,000 participants who are expected to attend the AGRF. African Heads of State, Ministers, farmers, business leaders, representatives of youth and women’s organizations, and scientists are taking part in the forum.

The theme of this year’s AGRF is “Beyond the Tipping Point: A New Vision and Strategies for Inclusive and Sustainable Transformation.”

The meeting will address critical issues for Africa’s food security: increasing food productivity as climate change presents more challenging growing conditions; promoting agricultural investment that generates benefits at all economic levels; increasing financing for agricultural development; and support for modernizing

commodity markets and removing barriers to intra-regional trade.

AGRA will be releasing its second annual Africa Agricultural Status Report at the AGRF. The report focuses on the issue of African agriculture and climate change, and how to accelerate the adoption of climate smart agriculture by Africa’s smallholder farmers.