Leaders call for support to invest in agriculture

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Addis Ababa, 29 June 2014 (WIC) - African leaders have called for greater investment in agriculture at the African Union summit closing Friday in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

The AU has focused this year's summit on tackling issues of agriculture and climate change as part of the continental body's overall development goals to create jobs and to improve food security.

African Union Commission Chairwoman Nkoszana Dlamini Zuma led the call for greater public and private investment to bring high-tech innovation to African farming.

“Our agriculture, in the main, is still quite traditional and not modern. A practical priority, therefore, is to modernize and mechanize,” he said.

Senior adviser for the Green Revolution in Africa Forum, Irungu Houghton said African ministers meeting in Malabo would be zeroing in on some key areas for further investment.

“First of all, there is the issue how to increase productivity, how to strengthen the security of land tenure systems, particularly for women, how to ensure that you have national adaptation to climate change, or what we call climate-smart agriculture,” Houghton stated.

Leaders also discussed concerted efforts to address conflicts smoldering across the continent from South Sudan to Central African Republic.

Dlamini-Zuma also noted the threat that conflicts across Africa poses to agricultural development and food security, calling specifically for a stop to the violence in South Sudan.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon promised continued collaboration between the AU and the UN to solve conflicts around the world, pointing out joint peacekeeping efforts in the Central African Republic, political support in Somalia and mediation efforts in South Sudan.

The African Union has also been working toward the establishment of a standby peacekeeping force that can be rapidly deployed to intervene in regional conflicts.

Source: VOA.

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