AGRA points G8 to shortest path to African food security – Africa’s breadbaskets
The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) says if the G8 wants to help Africa attain food security, then the world’s rich nations should look at the continent’s breadbaskets.
In a press release copied to ghanabusinessnews.com, AGRA commended the G8 for committing to raise $20 billion over three years to promote food security and agricultural development in poor countries and to boost aid to Africa.
AGRA also noted that the G8 recognised its role in promoting public-private partnership in developing agriculture in Africa – something AGRA has done with appreciable successes.
In AGRA’s view however, “investments in African agriculture must focus on the continent’s high-potential breadbasket areas. These areas have relatively good soil, rainfall, and infrastructure—and could rapidly transition from areas of chronic food scarcity to breadbaskets of abundance.”
AGRA believes that such investments must support the millions of smallholder farmers who grow the majority of Africa’s food; nurture the diversity on their farms; and bring about comprehensive change that strengthens the entire agricultural system.
“At the same time, we must boost farm fortunes across wider and more challenging environments, working to minimize disparity in development, and to reward innovation and spread success wherever it is found,” it added.
AGRA asked for integrated investments and government policies that provide Africans with finance and markets, good seeds and soils, and supportive trade policies which allows smallholders to transform their small-scale farms into commercially viable and sustainable enterprises.
To realize such a transformation, Africa needs support on par with that rendered to agriculture in Asia and South America in the 1960s and 70s, which averted famine and spurred national economic development, it said.
AGRA also said it is poised to continue to work with African governments, the G8 and other international organizations in replicating the success stories of agricultural revolutions in Africa.
It cited the success stories of Tanzania where the country’s Agriculture Minister reports that 700,000 smallholder farmers have produced five million tons of the country’s major food crop, maize—despite drought conditions in the northern part of the country and Malawi, which doubled its spending on agriculture, and transformed itself from a net food importer to a net food exporter, and grew its national economy by seven percent.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi