NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 9 – The Sixth Africa Green Revolution Forum closed with African governments being urged to heavily invest in small-scale farmers in a bid to increase agricultural output in the continent.
Africa’s small scale farmers who are 70 percent of the continents’ agriculture sector were the centre of the weeklong talks, with development partners seeking for structural reforms to revive the agricultural sector in rural areas.
They say that agriculture should now be taken as a serious business venture and not just a struggle for survival.
“There are many opportunities for Africa to transform its agricultural agenda. The continent’s imports agricultural products worth $35 billion (Sh3.5 trillion), which can be produced in the continent and it’s set to hit $110 billion if nothing is done,” said Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) President Agnes Kalibata.
Other major topics were the need for African farmers to increase the use of technology especially fertilizer, so as to enhance crop yields.
“African farmers are losing about Sh6.8 billion annually due to low crop yields. Complementary technologies such as fertilizer and better crop production and protection practices can contribute to improving farmers’ cereal yields,” stated David Ameyaw, Head, Strategy, Monitoring and Evaluation at AGRA during one of the sessions.
Development partners were also concerned with the inability for African farmers to present Bankable ideas attractive for investments.
“There is Sh8 billion worth of money in the East African region waiting for attractive prepositions, but development partners do not find value prepositions, young farmers need to take up this challenge and come up with good proposals,” said Moses Ikiara Kenya Investment Authority Managing Director during the closing ceremony.
African governments were also urged to implement the 2003 Maputo Declaration where they pledged to invest about 10 per cent of national budgets.
Kenya is currently at 6 percent of national budget, but the country is eying to hit the 10 percent mark in the next three years.
President Uhuru Kenyatta pledged to invest Sh20 billion in the country’s Agricultural sector, to benefit over 150,000 Small Scale farmers in the next five years.
“We must invest in our youth, for them to take up ideas in the agriculture sector and not see it as a boring venture, “Agriculture Cabinet Secretary said as he closed the forum.
During the forum about Sh3 trillion commitments were made to transform the Agriculture sector in the continent.
The commitments are aimed at increasing production, income and employment for smallholder farmers in the continent.
Over 1,500 delegates from over 40 countries from Africa were present during the event.
The next AGRF will be held next year in Cote d’Ivoire in Ivory Coast.