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Private sector urged to invest in Africa’s agriculture

Pour Rodha Peace Tumusiime, il faut faire de ce secteur un moteur de développement économique et surtout un vecteur de lutte contre le chômage qui affecte la jeunesse africaine

The commissioner for rural economy and agriculture of the African Union, Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, has called on the private sector to invest in agriculture to increase productivity and food security in Africa.

She made the remarks on Saturday while addressing the press on the sidelines of the AU summit, on how the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) of the Maputo Declaration of 2003 has been implemented.

She reminded that in 2003, at the African Union (AU) summit in Maputo, African leaders pledged to allocate at least 10% of national budgets to agriculture, to adopt sound agricultural development policies and to achieve at least 6% agricultural growth per annum, and created specific plans like the CAADP.

Tumusiime said that as a consequence, agriculture has grown by 4% per annum, though the target is 6%, which can only be achieved with collaborative efforts.

As a result, public agricultural expenditure has risen on average by more than 7 % per year across Africa since 2003, nearly doubling since the launch of CAADP.

“Graduates are not practicing agriculture, they go for soft jobs such as in ICT, and the private sector is needed in agriculture – if we invest in it Africa’s GDP will grow,” she said.

According to the World Bank May 10, 2016 update, Africa is among the fastest growing regions, but it now faces significant headwinds as a result of global trends and region-specific risks. Growth has slowed to 3.0% in 2015, down from 4.5 % in 2014.

“We needed mechanized agriculture and many people in agro-processing, more productivity with standards will generate jobs, increasing opportunities, especially for women and youth, ensure food security for both subsistence and international trade, improved nutrition, and strengthening resilience,” she said.

Agriculture has the greatest potential to lift the continent out of poverty and alleviate hunger, but the sector has struggled to perform in recent history, with reforms happening excruciatingly slowly.

According to the World Bank, agriculture contributes 32% to Africa’s GDP and provides employment to 65% of the labour force on the continent. In many countries, up to 85% of the workforce is employed in the agricultural sector, and an estimated 38% of Africa’s working youth is presently employed in the agricultural sector.

Tumusiime added that a large proportion of African farmers are smallholders and often women, stressing that agricultural transformation is a springboard to industrialization as it becomes essential to invest in it and develop accessibility to quality inputs, markets for produce, good soils and soil management techniques, innovative finance tools and other resources needed for sustained agricultural production.

Source : www.focus.rw

Crédits: AK-Project