By Maxwell Awumah, GNA Correspondent, Busan, South Korea
Busan, South Korea, May 23, GNA – Panelists have conjointly agreed that for Africa to witness the real value of agricultural transformation, technologies must be readily available at the farmer-levels to propel that aspiration for enhanced productivity.
This was part of the outcomes of the Leadership4Agriculture Forum held at the 53rd annual meetings of the African Development Bank taking place in Busan, Korea from May 21-25.
Participants included Ministers and key partners involved in the development of agriculture industrialization infrastructure for the continent.
The panellists were Mr Audu Ogbeh, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture, Mr Carlos Mucaveke, Mozambique Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Mina Nedelcorgch, President and Chief Executive of Initiative for Global Development and Mrs Lindiwe Sibanda of AGRA.
Mr Ogbeh said intended to become self-sufficient in rice production in a year-and-a-half time backed by technology to achieve that, but first tackling the lending rate at cut-throat levels.
The Leadership4Agriculture Forum emphasized the need to enhance the competitiveness of Africa’s agriculture sector and to develop industrial chains required to power the growth of the sector to a world-class industry.
Dr Nedelcovych said the African agriculture sector required efforts to improve its competitiveness and called for reforms to ensure that low interest rate lending affected the agricultural sector.
He said the right agriculture-sector policies would impact on the processing of raw materials to feed Africa.
« We also need to ensure that agricultural extension services are linked to researchers to increase productivity, » Dr Nedelcovych said.
Mrs Sibanda said AGRA was visible in 11 countries including Ghana and aligning with the Bank’s High five strategies to leverage outcomes in the agricultural sector and value-chain as well as pursuing a farm-to-market alliance strategy to stem post-harvest losses.
President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said the transformation of the agriculture sector into a US $1 to 1.5 trillion sector, remained a key priority of the Bank.
« The leadership of agriculture is crucial. We cannot say we have leadership when we still have 65 percent of the land in Africa uncultivated. We must develop solutions to agriculture and ensure that the sector can grow, » he said.
The Bank’s Vice-President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Jennifer Blanke, and the Africa Director of the Rockefeller Foundation, Mamadou Biteye, announced the signing of an agreement to establish a permanent secretariat to coordinate groups, organizations and government agencies involved in improving agriculture in Africa.
« We have to take action as well as talk. Talk is important, but we also want to take people to task, » Blanke said.