With 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land in Africa, Mr. Annan believes unleashing the potential of Africa’s agricultural sector is particularly important today as the global food system is under acute and rising pressure.
“Ours – the African Green Revolution – must be a revolution that draws on the lessons from past efforts of this kind in Asia and Latin America. We need a “climate smart” agriculture in Africa that increases the productivity of land, labour, and capital invested in farming, and strengthens the resilience of farmers to climate change”, he said.
The AGRA Chair therefore says there should be no room for complacency in investments in agriculture and charged developed countries and private sector organizations to keep promises of increased support for Africa’s agriculture, especially with the most recent New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.
“In turn, African leaders must uphold their end of the bargain by continuing to increase investment in agriculture and accelerating the implementation of their country-led plans to achieve food and nutrition security’ he added.
Mr. Annan was addressing the opening of the second African Green Revolution Forum in Arusha, Tanzania, under the theme: “Scaling up Investment and Innovation for Sustainable Agricultural Growth and Food Security”.
According to the former UN Secretary-General, farmers must be at the heart of the uniquely African Green Revolution.
The ability to acheive food and nutrition security, both in Africa and globally, depends on catalysing a sustainable green revolution across the African Continent, saya Kofi Annan, Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. (AGRA)
“We can’t increase food production at the speed and scale we need without mobilizing the continent’s all-too-often neglected army of small-holders. Their needs and realizing their potential must remain at heart of all our discussions”.
Tanzanian President, Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, acknowledged the numerous past initiatives and commitments to transform agriculture at continental, regional and national levels, stating that these “are enough evidence that we know what needs to be done. We have done enough so let us do more. Let us begin by doing what we have agreed to do”.
“With the right policy mix, appropriate interventions being taken by African Governments, the continued support of donors, and robust participation of private sector both local and foreign, transformation of agriculture in Africa is an achievable undertaking”, he said. “I believe the time is now because there seems to be a growing global consensus to assist Africa in transforming its agriculture”.
African leaders, chief executives of corporations, representatives of international development agencies and private foundations, commercial banks, farming and many others have gathered in Arusha to play in Africa’s agriculture transforming process.
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who was in Arusha to address forum attendees, noted the significant progress that has been made in African agriculture over the past decade, and appealed for continued support from African leaders.
“I urge Africa’s leaders to re-commit to your pledge to help farm families increase their productivity. I urge you to set an agenda for the next decade that is even more ambitious,” said Ms. Gates. “I hope you take great care that your pledges and plans are geared to help farm families achieve their goals.”