Video – Keynote – Abebe Haile Gabriel

Food security in Africa today: a synopsis
Keynote Speech by Abebe Haile Gabriel

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Day 3 in pictures

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InfoBrief Issue 3

Download InfoBrief Issue 3 (PDF 790K)

This third brief gives a snapshot of the sessions, discussions and other activities happening in the Africa Hall from Day 2.

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Africa’s green revolution

Namanga Ngongi, AGRA. © AGRForum 2010

On Wednesday, AGRA’s Namanga Ngongi placed smallholders at the center of our discussions on agriculture. He declared agriculture to be “by far the most important sector for any reform agenda in Africa and the main catalyst for ending poverty on the continent.”

AGRA is supporting the development of technologies required for a green revolution in African agriculture. “We support 60 seed enterprises throughout Africa that last year produced 25,000 metric tons of seed.” In 2018, he said, “we should get 250,000 tons, enough to plant between 12 and 15 million hectares of crops.” Then, we should see the transformation of African agriculture. We need to take it to scale.

Making finance available to farmers through credit schemes is one of AGRA’s latest achievements. “Farmers need access to affordable finance to make farming a business. Until now, banks have avoided lending to smallholders, considering them too risky. AGRA is helping to change this.”

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Sitting at the same table

Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere, IFPRI

According to Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere (IFPRI), speaking yesterday, “we have forgotten the importance of agriculture, health and nutrition linkages.”

“We need to make sure that when policy makers devise agricultural programs they bring on board health personnel. Similarly, when health sectors devise health programs, they have to involve agriculture people. There should be a way to talk to each other to make sure that the problems are internalized and solutions are found.”

“We need to bring everyone together at one table so that we all know that agriculture will produce the good food, health will protect the wellbeing of the people, and nutrition will make sure we have balanced and healthy diets.

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Overcoming challenges to food security: Points of view

Khalid Bomba, ATA:
“The major challenges are the efficient implementation of many of the strategies and technologies that we already have. I don’t think we need new technologies and new strategies.
From a long-term perspective, I think that the environmental and social sustainability of our strategies needs to be an important part of the equation. We can’t be trying to address food security merely for today.” Continue reading

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Agriculture and climate change mitigation

UNECA’s Seleshi Bekele chaired a parallel session on climate change adaptation and mitigation in African agriculture. The four papers showed how climate change affects agriculture in terms of reducing production, productivity and how it aggravates poverty.

According to the cases shared, countries are tackling the challenges through policy and strategic interventions - National Adaptation Plans, vulnerability assessments, and attention to agricultural resilience. They are also looking for solutions that integrate various interventions – agroforestry, seeds, fertilizers, land and water management, etc. so that agriculture becomes more productive and highly resilient to both climate variability, and climate change.

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Radio feeds farmers . . .

Margaret Kingamkono and a collegaue from Farm Radio International give a demonstration.

Margaret Kingamkono of Farm Radio International explains the potential of radio.

“We work with partners in sub-Saharan Africa to build the capacities of radio stations. It provides resources and training so the radio stations can produce high quality and relevant information for small farmers so they can improve the way they do agriculture and also improve food security.

Farm Radio International also disseminates information from knowledge partners like extension and agricultural research. It gathers information and package it in ways that are attractive to farmers.

“We have a good methodology for dissemination of information that has the farmers’ and expert voices which is very entertaining and also creates an opportunity for farmers to learn and try new things. We also have a tested and proven methodology that we call ‘participatory radio’ that we tried and tested in many countries.”

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Interview: Monty Jones on walking together to increase productivity

Monty Jones, FARA

“In the 1990s, there was a decline in trade and food production in Africa. There was also a substantial decline in investments in agricultural research.

If we are able to increase investments in research, we will be able to increase production and eventually agricultural productivity.

Investments will allow us to produce better technologies; it will also ensure that we bring the required external inputs like fertilizers and chemicals to the farmers.

We also need to look at other issues that we believe will eventually boost production such as institution strengthening because the tendency for African institutions is to function isolated from one another.

We need to create comprehensive programs that bring all the key players along the value chain, whether researchers, extension agents, farmers, policy makers or the private sector. Bringing them all together to conceive the problem, to develop a protocol and implement it.”

Another issue is to include the farmers. “It sends a powerful message if we are able to mobilize the farmers so that they advocate for increasing funds in research.”

“We need to bring several issues together on the table, closing the gap on productivity by adopting appropriate technologies, by using inputs, putting the policy issues on the table to create a conducive atmosphere.

We also need to build institutions so that instead of walking in isolation, we walk together. Addressing key problems like climate change all at the same time and putting all the results in one basket will boost agricultural productivity in Africa. Farmers can serve as policy shapers, making sure that their voices ring very loud in the ears of the policy makers.”

In conclusion, the way to increase agricultural productivity is to develop partnerships that bring everybody together.”

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Video – Keynote: Namanga Ngongi

Delivering African agricultural productivity and food security through a Green Revolution: prospects and challenges
Keynote Speech by Namanga Ngongi, AGRA

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