IFPRI’s Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere welcomed participants on behalf of the organizers; his Director General Shenggen Fan stressed the importance of country-led development strategies. On increasing investment, he particularly emphasized the roles and contributions of new actors – the private sector, philanthropic organizations and emerging economies such as China.
Calling livestock the ‘Cinderella of the agricultural sector,’ ILRI’s Jimmy Smith boosted its contributions to Africa’s food security. On the theme of the conference, he declared that “while improving agricultural production and activity is our first goal ... we need to achieve this in environmentally sustainable ways with regard to the effects of climate and agriculture”
The keynote address - ‘harnessing the potential of science and the numbers’ was given by FARA’s Monty Jones.
He emphasized the need for ‘radical approaches’ and ‘radical actions.’ Africa should come up with its own unique interventions, he said, and listen to the voices of the 600 million African farmers.
Representing the WFP, Lynne Miller emphasized the agency’s focus on food security at household and community levels. “We look more on the challenges of people becoming food secure, a lot of it is them being able to produce enough to feed themselves.”
In his opening remarks, Ethiopian State Minister of Agriculture Wondirad Mandefro reflected on the wider continental food security situation.
He explained how the Ethiopian government has taken strong policy measures to support agriculture as an engine of the economy. The Federal Government now spends more than 14% of its GDP on agriculture, exceeding the CAADP target set in Maputo.
The Agricultural Transformation Agency is a concrete sign of our commitment to improve the policy environment.