Posted by: africanpressorganization | 8 June 2009

Africa’s small farms hold the key to riding out the recession, says IFAD President / Kanayo F. Nwanze to speak on agriculture, jobs and public-private partnerships at World Economic Forum (Cape Town)

 


 

Africa’s small farms hold the key to riding out the recession, says IFAD President / Kanayo F. Nwanze to speak on agriculture, jobs and public-private partnerships at World Economic Forum (Cape Town)

 

 

ROME, Italy, June 8, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Unleashing the potential of Africa’s small farms – the mainstay of food production – is more essential than ever as the continent grapples with the impact of the global economic crisis, according to the President of the UN’s rural poverty agency, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

“Smallholder agriculture is the largest private-sector activity in many African countries. It not only feeds families, it provides jobs and catalyses the growth of rural businesses and broader development,” said IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze.

Agriculture accounts for about 30 per cent of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP, at least 40 per cent of its exports and up to 80 per cent of employment. But Africa’s 80 million smallholder farms are far from realizing their potential, noted Nwanze, who is attending the World Economic Forum in Cape Town (10-12 June) where he will speak on agriculture, employment and public-private partnerships. The global economic crisis has thrust the region’s largest economy – South Africa – into recession and risks having a devastating impact on poor people across the continent.

External resource flows to Africa – overseas development aid, remittances and foreign direct investments – have been declining, and the International Monetary Fund last month revised its growth forecast for sub-Saharan Africa in 2009 from 3.25 per cent to just 1.5 per cent.

To protect the most vulnerable people, particularly those living in rural areas, African governments need to put money into agriculture to prevent a slide back into poverty and to stimulate growth.

“An increase in investment in smallholder farms – which represent 95 per cent of agriculture in Africa – can return the continent to a path of high growth.”

Investments need to be made right across the value chain: in microfinance to allow farmers to buy their inputs, to agro-processing to increase food quality, and access to local and international markets.

“Economic uncertainty prevails in Africa, as elsewhere. A growing farm economy can counter that uncertainty by creating off-farm jobs, agro-processing and small-scale manufacturing, and generating domestic resources for governments,” said Mohamed Beavogui, Director of IFAD’s Western and Central Africa Division.

“African governments under fiscal pressure need to recognise and explore this potential to help avoid any hasty reactions that might end up undermining agriculture,” he added.

SOURCE 

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)


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