CAADP Day / African Union Promotes Agricultural Development in Africa
TRIPOLI, Libya, June 29, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — At the margin of the 13th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly scheduled for Sirte, Libya, under the theme: “Investing in Agriculture for Economic Growth and Food Security”, the African Union Commission and its program, NEPAD, celebrated on Saturday 27 June 2009, the day of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), in Tripoli, Libya.
Initiated by the African Union, the Programme was put in place during the Maputo Summit in 2003, with the view of redefining the future of African agriculture by accelerating economic growth, minimizing poverty, and enhancing food security.
The Day was an opportunity to highlight the importance of agriculture in Africa where 80% of the population depends on farming, and to discuss strategies of getting agriculture back on top of Africa’s development agenda. It also served as a reminder to the African leaders to maintain the momentum of increased budget allocation into agriculture and to seek other options of increased domestic financing for investments in the agriculture sector.
The Minister of Agriculture of the of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Mr. Aboubacar Al Mansour, indicated that, the current global crises has greatly impacted on food security efforts worldwide. He called on AU Member States to valorize their natural resources, encourage more investment and to create research centers, to help consolidate food security. Minister Al Mansour further urged the Member States to support the implementation of the CAADP.
Speaking on behalf of the AU Commission, the Deputy Chairperson of the Commission, Mr. Erastus Mwencha said the progress made in reducing the proportion of people who suffer from hunger came under threat from the rapid escalation in food prices that began in early 2008. “The overall goal of CAADP is to help African countries reach a higher path of economic growth through agriculture-led development which eliminates hunger, reduces poverty and food insecurity while enabling expansion of exports “he noted, adding that CAADP aims to exploit and expand upon recent growth to help more African countries to achieve the MDGs through transformation and improved food security.
Mr. Mwencha explained that the CAADP architecture advocates for public private partnership between big business and peasant farmers. This approach, he said, is designed to help small scale farmers and rural inhabitants to develop bottom up farmer associations to enhance the participation of stakeholders.
In addition to Mr. Mwencha’s message for the CAADP Day, the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union, Ms. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, pointed out that, the dialogue for the “CAADP Day” is intended to focus on concrete actions that can be enhanced in the near future.
Taking the floor, the representative of donor countries lauded the commitment of the AU for putting agriculture at the top of its priorities. He reiterated the full support of development partners to ensure the effective implementation of agriculture programs by providing technical support and capacity building amongst others.
In his address, Mr. Richard Mkandawire, Agriculture Adviser to NEPAD, underscored the need for African countries to develop this important sector in their respective governments, as it will help fight hunger and improve the living standard of Africans.
(The speeches are posted on the AU website: http://www.africa-union.org).
African Union Commission (AUC)