The November 1–3 conference “Increasing Agricultural Productivity and Enhancing Food Security in Africa: New Challenges and Opportunities,” was co-organized by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA). Speakers and participants showcased opportunities to improve agricultural productivity and explored how they can be effectively implemented through the framework of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme.
Experts at the conference also examined issues related to:
- science, technology, and innovation in agriculture;
- rural services and access to inputs;
- markets, trade, and regional integration and value chains;
- investments, institutions, and policies for supporting agriculture;
- agriculture, nutrition, and health linkages;
- agriculture and climate change mitigation and adaptation;
- capacity development for agriculture through education and training; and
- the nexus of agriculture and the rural nonfarm sector in growth and poverty reduction
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.
Stephen Muchiri of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation said:
“The major challenge in increasing agriculture productivity in Africa is low agro investment, markets are not well developed, there are market restrictions, farmers can’t easily access the market, and they don’t have power to have their own markets. If there is no access to markets, the entire value chain will be affected. Markets are the way to boost research, input, credit facilities and risk mitigation. When farmers are involved in value chains they are going to be able to access market information that helps them prepare their production in ways that suit market demand.”
Keynote Speech by Yusuf Abubakar, ARCN. Strengthening capacity for agricultural science and technology in Africa
Keynote Speech by Namanga Ngongi, AGRA. Delivering African agricultural productivity and food security through a Green Revolution: prospects and challenges