Written by Henry Neondo
Saturday, 19 February 2011
Kofi Annan Saturday set out his vision for Africa’s future role in global food security: that it can feed not only its own citizens, but also help meet the needs of the hungry across the world.
In a keynote speech made in Rome, Italy, the former UN Secretary-General and Chair of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), said transforming agriculture in Africa will transform the continent’s prospects, and provide the platform for achieving prosperity and peace.
“We have the potential to feed not just our own citizens but to help create a secure global food system. A quiet revolution, led by Africa’s small-holder farmers, is already underway. We all need to work together to make sure these green shoots flourish. Sharing knowledge, building partnerships, creating the right policy environment at national level and delivering the increased international investment needed in agriculture will enable Africa’s farmers to rise to the challenge of tackling hunger and food insecurity within their continent and across the world.”
Speaking to delegates at the thirty-fourth International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD) Governing Council, Mr. Annan argued that achieving this vision will depend on sharing knowledge, building partnerships, creating the right policy environment in African countries and delivering increased international investment in agriculture.
Mr. Annan said “I want to set out a vision that is optimistic but achievable: where African can feed not only its own citizens but helps meet the needs of the hungry across the world. It is a vision which requires us to transform agriculture on the continent by building on the progress already underway. In doing so, we will also transform the prospects for Africa.”
This is particularly important given that smallholder farmers dominate Africa but have yet to be placed at the heart of Africa’s green revolution, with the knowledge and support to play their full part in transforming food production through access to seeds, fertilizers and other resources.
He called for improved global trade rules to allow crops to be sold at a fair price for farmers and consumers.
Annan said efforts must be made to encourage investors to target a critical mass of resources and efforts towards regions which can grow a large share of the continent’s staple food and – in the longer term – enable Africa to create a surplus for global export.
“The march towards achieving an African Green Revolution is about scaling up thousands of small successes occurring across the continent to create sustained transformation. It is also about making farming attractive to young people with ambition and drive.”